AW announces 2023 Pinhead of the Year award

Say its name, Episcopalians!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for (drum roll, please). It’s a moment that covers the rot at the very core of Episcopal clergy discipline, and  being named a “Pinhead of the Year” is a sought-after prize throughout much of the Anglican Communion.

Indeed, this year saw particularly stiff competition, with contenders including:

  • David Halt, rector of St. James Texarkana, who thinks the only thing better than sexually harassing women in church is engaging in retaliation against clergy who oppose sexual harassment, with a nice, juicy side of smear campaign. Women and those who don’t think women are objects to be used, exit, stage right.
  • Bishop Chilton Knudsen, who doesn’t think criminal conduct qualifies as misconduct under Title IV. She says so in writing. But then, given her fabrications about reporting child abuse while serving in Chicago, we get it. She remembers the call “vividly,” — just not vividly enough to remember who she spoke to. And then we get her cover-up of Will Bouvel’s malicious prosecution of a parishioner who didn’t agree with ordaining someone gay, and we get a picture of a very troubled soul indeed, along with a real knucklehead.
  • Bishop George Sumner, who not only illegally involves his chancellor in Title IV cases, but does so in order to deep six allegations of sexual harassment. And apparently he likes to fly into narcissistic rages at Hispanic church members, in which he loudly proclaims people will do what he says because HE’s the bishop. As if anyone cares. (BTW, call us and try that line on us sometime George, and see what happens.)
  • Bad witch/Bishop Glenda Curry, who until recently managed to ignore not one, but two child molesters in her diocese. And the diocese lied to law officials, claiming that alleged child rapist Richard Losch didn’t serve any churches in DioAl. Funny thing is he served two, while living directly across from a middle school. Odd coincidence, that. And now that Losch is indicted, she claims there’s an investigation in the diocese. That’s horse pucky, because we’ve been among the noisiest in complaining to her about Losch and have volumes of material on him, but nary a peep from Glenda or her minions. Must be one hell of an investigation. Meanwhile, zero action on the other molester–who by the way also sexually harasses adult women, and not in minor ways, either. Which begs the question: Why is that particular jackrabbit still a priest?
  • Bishop Paula Clark, who continues to sidestep the Will Bouvel debacle. If that’s her idea of integrity, no thanks. She can keep it.
  • Dan McClain, rector-elect of St. Paul’s Dayton, who has now reached the pinnacle of Title IV nirvana, a Title IV hearing, which emanates from a diocesan investigation of his conduct. And we can assure readers, much of what is in the investigative report is UGLY. Even better, the hearing panel process is public, and as the complainants, you can bet your bottom dollar we are showing up for every moment of the fun. Nor should we overlook the fact that, en route to this lofty honor, McClain body-slammed such perennial favorites as Chilton Knudsen, Shannon Johnston, and Susan Goff. How did he manage to clobber such fierce and experienced competition? It was his ability to simultaneously deploy a variety of tactics, including his:
    • Raging narcissism.
    • Lies.
    • Manipulation. One local (no, NOT a family member), told us that upon picking up the kids from his spouse, Dan started the whole, “I was so worried about you,” routine. All we can say is if he’s going to be an asshole, at least manage a stunt a little better than that. And regardless of what he thinks of his wife, using children as weapons is not cool.
    • Trashing his wife by telling people she’s mentally ill. Not only do we not believe that to be true, but talking like that about the woman you promised to love and cherish until death do us part is beyond ugly and hateful. And that behavior reflects on him and the parish both — whatever happened to the pointed stare, followed by, “Why are you telling me this?”
    • Affair with Plant Lady (she has a birthday coming up, so happy birthday, PL! Dan taking you anywhere special?) Bet that helps the McClain kids form healthy, loving relationships based on loyalty and integrity.
    • Efforts to avoid supporting his kids by claiming he’s broke, even as he has money for an affair and more nasty tattoos. Fugggggly.
    • Hiring a non-canon-law attorney in his previous Title IV clergy disciplinary case. Title IV is a self-contained planet all its own, and there are about three attorneys in the country who really know Title IV. His was not one of them — and nothing is more uproariously funny than pleadings by a lawyer who knows nothing about Title IV. For someone so ensnared in academia, Dan is one dumb human being.

And before we announce the winner, we’re going to address one question that’s come in, which is whether fellow blogger Crusty Old Dean was in the running after his DUI.

To that, we reply: Could you be any more 1980s? These days, TEC doesn’t typically even suspend clergy like Bob Malm, who stands accused of criminal conduct. Why would you imagine a mere one-car DUI accident would hit our radar? Lose the shoulder pads, the leg warmers, and the mullet haircut and get with the times.

And now, best of the best, the pinhead that surpasses all others.

The Pinhead of the Year for 2023 goes to Bishop Alan Gates of Massachusetts! His accomplishments put even Dan McClain to shame, and include:

  • Ignoring multiple emails from the victim of child rape, who at the time served in Marblehead. And unlike George Sumner, no sandbagging needed. He and the DioMass intake officers simply ignored the victim, even after an ELCA bishop intervened.
  • Brushing off illegal conduct by the interim rector of St. Gabriel’s, Marion, by basically saying, “If you don’t like it, go to court.” So much for keeping the courts out of church business.
  • His most stellar achievement, managing to drag his feet on Douglas Anderson, rector of Church of the Advent Boston, who’s been suspended for two years in a Title IV case. Which, by the way is just long enough for Anderson to vest his retirement. Between cheating on his wife, sexually harassing women, lying in a Title IV case and more, Anderson is a real piece of work. 100 percent pure caca.
  • Even better, Gates didn’t do jack for Advent during that time, and purportedly asked the vestry to sign an NDA–the very opposite of the goals Title IV.
  • And, to quote the ever-popular Todd Ousley, the outcome in the Anderson case is an example of Title IV at its best. No auto da fé for this one, no sir. Anderson got paid to do nothing for two years (and Advent ain’t exactly bottom of the barrel when it comes to compensation), gets a full retirement, and while he has resigned as rector of Advent, he can work anywhere he wants. If that is the church’s idea of punishment, sign us up. We’d love to get paid for two years to do nothing.
  • And the damned strangest thing: George Sumner, one of the great lowlifes of the denomination and Anderson’s former bishop, is speaking at Advent February 22. Just like a fly on a cow turd in August, suddenly he zooms in out of nowhere. A little air-cover for an Episco-bro who was part and parcel of your little game of retaliation for objecting to the sexual harassment of women, eh George? We hate to break it to you, but you’re not fooling anyone.

As for Gates dismissing charges involving sexual misconduct and making false statements, spare us.

All we can say is jellyfish are closer to having a spine than Gates.

And ignoring a victim of child rape? Sorry folks, Gates is Christian in name only. This isn’t even a case of people crossing the road to avoid helping the person in distress–Gates is a case of piling on to see if he can add to the victims’ woes.

We’ll close with, if Gates is what the church is turning out for a bishop these days, we are all toast. The church is in a death spiral.


  1. I’m aparishioner of that patish the Advent.

    The bishop and Diocese has done us a great disservice. We’ve been forced to stick in limbo for 2 YEARS all just waiting for Bishop Gates to conlcude that Fr. Anderson is guilty of conduct unbecoming. Probably brokered some kind of deal for his retirement money. Advent should not have to pay an absentee rector, all the while our vestry was in the dark.

    Bishop Gates and his whole crew at Diomass have a lot to answer for in my book.

  2. Or perhaps the correspondence we have seen and the airline tickets we’ve seen mean we know more about the issue than do you.

    Don’t like the blog? Feel free to start your own.

  3. I am a parishioner who has been at St. James for a long time. Fr. Paul was only here for about 2 years, or so.

    I know I am not the only one who feels this way, but many of us see through Fr. Halt’s lying. We were told not to ask any questions about Fr. Anderson. We are kept in the dark not just about this, but about what is happening with church finances and in vestry meetings. If Fr. Halt is caught in one lie, he tells another lie to cover it. We have a right to know what is going on, but I have been told I am not allowed to know, “per the canons.”

    The way Fr. Halt trashes many parishioners and our previous priest and wife is wrong. He likes to shame people to keep them quiet. His laziness is a whole other issue.

    What is he and bishop Sumner hiding, or trying to avoid? They both should be removed for their behavior. It seems all they want to do is keep their nice salaries and make us pay for it. I cannot speak for anyone except my husband and me, but it might be time to leave.

  4. God is the one who ultimately brings folks their justice, but our bishop has absolutely failed to play his part in that, with regard to Douglas Anderson (I’m not calling him “Father”).

    I’m a minister local to Boston who had one of his victims (originally from Texarkana) reach out to me for counsel last year. What she said was awful, and it’s also unconscionable that Bishop Gates tried to use her past against her in this process.

    I don’t know how many times we have to say it: Victims. Of. Abus. Are. VICTIMS. It doesn’t matter what you think you can blame them with. It doesn’t matter what they did. The point is that they are victims.

    1. Yes, and there is more than one victim. The other one we know of is afraid to come forward, and in light of Gates’ conduct, rightly so.

      And totally agree—I don’t care if you have slept with 1,000 other people. Sexual harassment and exploitation of power differentials is always and everywhere wrong. Especially when Anderson was married.

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