Pipped at the post

Commiserations to the Diocese of Easton, in Maryland, whose bishop, James J. Shand, must have been disappointed at the coverage afforded to the Diocese of Louisiana over its difficulties with its Diocesan Controller, Mrs Selwa Perry, who recently confessed to misappropriating funds over several years from the diocesan account for her personal use.

After all, Mrs Perry’s pocket-lining seems as if it may have been trivial compared with the activities of Easton’s Administrator of Finance. According to police records obtained by a local newspaper, Ms Swartz’s alleged crimes were first discovered in November 2004, when an unauthorized payroll cheque written by Ms Swartz to herself in December 2003 for $1,345 came to light.

Ms Swartz explained that she had given herself an advance on her pay, but subsequently forgot to make good on the advance. Further examinations by an auditor engaged by the diocese in January 2005 indicated Ms Swartz had been using diocesan accounts and credit cards for her private use. The $9,000 in purchases made between 2001 and 2004 was listed as ‘other support services’ in the diocese’s financial statements. Confronted by the audit, Ms Swartz resigned and offered to make full restitution. Further investigations revealed that the signature of the diocesan treasurer had also been forged on a number of cheques.

While the diocese’s records indicated payments totalling more than $65,000 were being made to payees such as the ‘Domestic and Foreign Mission Society’ and ‘Church Pension Fund Group Insurance Services,’ the actual name on the cheque was – you guessed it! – ‘Gail Swartz.’ A further $72,000 in payments was allegedly co-mingled between bona fide diocesan creditors and Ms Swartz’s personal purchases. The total theft has yet to be determined, which of course means that Ms Swartz cannot yet write her cheque for the ‘full restitution’ she was so quick to offer.

No ordinary Canon?

30 Days has no wish to intrude on private grief, so we will refrain from joining in the intense speculation as to whether the Canon Rex Perry who is Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Louisiana (see 30 Days last month), whose wife half-inched quantities of loot from the diocesan funds she was ostensibly controlling for Bishop Charles E. Jenkins, is in fact the same Rex Perry who resigned as parish priest of Dallas’ second largest Episcopal Church back in May 1996, following his arrest for public lewdness.

That Rex Perry reportedly exposed himself to and fondled an undercover police officer at a public restroom near White Rock Lake. He pleaded no contest to the Class A misdemeanour, was given 12 months probation and fined $500. 30 Days endeavoured to check this story out on the ECUSA online clergy directory, but sadly it lists only one Rex Perry, who apparently now works in Louisiana, having been ordained in Dallas.

Less lewd

Many thanks to the distinguished 30 Days reader who recently sent in a page from the magazine of Pembroke College, Cambridge, featuring a photograph of no less than eleven topless lovelies. The accompanying article, written by JCR President Ros Earis, explains how enthusiastically the Dean of Pembroke, Canon Brian Watchorn, supported her idea for a charity Naked Calendar, once he had been assured that he would not need to get his kit off.

Ms Earis closes her piece by complaining that her parents ‘have yet to hang the calendar up in a prominent position in the vicarage.’ 30 Days naturally rushed to Crockford’s to see who the proud father might be, but sadly only one Earis is listed.

Puppy love

More from the ‘Open Episcopal Church’ (sic), whose doings we touched on last month. On the internet we learn that ‘The Apostolic Society of St Brigid of Kildare is a religious order within the Open Episcopal Church.’ Sadly, it appears to have just one full member, its Provincial Prior, Mother Elizabeth ssb.

The website goes on: ‘Mother Liz was one of the founders of SSB and was elected its first Provincial Prior in 2001. She has written extensively on the theology of sexuality. She is a vowed celibate and lives with her puppy, Arthur.’ Apparently, in her spare time, Mother Liz is a bishop in the OEC and serves as its theologian. What Arthur does is his spare time is not revealed.

It never rains but it pours (1)

In February this year, a former volunteer and youth minister at Trinity Episcopal Church, Main Street, Tilton, New Hampshire was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting two 4-year-old girls and stealing nearly $4,000 from the church-run food pantry. Scott Nash, 45, of Northfield, is being held at the Merrimack County Jail on $1,000,000 bail.

It never rains but it pours (2)

In May 2005, the Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Main Street, Tilton, New Hampshire resigned after 14 hours of discussion between herself and church officials, including the local bishop. The Revd Janet Lombardo’s ‘inability to address issues involving authority, collaboration, commitment, dissemination of information and judgment’ led to her departure, according to church officials. She had led the church for seven years.

It never rains but it pours (3)

Christine Hersom, Treasurer from 1995 to 2001 at Trinity Episcopal Church, Main Street, Tilton, New Hampshire, has been charged with stealing more than $100,000 from the parish. Following a long investigation, she turned herself in to the police in June and, after arraignment, was freed on $150,000 bail.

It never rains but it pours (4)

Folk at Trinity Episcopal Church, Main Street, Tilton, New Hampshire have learned that the Bishop of New Hampshire is the Right Revd Gene Robinson.