George Sumner, you disgust us

Bishop Sumner

Anglican Watch contacted Dallas Bishop George Sumner with the allegations that he tried to sandbag the Douglas Anderson #churchtoo case. We shared those allegations and the claim that he forced the parochial vicar out to shut things down. We also asked him to present any evidence to disprove these claims. Nor were we super tactful; we were like, “People say you are a liar.”

It won’t surprise you to know that we got no response. So, we believe the allegations we have heard are spot-on.

Thus, our advice to women in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas is two-fold:

  1. Avoid Sumner like the plague. If he can’t act with integrity in this matter, he can’t be trusted. Full stop. You deserve to be treated with respect and have allegations of sexual misconduct taken seriously, investigated, and the instigator held responsible.
  2. Demand change. Apparently, Sumner is more worried about the church’s reputation than the people who make up the church. If that’s the case, he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and needs to go. And you are within your rights to demand transparency, accountability, a pastoral response, and dignity for all hurt by the church. We’re going to repeat it: Women are not objects.

So, assuming what we have heard is accurate, let us say it again, including on behalf of the alleged victim in this case: George Sumner, you disgust us.


  1. I understand your feelings here, but I have to say it would be ~highly inappropriate~ for any bishop to discuss open disciplinary processes with anyone, no less some random website.

    1. In addition to the communication mandated by Title IV.13.3, there is a good discussion of communication during Title IV on the church’s official Title IV website.

      We can assure you there’s plenty of communication going on around these issues, not to mention a lawsuit. Indeed, if as alleged Sumner forced people out of church employment due their bringing forth complaints of sexual harassment, Sumner likely will himself be the subject of a Title IV complaint.

      But then, given issues with Todd Ousley and the Office of Pastoral Development, Sumner might just get his mortgage paid off.

      1. Perhaps you can cite the precise line of Title IV procedures mandating that bishops freely discuss ongoing disclinary processes with random websites.

        1. First, we’re not going to buy into the premise around your use of the word “freely.”

          Second, here is some of exact language from the official Title IV site:

          The congregation may just be the start in assessing communication needs. How communications are handled both internally in a diocese and externally to the community at large can contribute to a process that has dignity and integrity, or becomes one that can destroy reputations and ministries. Promptness and the nature of the delicate balancing act are considerations that must be made when handling media inquiries, phone calls, congregations, and ministries beyond those directly impacted. Communicators must be aware of traps. Sometimes individuals wait for turmoil to fuel their agendas against The Episcopal Church or individuals in a diocese.

          Many Title IV procedures will involve congregations. A long-time congregational communicator understands the dynamics within a congregation and stresses the need for prompt communication when the procedure becomes public. Sarah Bartenstein has spent more than a decade as parish communicator for one of the largest Episcopal churches in the United States. Additionally, she served as president of the Episcopal Communicators, an international group of church communicators. She also echoes the need for consistency in message.

            1. We have regulars who contend the first to be blackholed should be you. That said, we believe responsible free speech includes avoiding both ad hominem attacks and passive-aggressive comments.

              I think you’ll also find that most of our regulars support same-sex marriage and respond viscerally to those who oppose equality.

              Final observation: Many regulars have been hurt deeply by misconduct within the church. That may be a useful reference point when you comment.


  2. To clarify:

    1) Allegations that Sumner fired a parochial victor in Texarkana who reported complaints of sexual misconduct are not presently the subject of a Title IV complaint.

    2) If Sumner did not fire the parochial vicar for the reasons stated above, there is no reason for him not to deny doing so.

    3) It is appropriate to provide Sumner the opportunity to respond.

    Perhaps more concern for the victims in this case, and less for covering up #metoo issues, would be appropriate. I wonder how Zachary would feel if the victim were his wife.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Exit mobile version