Anglican Watch

Correction: Church of the Advent allegedly pays Anderson legal bill

Church of the Advent Boston

Sources close to the matter have told Anglican Watch that the earlier information we received, which is that the Diocese of Massachusetts paid outgoing Church of the Advent rector Douglas Anderson’s legal bill in his Title IV clergy disciplinary case, is incorrect.

We are told that the church’s senior warden told the congregation that the church, not the Diocese, footed the bill. The total amount is believed to be almost $1 million.

If these reports are accurate, this is doubly concerning.

Anderson was accused of sexually harassing multiple adult women, and lying in a prior Title IV proceeding. Thus, Advent and its members are not only victims of Anderson’s misconduct, but now they are paying for the privilege.

Moreover, many have allegedly been harmed in ways much worse than folks at Advent. We cannot countenance any disciplinary accord in which the voluntary donations of church members go to reimburse legal expenses for someone facing allegations of sexual harassment.

As protestors have noted, the money would be far better spent building the Kingdom of God and serving those in need.

We also note our profound discomfort with Gates and his role in this matter. Any accord must be approved by the bishop diocesan, and we are shocked and appalled that the donations of the faithful are being used to underwrite Anderson, a scumbag if there ever was one.


  1. This post is misleading. I think it’s worth noting that the Advent didn’t pay $1,000,000 in legal fees. That was the entire estimated cost of the whole debacle to the parish, including years of extra senior-clergy salaries–including Fr. Anderson’s for doing nothing. I suppose it is a debatable point whether they should have paid his legal fees at all, however–I do wonder if there were legal, employment-points of law at play, and it was easier to pay the fees to speed the process along (lol). But the wardens are fairly clear with the parish in one of their letters (linked on the rector search page here, :

    “It is frustrating to contemplate how much of our Parish’s time, talent, and treasure this process has absorbed over the past two years – instead of allowing for that time, talent and treasure to be focused where it belongs: on the life and ministry of the Church of the Advent, on worshiping our Lord, on sharing the Gospel, on feeding the poor and lifting up the poor in spirit. The Diocese has managed this disciplinary process badly from the beginning. There is nothing in the Canons – the “rule book” governing the Episcopal Church – that suggests this process should have taken more than some number of months. Instead it has taken two years and has resulted in thousands of hours of time and talent wasted, endless distraction from the good work of the Church, and monetary cost to our Parish approaching one million dollars.”

    1. Agree. We’ve gotten lots of conflicting information on this situation, so we’re approaching cautiously. But given what we know of Anderson’s conduct, we’d be in favor of sending him a bill.

      As for the Diocese, Alan Gates really did wrong by Advent. Whether it was the nondisclosure agreement purportedly signed by the vestry, or allowing Anderson to get a two-year paid vacation in the run-up to vesting his retirement, Gates’ behavior is an appalling example of the denomination taking care of abusive clergy, even as it ignores the needs of the people in the pews.

      Let’s just hope and pray that the next bishop has more integrity.

      As for any parish or organization that might hire Anderson in retirement, do us all a favor. Just don’t.

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