Anglican Watch

Episcopal priest Amjad Samuel implodes in Title IV proceeding

Amjad Samuel

For several months, Anglican Watch has covered the sad and ugly saga of Amjad Samuel and Title IV clergy disciplinary allegations that he has bullied and abused parishioners and forced people out of the church who disagree with him.

Now, in recent filings with the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) hearing panel, we see that Samuel has essentially thrown in the towel. Specifically:

  • Neither Samuel nor his attorney attended a pre-trial conference.
  • Samuel’s attorney, Michael Rehill, has resigned as counsel,
  • Samuel would like to resign, apparently from holy orders.
  • Legal counsel for the diocese has stated that there is no provision under the canons to resign when a Title IV case is under way.
  • ECCT legal counsel has said that, if Samuel pursues a resignation, it will treat the matter as abandonment under church canons. Thus would result in his removal from holy orders and eliminate any need for further disciplinary proceedings.

Our take on things: Anglican Watch wholeheartedly endorses removing Samuel from ministry and fully supports ECCT and the parish. Indeed, our only concern involves ECCT allowing Samuel to continue to serve during Title IV proceedings, which has proved devastating to those already hurt by his conduct.

As to Samuel and his conduct, our experience is that two types of clergy end up in the Title IV process. One group is those who, due to poor communication or misplaced priorities, don’t understand that their behavior is problematic. In those cases, some informal guidance or a pastoral directive typically solves the problem in short order.

The other category is the Daniel McClains and Bob Malms of the denomination. Often marked by signs of possible personality disorders, this group holds to a scorched earth policy in which they will not apologize or take responsibility for their actions, even as they attempt to appear innocent and guileless to judicatories.

Anglican Watch believes that Samuel occupies the second category of serial bad actors.

Whether it’s his choice of ethically questionable Michael Rehill as his legal counsel, his dilatory conduct throughout the Title IV proceedings, or his appalling and outrageous claims of mental illness and bias on the part of ECCT officials (which has no bearing on his conduct under Title IV), we consistently see behavior inconsistent with Christian norms. The situation is exacerbated by the heightened expectations created when clergy make vows at ordination.

In other words, this is a case of don’t let the door hit Samuel on the way out. No one should have to deal with his nonsense, and his efforts to resign suggest he’s fully aware that his actions have been inconsistent with serving as a priest.

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