Initially, when we sat down to write this, we were going to do predictions for 2024. But as we did, we realized that we sounded like the Delphic Oracle, muttering, “Beware the Ides of March.” Plus, several predictions don’t make sense without context, and in several cases, we have confidential information about the situation we can’t release.
So, instead, we’re going to take a positive approach and share our hopes for the coming year. Here goes.
- Top of the list, we hope that Michael Curry and others in leadership roles in the Episcopal Church wake up and realize that the problems with Title IV and clergy discipline are less about what’s in Title IV and more about leadership. Many of the changes that must happen for the church to survive relate to culture and accountability, and that flows from the top. Just sending the issue off to a committee does little. So, less talk about love and more acting in love.
- Relatedly, we hope this is the year bishops in the Episcopal Church start taking clergy discipline seriously. That includes holding Alan Gates, Chilton Knudsen, and bad witch Glenda Curry accountable for their conduct, with particular emphasis on those who ignored the Richard Losch allegations of child rape.
- We hope to see alleged pedophile Aaron Solomon arrested and charged with various crimes, including child sexual abuse, murder, and criminal conspiracy. And we hope that Grace Chapel, Amy Curle, and others behind that vast cesspool of corruption are held accountable.
- We hope PCA cleans up its act. Far too often, folks in the denomination treat the BCO as inspired by God. These people can parse it word for word, even as they use the BCO to protect abusers and those in power, thus ignoring the real message of the Gospels. So, we want to see the sordid messes at Covenant Nashville, Proclamation, Tenth Presby, and elsewhere cleaned up. Nor are we interested in cheap grace — we’re talking restitution and a change of heart versus the usual “Sorry that you were upset” fauxpologies.
- Speaking of, we hope Liam Goligher, Susan Elzey, and ruling nincompoop George McFarland all get excommunicated. That would show that PCA takes evil seriously.
- We hope that Dan McClain, rector of St. Paul’s, Dayton, does all involved a favor and leaves. As in, he leaves ministry for good and heads to academia, where he can hang with his broham. And while he’s at it, he can take his gal pal Plant Lady with him. (Good luck, PL — you’re going to need it.)
- We hope that the dioceses involved will address allegations of criminal conduct by perjuring priest Robert Malm, now serving as interim at St. Peters on the Canal in Bourne, MA. Signs are that Malm’s charm-bombing his way into the fold at that parish, but the joy will be short-lived once they realize that the hugs, sunny smile, and winsome words are all just a facade. And that spells bad news for the church’s hope of finding a rector and its long-term prospects of survival. After all, it is axiomatic that churches become like their rectors. And you do not want to wind up like Bob Malm.
- We hope that our sisters and brothers in ELCA will clean up their act. TEC is a hot mess — you don’t need to follow suit. While we don’t often cover ELCA, we are mindful of the Megan Roher uproar and the corruption we saw, which goes all the way to Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, that denomination’s presiding bishop. Maybe that debacle has something to do with Eaton being married to an Episcopal priest. Hmm.
- We hope that, with its immense wealth, TEC doesn’t try to do things on the cheap but instead gets professional help in addressing conflict within its dioceses, parishes, and structures. Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, here we come.
- We hope that the Episcopal Church, instead of its usual weasel-worded nonsense, adopts specific guidelines for the implementation of Title IV. Far too often, the denomination uses Title IV in the same way the PCA uses its Book of Church Order, which is an excuse to do nothing. An example of the ELCA’s policies, which are short, to the point, and specific, follows. (More on that soon. We’ve long advocated for the ecclesiastical equivalent of federal regulations, which implement the underlying statute. Such a model would leave Title IV largely intact, while removing the vagaries and inconsistencies we now see in its deployment.)
- We hope that Bishop George Sumner, rector David Halt, narcissistic a-hole rector Doug Anderson, and all involved in the egregious sexual harassment case at St. James Texarkana, its cover-up, and the retaliation that followed get their walking papers. And while they’re at it, they can take corrupt Alan Gates and his minions with them. As to folks at Church of the Advent, we respect our conservative friends. But for heaven’s sake, get over the bit about the ordination of women. That’s so 70s.
- Our editor, Eric Bonetti, asked us to roll in a personal goal, which is that his husband, Mike, will move from ICU to a step-down unit following his heart transplant. And good news–as we were writing this, we got word that this has, in fact, happened. Mike is officially one step closer to leaving the hospital.
Happy New Year to all. May this year be one of hope and renewal for all involved.