Friday, November 8, 2013

Bullying – a Growing Problem in the Church

This Blog held up the issue of bullying back on April 19th of this year under the title: “Terrorists are Bullies and Bullies are Terrorists.”  In short, both are the improper use or threatened use of force or violence, physical or verbal, against persons or groups, to intimidate or coerce. This week the sports community is aghast at the bullying of professional football players in the NFL.  If even 300 pound athletes can be bullied, there is no doubt that Rectors can be bullied by parishioners and equally true be bullied by Bishops and Diocesan Staff persons.  (The April 19th article is still available.)

Currently this author is collecting illustrations of bullying in the Church.  The material will be used in an upcoming publication and may well be included in one of the presentations at the Annual Episcopal Journey of Hope Conference.
Send materials to Be assured that non-attribution and confidentiality will be respected and protected.  It is time the Church faced up to this major issue!


  1. I would think that there are sufficient examples of church bullying to fill a book. Parish priests are often caught between a bullying diocesan executive and a bullying parishioner or vestry. You should end up with a very informative blog.

  2. I know nothing about this but it just appeared in my email:

    1. OH, it is titled:Betrayed: the clergy killers DNA. I know it is about clergy bullying but that is all I know. If anyone finds out more, let us know.

  3. Ron, the DVD "Betrayed: the Clergy Killers DNA" and the "Stressed Clergy Association" are but two resources offering themselves as help to bullied clergy. The Episcopal Journey of Hope upcoming publication and the Annual Conference will also be resources to assist clergy under attack with a special focus on Episcopal clergy serving as Rector. Again send in your account of bullying to

  4. Many thanks to the readers who have shared their own stories along with observed illustrations of bullying in the Church. Nearly every congregation seems to have persons who using bullying tactics to create issues for the rector, extreme examples include physical force, vandalism, and frivolously lawsuits. When the bullying comes from the diocesan side it is most often in the form of public sarcasm, open ridicule, forced resignation or canonical action.
    A number of writers shared how they coped with bullying and made suggestions that should be helpful to other clergy. To say the least, the number of respondents is far greater than expected which illustrates that the problem is significant.

  5. Seeing this again and reflecting on some post here on the EJH, in some ways this small group of disaffected retired clergy are bullying the current clergy in their diocese. A weekly gossip lunch, filled with judgment over and against those still in the trenches. Bravo! Bravo!

  6. I realize there are times when priests are bullied. it shoulded be pointed out that it SOMETIMES occurs after all other measures have been taken to remove a toxic priest. they do exist, you know. What I can't find, however, is any information about parishioners who are bullied by their priests.

  7. As someone who is being bullied and shunned by my Episcopal priest, Bob Malm, rector of Grace Church in Alexandria VA, I can assure you bullying by clergy is alive and well.