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Flagship Evangelical Parish dumps its rector. Covid and aging takes heavy toll on ASA

By David W. Virtue, DD
October 25, 2022

A confidential report received by VOL revealed that nearly $1.5 million was allegedly stolen from the PA Clergy Assurance Fund by its former Treasurer, John A. Miller.

A forensic report revealed that Miller wrote duplicate checks, one to himself totaling $1,425.400 with some $20,000 on a credit card that included erectile dysfunction meds to HIMS and Rugiet, "the gold standard for ED treatment" and a Canadian pharmacy called Honeybee.

The alleged misappropriation took place between 2016 and 2022.

The largest of many checks to John Miller duplicated death-benefit payments. Miller said he repaid $12,601.00 of the $20,363 which he used for personal expenditures that included ED drugs.

The PA Clergy Assurance Fund has been in existence for over 250 years and is one of the oldest Episcopal organizations in America.

Miller worked at the Clergy Assurance Fund (CAF) from 2001 till early 2022 where he served recently as treasurer and executive director.

He used the fund as a personal piggy bank in much the same way as Ellen Cooke, TEC's Treasurer embezzled The Episcopal Church of $2.2 million during the reign of Presiding Bishop Edmund Browning.

The fund has more than $80 million in assets in 2021, according to its annual report.

IN OTHER NEWS, VOL has learned that The Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, the flagship evangelical Episcopal parish and the diocese’ largest parish, has fired its rector, British born Richard Morgan for his "autocratic" leadership style that did not go down well with most parishoners. TAG, a consulting group, had been brought in an initial attempt to mediate the situation, with no positive results. Attendance and contributions had been dropping off, due to his continued “dictatorial management and lack of sympathy towards parishoner and staff needs.” He was not bringing in enough young people, and was, as one layman described, clueless about characteristics and values that had been so prized by this church. He is out by the end of the year. The bishop approved his departure.

"Good Sam" as the church is known, faces a crisis. Can they find an evangelical rector who will not bend over to the current sexual direction of TEC, and get the approval of the bishop and left-leaning diocese on human sexuality issues?

The parish is aging, like most Episcopal congregations, and it has lost market share since Covid. The parish has no endowment and requires heavy weekly offerings to maintain a large staff and a $10 million makeover from a number of years ago.

One significant development is the recent departure from its ranks to Rome of the Rev. Dr. Chris Hall, PhD, a theologian. He worked for Renovare, a spiritual direction outfit after leaving Eastern Seminary. He has written several books and is a leading exponent of paleo-orthodox theology.

Episcopal Bishop Daniel G.P. Gutierrez recently announced the repositioning of three parishes for people he hopes to draw in from the Hispanic community. The bishop claims that the number of parishes has risen from 133 to 136 under his episcopacy. "When a church closes, often the diocese will sell the property. It can be a heartbreaking transition, but the opportunity to use the proceeds for the rest of the diocese is a bit of a silver lining," he said.

However, Average Sunday Attendance tells a different story. In 2011, the diocese boasted 14,559 in ASA. By 2020, the numbers had slipped to 8,456 a drop of 41.9%. Between 2019-2020, the diocese dropped 27.1%.


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