March 3, 2006
What happens when you try to serve God, mammon, and blackmailers:
Leaders of the Orthodox Church in America, facing allegations that they mismanaged millions of dollars, rejected calls for an immediate investigation but promised to follow better accounting procedures in the future.
The 400,000-member denomination has been reeling since October from accusations by its former treasurer, Deacon Eric A. Wheeler. He says that during the late 1990s, its top officials diverted donations from agribusiness magnate Dwayne Andreas, U.S. military chaplains and ordinary parishioners, using some of the money to cover credit card debts and pay sexual blackmail.
After an all-day, closed-door meeting Wednesday in Syosset, N.Y., the church’s Holy Synod, a governing body of 10 bishops, announced that it will adopt a set of “best practices” for financial management. The synod also promised to seek outside audits for 2004 and 2005, and to review all its fundraising appeals since 2001.
But the bishops postponed a decision on whether to look into Wheeler’s allegations of sloppy bookkeeping as well as misappropriation of funds in the late 1990s. They indicated they might reconsider the matter when they meet again in the spring.
“On the threshold of the Great Fast [of Lent], we exhort the faithful to remember the Holy Gospel, to conform to the example of Christ, and to live as Christians in mutual repentance and forgiveness,” the synod’s statement concluded.
And to forget about all that “sexual blackmail” stuff.
TrackBack URL for this entry: