Presbyterian polity is interesting. Devoid of the weasel-wording and vague strictures of Episcopal Title IV, the Book of Church Order (BCO) is nothing if not specific.
Unfortunately, when used by a corrupt session, like the one at Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia, the BCO can also provide the details that give rise to the devil.
For starters, while the GRACE report is largely fluff with its recommendations about communication and transparency, the report makes one thing clear: session is an utter failure in protecting the congregation from sexual abuse. That is a primary obligation of any church leader, and the failure of session to do so warrants the resignation of the entire bunch.
if McFarland and the rest of that nest of vipers won’t resign, then the presbytery needs to get involved and give them the heave-ho. To be clear, this involves not just removal from office, but excommunication. Ignoring sin is sin, and there’s no excuse.
While we’re on the topic, the corruption at Tenth extends to Susan Elzey with her fabrications about what transpired in Lancaster and her perjurious comments about Phil. To use a metaphor, cleaning house does no good if you ignore an infestation of cockroaches, so Elzey needs to go. She is a perjurer, a liar, and an adulterer and should have no role in the church.
Next up is the big ball of goo, Liam Goligher. Like Elzey, he is a perjurer, a liar, and an adulterer, and one who ignores sexual abuse within the church.
Goligher also has abandoned his call, but thanks to his feckless and corrupt session, retains all the the perks of his position under the provisions of the BCO. In fact, we’re prepared to bet that Goligher got a raise at the last meeting of session, even though he had resigned hours earlier. But we can’t know for sure, since session deliberately lumps clergy salaries together to obfuscate the details. And if he’s still technically pastor, we’re prepared to bet that he’s drawing a salary. That is wrong on so many levels it makes our heads hurt just thinking about it.
Meanwhile, McFarland and the rest of the schemers in session are dragging their feet on the small group discussions about Goligher, which appear to be nothing more than an effort to divide and conquer, while identifying dissidents who need to be pushed out. Or maybe, like Phil Snyder, falsely accused of threatening church members.
So what is to be done? Members of Tenth and others who care about the integrity of the church should contact the presbytery about Goligher’s adultery, his unwillingness to address myriad instances of sexual abuse (wonder why), and his perjury towards Phil Snyder and related use of church funds to engage in criminal activity.
Contacting the presbytery is easy. Just visit https://www.phillypca.com/contact-us, fill out the form, provide specifics about Goligher et al, and you’re in business.
And while we are not fans of defunding churches over every minor slight that comes along, when, as here, a church spends tens of thousands of dollars to engage in criminal conduct in the form of the perjurious lawsuit against Phil Snyder, it’s time to withhold funds. Church member funds are going for evil, not for good, and Snyder deserves acclaim for calling a spade a spade–something the rest of the clowns at Tenth still aren’t willing to do.
Relatedly, if Goligher is still drawing a salary, it’s time to withhold donations. Why should anyone subsidize a liar, perjurer, and adulterer like Goligher who has already resigned, and who has caused such profound damage to the church?
As a last resort, if the presbytery won’t act, and McFarland and the rest of the den of vipers in session won’t resign, it’s then time to deploy the nuclear option. That involves members voting with their feet, leaving Tenth, and going no contact until the Temple is cleared of the money changers.
Finally, when the congregational meeting to discuss Goligher finally rolls around, the BCO requires advance notice and that it be open to the public. So fellow journalists, gear up for a road-trip. Chances are McFarland and the rest of the blithering chuckleheads in session will not have had the integrity to resign, but instead will be up there with the usual fun, games, manipulation, and other efforts to protect their not-so-holy turf.