Stacy Sauls

December 11, 2015

Episcopal Officials Suspended by Presiding Bishop

Three top officials with the Episcopal Church have been suspended by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy Sauls, Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mission Samuel McDonald, and Director of Public Engagement Alex Baumgarten were placed on administrative suspension on Wednesday, December 9.

“This is a result of concerns that have been raised about possible misconduct in carrying out their duties as members of senior management of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society [DFMS],” Curry explained in a letter to Episcopal Church staff that was made available on the afternoon of Friday, December 11. The DFMS is the organizational name for the national Episcopal Church.

The letter does not disclose the allegations against the three senior officials, but explains that an independent investigator will examine the concerns. No information was given about who made the allegations.

“To protect the integrity of that process, we will not be able to say more about the concerns at this time,” Curry states. The Presiding Bishop, who took office November 1 following his election at this summer’s Episcopal General Convention, told staffers that there will be a video conference on Monday, December 14.

Curry asked church staff to “refrain from speculation” in order to “ensure the integrity of a fair and just process.”

While no further information was offered in the staff letter, there have been recent tensions between church staff and Episcopal Church Executive Council, an elected body that convenes in the three year period between General Conventions.

On November 18, a concealed audio recording device was found during a meeting of the Executive Council in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. The device was placed near the table where Curry and Episcopal House of Deputies President Gay Clark Jennings had been seated during plenary sessions. At several points in the meeting, the council went into executive session and staff and visitors were asked to leave the room.

Participants were asked to check their tabletops and to look under their tables for any additional devices, none were found.

Episcopal News Service reported that General Convention Executive Officer and Executive Council Secretary Canon Michael Barlowe told the council that his staff was checking to see if there were security tapes that could be reviewed to determine what happened.

Update: 04/19/2016: Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has announced at the conclusion of the investigation that McDonald and Baumgarten have been terminated due to workplace misconduct. Sauls has been cleared of any wrongdoing, but will not continue on as Chief Operating Officer at the Episcopal Church Center. Church Public Affairs Officer Neva Rae Fox has told G. Jeffrey MacDonald of The Living Church that Sauls is no longer employed at the church’s headquarters. The Christian Post reports:

Throughout the investigation the specific allegations leveled against the three officials was not specified, neither did they get mention in the recent update.

Curry did note, however, that certain actions were going to be taken now that the investigation was concluded, including “an independent human resources audit and procedural review of all of our workplace system safeguards and functions” and the retention of a firm called Human Synergistics to help create a healthy workplace.

16 Responses to Episcopal Officials Suspended by Presiding Bishop

  1. Tony Seel says:

    Corruption at 815? Possibly by a lawyer-bishop. Is this a surprise to anyone?

  2. Daisy Kai Martin says:

    Katharine Jefferts Schori in the picture? How disrespectful to imply at a glance that she’s involved. Do you need some help with Microsoft Paint to edit her out? Or were you trying to be clickbait?

    • JustNTyme says:

      You are probably the first person ever to refer to Schori as “clickbait.”

    • Nohm says:

      She appointed Stacy Sauls, on the left, to his post as chief operating officer. She has a history of appointing bad people, including the homicidal DUI bishop.

      • Richard Mitchell says:

        Jefferts-Shori did not “appoint” Heather Cook; she was duly elected by the Diocese of Maryland. There has still been no public disclosure of where the vetting process went so badly astray.

        • Nohm says:

          I imagine the Epis elite all know each other extremely well, so Schori could not have been too surprised at Heather Cook, nor the people in Cook’s diocese. They were moving up one of their far-left colleagues further up the ladder, and that fatal collision with the bicyclist showed what a wreck her private life was. It’s one of the big flaws in any episcopal system.

        • Betsy Daniel says:

          There has been considerable reporting on the vetting process for Heather Cook. Please do the research on her case, and you will find a pitiable breakdown within the diocese of Maryland regarding calling Cook to accountability before she was elected by the Diocese of Maryland and before she actually became bishop. The lack of awareness about alcoholism and the denial and deviousness of those suffering from active addiction left the diocese (and perhaps the presiding bishop though we do not know this) at a personally lamentable disadvantage in vetting Cook and her addiction. The Bishop of Maryland Eugene “Sutton — who oversees Episcopalians in much of Maryland aside from the D.C. suburbs — suspected Cook was ‘inebriated during pre-consecration dinner,’ the timeline says, ‘and conveys concern to Presiding Bishop. Presiding Bishop indicates she will discuss with Cook. Cook consecrated.’ ” (see link below) If you are interested in gaining substantive knowledge of this matter, the information is available.

  3. Keith Crosby says:

    All the new bishop has to do is wait. With the continuing declines in both membership and attendance the concerns will become moot in a decade or so. Schori has done irreparable damage but she was enabled by the people who put her in office. There’s a reason anglicanism is in decline world wide except in the Africa and other places where they take their Christianity and their Bibles (oh… there’s that B-word), seriously.

  4. Fidei Defensor says:

    Rot in the church. This is what happens when a church removes Jesus Christ from its cornerstone, and, by matching its values with the world’s, tries unsuccessfully to replace that cornerstone with wood, hay, and stubble.

    • dogged says:

      Since the swingin’ 60s, the once elite Episcopal Church has been transforming itself into “the Democrat Party at prayer”.
      Aren’t the Dems the same guys who booed the name of God at their last national convention? Bad karma.

  5. Natalie Dormer says:

    I’d like to see the EC make a formal apology for Katharine Jefferts Schori and her jihad against EC churches who wanted to stay Anglican but leave the EC. Refusing to sell them back their own churches was vindictive.

  6. Michael Kuhn says:

    Is this simply a site to whine and complain about the “good old days” while assuming that Christ cares differently about Republicans than he does Democrats? Yet so many of the writings here seem to carry a political agenda, while pretending to adhere to “biblical principles” – I assume these are the passages about slaughtering one’s enemies rather than the gospel concerns about loving one’s enemies. Please, find a better way to exercise your faith.

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