St. Clement’s Philadelphia rector looking to clean house in March 4 vestry election.

In the past week or so, hits on search terms including “St. Clement’s Philadelphia” really went up. (This is compared to a background noise of a hit or two a day.) The phrases were really substantial, which had me thinking that people are poking around for something.

Then, coincidentally, St. Clement’s and my time there (1989-1991 or so) were brought up in another context. So, I figured, a ha! Poker meet poked.

But no. Because there were still more searches. So I decided to go take a look at the St. Clement’s website. What I found was, vestry was off on another one of its litigious flings. They are also angry at the rector, Canon Reid, for having hired a curate, a #2 priest basically. So they have just been making life difficult for Father Reid, and I guess he just had enough.

The March 2012 newsletter gives the story you folks have been searching for. Although I am sure there are a few more minor parts to this story, the sense I have is that it’s refreshingly candid and complete. Vestry did not want to hire the new curate, they are having a fight with the parish webmaster for one reason or another (and it’s either litigation already or the heavy threat of it), and the rector feels that the St. Clement’s vestry is getting in the way of the mission of the parish.

So on March 4, the rector is asking the parish body to vote for his endorsed slate, and send some of the current vestry members packing. I have no use for some of these people–the ones who were around 20 years ago—because I remember how difficult they were in those days. They basically appropriated the parish resources for how they wanted the parish to be, [i.e. they ran the parish as if it was its own religion, and not part of the Protestant Episcopal Church. They did not adhere to national canons.] They essentially ran a purge, and drove a number of the families who attended then up to Good Shepherd Rosemont.

Who would have thought that Christianity has karma in it?

[Update 3/3/12: As the Bible says, at Hosea 8:7, “sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” I bet the $30,000 that the vestry spent on legal fees–probably to figure out how to get their issue into the local Orphans’ Court–was met with the same, goofy, Pennsylvania “deference rule” response that their own attorney, Valerie J. Munson, advocated in 1992. St. Clement’s vestry screwed up Pennsylvania law, by giving an opening to Judge Pawelec. Now Judge Pawelec’s biased opinion comes back to haunt them.]