The Oakwood Register has picked up coverage of the Title IV clergy disciplinary case involved the rector-elect of St. Paul’s, Oakwood, Dan McClain. That’s good news, as sunshine is a powerful disinfectant.
That said, the paper’s coverage has been a bit spotty.
Early versions of the story talked about Kate McClain as being the former wife of Dan McClain. Regrettably, she’s not that lucky—she is still very much Dan’s legal wife.
More recent coverage includes details from the diocese’s Title IV complaint against Daniel McClain. These allegations include:
- His purported bullying of persons who don’t agree with him.
- His unauthorized denial of communion to his wife — which begs the question: What kind of priest turns anyone away from Holy Eucharist?
- McClain’s romantic relationship with another woman, whom we refer to as “Plant Lady.” (Yes, there’s an inside joke there, but we won’t disclose her name, as she is not clergy.)
- McClain’s use of church funds for personal use, including paying for his kids’ lunch.
- His abuse of authority, including hiring personnel without vestry authorization.
- His retaliation against persons who disagree with him.
And while Dan tells the paper he’s always tried to be a good father, we are left asking, “What kind of ‘good father’ tries to cut his support payments on the basis that he’s allegedly had a cut in pay?”
Or wants to cut his support of his wife and children, but has money for a new tattoo and to have an extramarital affair?
Or, for that matter, has to have support withheld from his paycheck by court order because he doesn’t pay it on his own?
But most tellingly, the paper gives scant attention to McClain’s unauthorized exorcism of the church, which is reported in the diocesan investigatory report.
Leaving aside McClain’s claim that church rubrics don’t require the bishop’s permission when an exorcism involves a building — a flagrant fabrication — we have heard few reports of exorcisms in Episcopal churches.
Indeed, spirits generally are welcome in the denomination, especially when named rum, vodka, scotch, and gin. Not to mention it says something when evil entities purportedly inhabit a church — most of the ones we know join the choir, altar guild, or vestry. But the basement? Damn. Standards, folks, standards.
This is one weird and troubling situation, especially when combined with the strange misogyny of the postcard sent to church members about re-establishing patriarchy.
And frankly, while Dan talks about growing the church, we know few young people who will join a patriarchal church that holds exorcisms and thinks yoga is a cult. Hashtag #whackadoodle.
Hopefully, Dan will pack it in sooner, rather than later, and spare his wife, kids, and church further trauma.