Recently, I sent the clergy and other so-called leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia an email, calling for them, and the diocese, to stop brushing off allegations of abuse and deal with the underlying issues. One of those included was the Rev. Valerie Hayes, rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Front Royal.
In my email, I discussed my experiences with non-sexual abuse at Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria. I discussed Bob Malm’s perjury, the diocese’s refusal to act, and my resulting PTSD and depression. And I discussed the bullying my mother faced from the church, even as she was dying from COPD. Not to mention a female church worker and friend whose experience with egregious sexual harassment left her with PTSD; the church refuses to care for her, but the priest/culprit remains in good standing.
It’s not, “I’m so sorry,” or “What can I do to help?” Oh no. Far from it.
It’s all about her:
So, even as we’re admonished to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” we find that Valerie’s iddy-biddy feelings were hurt because she got an email sent to a large number of people. OMG, the horror of it all!
And Valerie sees no contradiction between her actions and her professed beliefs:
Of course, having emailed Valerie via a mailing list surely transcends dealing with abuse. In fact, if you are dealing with PTSD, be sure not to tell people about it via a bulk email, because Jesus didn’t like mailing lists, and neither does Hayes. Forget abuse in the church— you used a bulk email list. Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
It is exactly this sort of childish personal and organizational narcissism within the Episcopal Church that is the reason the church is dying. Valerie can stand up there on Sundays and bloviate to her heart’s content about social justice, inclusion, and building beloved community. But when offered the chance to take action to make these things happen, her response is “take me off this email list immediately.”
What a joke. Small wonder, with hypocrites like Valerie, the Episcopal Church is dying. And when the denomination implodes due to its own rot, it won’t be a day too soon. I just hope I am there to enjoy the show.
In the meantime, I have a suggestion for Hayes’ email footer that is far more fitting than her current selection:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.