Sad news from St. Paul’s Montvale

By | May 26, 2023
St Paul’s Montvale closes its doors

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but mendacity marred the ministry of St. Paul’s Montvale. And yes, we are thinking of the group we generously term “the dissidents” and their abusive behavior.

In a letter sent moments ago to parishioners, dissidents, and others, Bishop Carlye Hughes announced that she had approved a request by the church’s vestry to assume mission status. 

The announcement follows the cessation of worship at the property several weekends ago.

By moving to mission status, the title to the property has transferred to the diocese, and the bishop serves as rector, with the ability to appoint vicars to represent her.

For now, the church remains empty and is closed to all uses.

The news, while hardly surprising, is an example of how bad behavior by the dissidents profoundly damaged the church’s ministry, while trashing their own reputations. Misconduct by the dissidents included:

  • Multiple fabrications about the conduct of former priest-in-charge, Jill Williams.
  • Childish, inflammatory rhetoric.
  • Theft of church financial records.
  • Disruptive fabrications about issues within the church, including Beth Abrahamson’s falsehood in which she falsely stated that a parishioner who had just lost a family member didn’t want pastoral care. This sort of conduct evinces a lack of concern for the welfare of others often associated with anti-social personality disorder. In other words, Abrahamson had better hope there isn’t a literal hell, because if there’s anything that would warrant eternal damnation, it’s behavior like hers. ($20 says she doesn’t have the integrity to apologize.)
  • Fabrications by Jeffrey Piatt. That includes saying he would not be involved with the church until pastor Jill Williams was gone; later, he falsely claimed he’d been excluded.
  • Claiming that somehow they were being ignored by the bishop, even as she declined to be drawn into the dissidents’ machinations.
  • The defiant trespassing and related misrepresentations from Mark Denbeaux et al. And no, he wasn’t there to “worship my God.” He was there to make a point, and a foolish, muddleheaded one at that.

And while we are not fans of Bishop Carlye Hughes — that extends to her too-little-too-late approach to this conflict — Anglican Watch fully endorses her comments to the dissidents that they need to knock off the bad behavior. It’s childish, damaging, and sociopathic. Nor does it do anything to obscure what we believe was the underlying issue, which was the use of the church by Jeff Piatt, Beth Abrahamson, and family members to launder money and engage in tax fraud. And yes, feel free to quote us.

J Wahler Construction

Joseph Wahler, Montvale aka Mr. Hate

Joseph Wahler, Montvale aka Mr. Hate

Relatedly, assholes like Joe Wahler and Russell Miller must worry about their own issues. Anyone who makes misogynistic, hateful remarks like these two need to spend time on their own faith and ethical reference points. And while he’s at it, Miller might want to learn how to compose a sentence. Indeed, we’d consider taking his foolish bloviating seriously if he could put a cogent thought together.

As for Wahler, his conduct doesn’t comport with Catholic theology, so why he thinks he’s in a position to invite people to attend the Catholic church escapes us.

Meanwhile, we surely would not do business with Wahler or Miller. As Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. People know themselves much better than you do. That’s why it’s important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are.” And these two are ugly and unethical. Nor would we want to subsidize the hate coming from them, or the Piatt family.

Anglican Watch hopes the news serves as a wake-up call to the dissidents. To the extent that anyone in the group actually is Christian — and there’s scant evidence of this — we remind them of the words of Jesus: “As you have done to the least of these, so also have you done unto me.” 

In other words, every lie, every fabrication, every instance of bullying is something they have directed at Jesus and the entire body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:20.

And Bishop Hughes correctly notes that many efforts have been made to resolve this conflict. But the notion of the dissidents, which is best summarized as “sure, we can negotiate—just give me everything I want and we’re good” is neither helpful nor Christian.

So, we call upon the dissidents to use this inflection point to repent, to renounce their bullying and other misconduct publicly, and to apologize. And we’re happy to publish any real apology they might offer. (Fauxpologies need not apply.)

All in all, it’s a sad day for the Episcopal church in Montvale. Hopefully, the haters have learned their lesson, which is that hatred never produces a good outcome. Or, as former senator Alan Simpson said at the funeral of George H.W. Bush, “hate corrodes the container it is carried in.”


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