Anglican Watch

Why did Whayne Hougland get a pastoral response, but the victims in the Santosh Marray case are getting none?

Santosh Kumar Marray

TLD: It is appalling that the Office of Presiding Bishop is not providing a pastoral response to the complainants in the Santosh Marray case. It is doubly appalling that Marray has not been suspended in light of his violation of Title IV confidentiality and threats of retaliation.

A pastoral response needs to be provided immediately, along with an apology for the corruption and inertia. Marray needs to be suspended.

No other outcome is acceptable.

We also reiterate our ardently held position: Todd Ousley has trashed the reputation of the denomination with his deliberate mishandling of clergy disciplinary complaints. As a result, he needs to go. Sooner, rather than later.


Remember Whayne Hougland, the former Episcopal bishop who betrayed his marriage vows? His case is interesting, because unlike the complainants in the Santosh Marray case, he got a pastoral response, even in the midst of being suspended from office. The Platinum Upgrade version.

Here’s what The Living Church said about the situation, including Office for Pastoral Development (OPD) Bishop Todd Ousley’s outrageous role in the matter:

The dioceses say that the suspension accord was negotiated by OPD with little or no diocesan input, and said the experience “was severely lacking in clarity, consistency, timely communication, and tracking of our process by the OPD.” The Rt. Rev. Todd Ousley is the bishop for pastoral development, and the complaint has added poignancy because Ousley was Bishop of Eastern Michigan for a decade before assuming his current role. When asked to respond, Ousley said that as an employee of the church it would be inappropriate for him to speak with the news media about pending legislation.

During the suspension, Hougland continued to draw 60 percent of his salary, with full benefits continued. At TLC‘s request, spokesperson Katie Forsythe provided additional details of the financial burden imposed on the dioceses. Hougland’s combined salary and housing allowance for 2020 was budgeted at $180,000 before the suspension — up from $137,557 for 2019, representing an increase for taking on the provisional bishop role in Eastern Michigan. She said that when Hougland resigned, the combined dioceses paid him a lump-sum severance of $75,204.

Meanwhile, the dioceses also were paying the Rt. Rev. Skip Adams $60,000 as a part-time provisional bishop for part of 2021. The current full-time provisional bishop, the Rt. Rev. Prince Singh, who began after Hougland’s resignation, is paid $173,000. The two dioceses maintain separate budgets (totaling about $3.5 million) while sharing some personnel, including the bishop, two other full-time employees, and five part-time employees. Most of the expenses are shared equally between the dioceses.

“In the midst of MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and a worldwide pandemic, an already privileged, white male in a position of power who had betrayed his vows was given a copious amount of support,” the diocesan complaint said. “Our dioceses, by contrast, received almost none.”

After resigning, Hougland was named transitional director of Bellwether Farm, a camp and retreat center in the Diocese of Ohio. In July, he is scheduled to become interim rector of St. Chrysostom’s, a large, affluent parish in Chicago. “Whayne’s adultery is an issue he was able to speak openly about with us, and for him it has been an occasion through which he discovered grace, mercy, and humility before God,” the church said on its website. He could not be reached through either of those employers, nor through the Michigan dioceses.

In March, Hougland was readmitted to the House of Bishops as a non-voting member, and Ousley said the reconciliation was an example of “living into the highest ideals of our Title IV process.” The dioceses said: “We hope that our ideals in The Episcopal Church as expressed in Title IV are actually much higher than what we in our dioceses have just experienced.”

Contrast that situation with the complainants in the Marray case.

So far, months after filing a complaint, zero pastoral response from the Office of the Presiding Bishop, despite multiple requests. And while we are told that the Office of Presiding Bishop is saying this will have to wait due to General Convention 81, somehow we don’t think Jesus would have made the Convention his priority. Indeed, the welfare of those hurt by religious authority figures was always one of Jesus’ top concerns.

Of course, while Hougland’s indiscretion proved lucrative for him, one can argue that the Marray complainants are in the same boat as were the Michigan complainants. In other words, the Episcopal Church has learned nothing from this debacle. Nothing. Zip. Nada. (While we’re on the topic, how does anyone in their right mind justify paying $75,204 in severance? Does anyone in the national church understand that these are donated funds? Folks, we give our money to support the kingdom of God, not adulterous Episco-bro bishops.)

Another important point: Marray has already violated confidentiality. And he’s publicly threatened retaliation,

In other words, Marray needs to be suspended, effective immediately. And we need to see a pastoral response.

Anything else is unacceptable.

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