Those returning to UK’s campus this Fall might not notice anything new at St. Augustine’s Chapel on Rose Lane. Christopher Platt’s name still hangs on the wall, reporting service times that no longer exist.

As many parishioners and community members already know, Christopher Platt was deposed July 20th, 2004 for “embezzlement and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.”

St. Augustine’s has dropped its two Sunday services since Platt’s resignation (which preceded him being deposed in July). A Lutheran minister runs a Wednesday night meeting in the chapel, and that’s about it; he reports they aren’t planning on using the chapel for services any time in the near future.

Without a place to call home, or a pastor to lead them, Platt’s congregation has since disbanded. They are sheep without a shepherd, and many are angry over what happened. Too angry to go back to church just yet. Some consider it ironic in that Platt was known for reaching out to the community to pull disparate people together. But many aren’t shy about the bitterness and anger that accompanies the irony.

James Birchfield, member of the former St. Augustine’s Chapel at the University of Kentucky isn’t one to mince words, “The treatment of St. Augustine’s Chapel and Father Christopher Platt by the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington is a scandalous outrage. The conduct of the Bishop against Father Platt, especially via the so-called ‘Ecclesiastical Court,’ was a scabrous travesty of justice, a mockery of Christianity, and a disgrace to the Episcopal Church.” He’s been vocal in his opinion that, “The Bishop should be removed.”

Scott Estes has also been vocal. He began attending St. Augustine's in 1984, when his friend, the Rev. Richard Elliott, became vicar. In 1990, Rev. Elliott asked him to serve as his "Bishop's Warden," the title he held until the end of the Chapel as a functional church in the Diocese of Lexington.

He says, "After the initial shock (of the allegations), the response of the community was anger. Chris was popular with the congregation and we simply did not believe that he had stolen from the diocese. [The Bishop's] attitude toward the congregation was little help, steadily deteriorating during the first meeting. I know now that he was angry with Chris, but he rapidly became angry and extremely defensive when challenged about his response to Chris' supposed crimes. And, challenged he was. As his anger increased, so did that of the congregation. The one promise he made to our community was that he would make certain we had pastoral care.

"As the senior lay leader, I formed a committee to meet with the Bishop and chart a course for the future. These meetings came to naught despite a sincere effort to work with him on our part. He delayed the meetings often and when he did meet, often we were forced to deal with his anger at Chris and at myself without [feeling he was] ever really listening to our concerns. That was particularly evident when he met with the Standing Committee of Diocese (essentially his vestry) to give his findings about St. Augustine's without inviting a single member of the congregation to speak, or hear his decisions."

Estes concludes, "He did keep his promise for pastoral care, but only in sacramental terms. St. Augustine's congregation had the body and blood in the Eucharist but rarely from the same priest two Sundays in a row.

[The Bishop] never appointed another Chaplain or even a temporary Priest-in-Charge, and thus the community never had a pastor they could call on to help sort out their anger and hurt, which is what pastoral 'care' means. Our deacon, Paul Holbrook, and I tried to meet these needs, but we were inside the morass of pain ourselves, and not as effective as a more neutral priest might have been. Curiously, [the Bishop] was quick to install a Priest-in-Charge at St. John's, Versailles, when he took over that church. But, they had a multi-million dollar endowment to protect, we were only few people in pain. Whether by accident or intent, the lack of any consistent pastoral ministry fractured our community further. Some joined other churches, often in different denominations, where they could receive some pastoral help. Others simply became un-churched. A few stuck it out to the bitter end. We talked of forming a different church but we were too few by that time, and I am convinced that a church born out of this much anger and pain would have been doomed in any case, especially in this diocese. The long delay kept the wounds open for both Chris and many of the community. The front page articles in the Herald-Leader detailing the proceedings of a hand-picked ecclesiastical court of kangaroos were also very hurtful. The building at 472 Rose Street stands empty every Sunday. Why we couldn't use it collaboratively with his Lutheran chaplain remains a mystery for which no one has ever given a reasonable answer...I'm still an Episcopalian, I just don't know where to go to church…and I miss it, deeply."

In 1998 Christopher Platt was celebrated by Ace readers as one of ‘This Year’s Models’ for his many civic and community contributions. The article states, “He characterizes the church of love as being focused on works of mercy: visiting the sick, feeding the hungry, sheltering the needy, clothing the cold, and so on.”

It wasn’t just Ace readers, but members of the Episcopal church itself, who recognized Platt’s outreach. Also in the article Wayne Wright, the Episcopal Bishop of Delaware said of Platt, “Too many ‘churchy’ types think that the church only happens inside the building. Chris works on getting out there where folks are. He is definitely not the ivory steeple type.”

When allegations of financial impropriety first surfaced several testimonials were submitted to Ace on Platt’s behalf. Jonathan Goodan, a theological student rose to his defense, “Chris Platt is the most generous man I have ever known…When the Diocese substantially cut the Chapel’s funding, Chris paid the bills from his own paycheck. But his small salary and personal savings were not enough to support the Chapel…He did not stop providing for the personal needs of his congregation. That is, he continued to use his private monies to pay for textbooks, meals, childcare, marriage counseling, and medical bills. Such generosity exhausted his resources and he declared bankruptcy…He sacrificed his own financial security for his faith. He opened the doors of his parish to everyone: gay, straight, rich, poor, black, white, drunk and sober. He proclaimed, in word and deed, a simple message: you are accepted, you are loved.”

Wright had expressed similar sentiments in 1998, “Chris is generous. If he has it, he’ll share it with you”—a characteristic (vice or virtue, depending on whom you ask) that may have contributed to his eventual declaration of personal bankruptcy (which preceded his invitation by the Bishop to assume the duties of Canon to the Ordinary, a role of assisting the Bishop)—as he was known for his inability to say No to people in need.

Doors Wide Open

For I was hungered, and ye gave me
meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I
was a stranger and ye took me in.
—Mathew 25:35

Until March 2003, Christopher Platt acted as the Reverend of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church serving the campus of the University of Kentucky. Platt kept the doors of St. Augustine’s open, not only for students, but wide-open—serving a much larger community of campus police, faculty, and university staff, along with the public in general.

He held two Sunday services, one at 10:30am, then later in the day at 6:00pm, and another during the week on Wednesday night.

Along with the doors, Platt opened the basement kitchen in St. Augustine’s to Moveable Feast, a separate non-profit organization which provides hot meals to those suffering from AIDS.

AA meetings were also held in the chapel and St. Augustine’s always left a light on, so people who were down on their luck could have a place to spend the night.

When asked the purpose of the church Platt responds without having to think, “I believe the church should give as much as it can to as many people as possible, especially to those who are disadvantaged.”

Platt was not limited by convention and reached out into the community using one of his strongest assets, his sense of humor. He ran ads for St. Augustine’s Chapel saying things like, “If going to church makes you a Christian, does going to a garage make you a car” or “Free coffee. Everlasting life. Membership has its privileges.” The ads were a little irreverent, however they were always provocative—and the reactions provoked ranged from amused to bemused to hostility.

Mary C. Bolin-Reece, Ph.D. a member of St. Augustine said of Platt, “Beyond his many kindnesses to me and my loved ones, he has created a haven at St. Augustine’s for those who may have not felt at home in other places of worship. St. Augustine’s is a place where it’s OK—even encouraged—to question, and Chris is a major factor in that feeling of openness and inclusion.”

Christoper Platt opened the doors of St. Augustine’s wide, and with his sense of humor, charity and acceptance, he created a community out of a diverse and extended congregation.

Why the Risk?

Charity, to be fruitful, must cost us.
—Mother Teresa

In his 1998 profile Platt declared, “I love being a priest. I get to do so many things. Baptisms, weddings, visiting hospitals, doing funerals—all valuable in their own way,” acknowledging “I am steeped in sin and far gone from original righteousness. Yet by God’s grace and people’s forgiveness I am allowed to be an Episcopal priest.” The necessary question that follows is what on earth would make Platt risk an occupation so dear to his heart?

In his own words Platt explains what happened, “On the evening of March 20, 2003 I was questioned by the elected diocesan treasurer and the new administrator (both CPAs) regarding my record keeping and my inadequacies as an administrator. I wasn’t told I was under investigation. That night reports were submitted to [Bishop] Sauls. The elected treasurer concluded that I was guilty of either ‘incompetence or misappropriation.’ The diocesan administrator, the CPA who livelihood was gleaned from the diocese and subject to the bishop’s approval, submitted a report that I was guilty of ‘embezzlement.’ There is a vast difference between ‘incompetence or misappropriation’ and ‘embezzlement.’ ‘Embezzlement’ means that I not only stole from God but that I used the proceeds for selfish and personal reasons. The bishop insisted that my priesthood would be spared if I took responsibility for stealing a ‘large amount of money’ from the Church. If I had stolen, I would have confessed. If I were a thief, I would not have passed the voluntary lie detector test. If the process had been legitimate, the outcome would have been different. And, if frogs had wings....”

In the time honored tradition of Following the Money, Jonathan Goodan asked last spring, “If he is a thief, where is the money? St. Augustine’s (Chris’s parish) is one of the poorest in the Diocese. He owns a 1995 Ford Taurus, a few pieces of inherited furniture, some books, and a reasonable wardrobe that appears to have been obtained at Sears. This is the extent of his worldly possessions. He does not travel. In fact he hasn’t taken a vacation in many years.”

However a priest who can’t balance a checkbook is not nearly as interesting or newsworthy as one who steals, and especially one who runs irreverent ads, tells jokes, and has achieved a certain degree of notoriety in the community.

So the media feeding frenzy began. The Lexington Herald-Leader published, not 1, not 2, but 6 front page stories on Platt, presenting allegations and accusations as news. They even published a letter to the editor from the prosecution that condemned Platt before the trial had ended. Various other news and church sources also published numerous accounts—most of which wound their way round the web, internationally.

In Mysterious Ways

It is not in virtue of its liberty that the human will attains to grace, it is much rather by grace that it attains to liberty.
—St. Augustine

Platt’s guilt has been determined by the Diocese, and the cost was his priesthood—a cost to be absorbed by him, and those he ministered to.

He is broke.

His home was sold to satisfy debt to the Diocese, and left him with additional mortgage debt.

He now lives with a relative, and has no income, and no professional prospects.

Those who believe in the guilt adjudicated by the Diocese will continue to—and those who’ve steadfastly protested his innocence will likely go to their graves with that conviction as well.

With the end determined, Platt comments, “I was deposed on July 20th and am still adjusting to the finality of it all. I miss the priesthood more than I can express. What does the future hold for a 57 year old deposed Episcopal priest? It would be an overstatement to proclaim that my future is so luminous that I’m in dire need of sunglasses. Nevertheless, I am praying, reading, and writing. I have a room with a view.

“I regret that the nastiness spilled over into the life of our Christian community. Dissension, disagreement and even unalloyed hatred can exist in any human association, but they are more repulsive in the Church because they so blatantly contradict a stated purpose of Christianity. The Church has the unlimited purpose of making manifest the virtues of God’s love. The Church is intended to be a place of the healing power which accompanies love. When wounds are inflicted by the healing community, everyone loses.

“Since March 21, 2003 I had been unable to pray the portion of the Lord’s Prayer which reads ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.’ Just because I was unable to forgive, I did not intend to ask the Lord to withhold godly forgiveness from me. I have since resumed praying the Lord’s Prayer with the above petition included. Those who believe in the Lord know that this is a bold move.

“God’s gift of over two decades of priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington was a major blessing to me. I hope that it was a blessing to others.”

He acknowledges, “Disillusionment is a painful but beneficial process. An illusion deceives by providing an inaccurate picture of reality. Illusions are warped perceptions. I have been relieved of some major illusions regarding bishops, the clergy (with very few exceptions), and most of the hierarchy of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington. I was surprised at the extent of my illusions regarding loyalty and friendship. I had a lot fewer friends than I thought, but those I do have are stellar. I will not forget the lessons I have learned or the people who instructed me.

“May the Creator bless us and keep us. May the beloved companion be with us and have mercy upon us. May the eternal Spirit’s countenance be turned to us and give us peace. May the Holy Trinity bless us and keep us, now and evermore.”

Although the Diocese did not respond to a request for comment, the Diocesan account is excerpted from The Advocate on p. 10. n


September 2001 Christopher Platt reports he was asked by the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls to serve as “interim administrator” for the Diocese. He reflects that the job’s “substantial bookkeeping duties” gave him pause and that he shared these reservations with the Bishop, citing his lack of training and even less aptitude for this work.”

From October 1, 2002 until December 2, 2002 Platt served in this capacity, and as part-time chaplain to St. Augustine’s Chapel.

December 2, 2002 Platt turned over Diocesan accounting and bookkeeping functions to Maggie Hall, the new Diocesan Administrator.

December 2, 2002 Bishop Sauls appointed Platt his half-time Canon to the Ordinary (executive officer for the bishop, a position Platt had held under the previous Bishop Don Wimberly for 15 years). Platt says he was “delighted because this was a job I felt competent to handle. It consisted primarily of crisis intervention and resolution in parishes and organizations and as deployment officer, (the hiring of clergy by parishes).”

On Thursday March 20, 2003 Maggie Hall (administrator) and Tom Robbins (treasurer) requested a meeting with Platt at the Chapel. At this meeting, he says he was shown seven checks which had been written out of the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund from May 2002 through early December 2002. He says he was told there was little or no documentation for these checks and that they had been issued incorrectly. His elaboration on his response (which was alluded to vaguely in media reports) is as follows: “Since I had written, signed, or deposited more than 10,000 checks between October 1, 2001 and December 2, 2002 (and since I was being asked about the specifics almost four months later) I didn’t remember the circumstances, the writing or the details of these checks.” He adds, “my recollection of our conversation and their recollection differs a bit.”

Friday March 21, 2003 Platt says he delivered additional records to the Diocese at 9am at the request of the Bishop. He also delivered a letter to the Bishop, stating his willingness to assist in the investigation, and submit to discipline if deemed appropriate. The Bishop in turn asked for Platt’s resignation as Canon to the Ordinary and as Chaplain to St. Augustine effective in one month-April 21, 2003. Platt complied-writing his resignation, longhand, at the bottom of his letter. Platt reports the Bishop also mentioned an expectation of an “expedited repayment” of the Diocese’s $16,000 loan which assisted Platt with the 1987 down payment on his home. Platt returned home and packed a few necessities, and left his house to stay with a friend. He did not return. Friends packed his belongings that weekend, moving most of it to storage, and the house was put on the market.

On Sunday March 23, 2003 Platt said goodbye to the congregation at St. Augustine’s Chapel, informing them of the allegations, with the Bishop in attendance.

On March 28, 2003 Platt was served with a “Temporary Inhibition”(forbidding him to function as a priest). The attached supporting documents, from Tom Robbins and Maggie Hall, were submitted to Ace by Platt. In these documents Robbins wrote that eh didn’t know whether mistakes had been made due to “misappropriation of funds, or mere incompetence,” while Hall wrote that “…these items are evidence of embezzlement.”

On Tuesday April 1, 2003 Platt was informed at his doctor’s office that a letter marked “CONFIDENTIAL” had been mailed to the Clergy and Executive Council providing the Bishop’s explanation of the resignation. Leaving the office, he was approached by an older Episcopal woman who demanded to know if the rumor were true. Platt asked, “What rumor?” He says he found her reply devastating when she told him, “I heard that you resigned because you are a pedophile.”

April 12, 2003 Platt reviewed an early copy of “The Advocate,” the diocesan newspaper/house organ. The “CONFIDENTIAL” stamp had been removed and the April 1st letter had been was reprinted.

April 13-April 20 Holy Week.

April 14, 2003 Frank Lockwood of the Lexington Herald-Leader emailed Platt requesting comment on the letter published in “The Advocate.”Platt declined comment.

April 16, 2003 Lockwood’s story was prominently featured and included statements from the Bishop. The item was picked up by the Associated Press. It was aired on local public radio news segments and featured on channel 36. The story also appeared in the Courier-Journal and the Cincinnati Enquirer.

April 21, 2003 Resignation effective.

May 5, 2003 Platt voluntarily submitted to a polygraph test, which would be inadmissible in court, but which Platt sought out for peace. The polygraph report stated, “no deception indicated.”

May 11, 2003 “The Living Church” a nationally distributed Episcopal Church publication printed the story of “allegations.”

May 16, 2003 Platt drove to Ascension Church in Frankfort and received communion for the first time since March 23rd.

May 27, 2003 Platt’s house was sold, on the occasion of his 56th birthday. The sale left him in substantial debt from a second mortgage (though the obligations of the first mortgage and the diocesan loan will be satisfied from the proceeds from the sale).

June 2, 2003 At press, the Diocese said that “the attorney’s report is due to the Standing Committee any day.” Per Episcopal Court procedures, the matter was referred to the Standing committee of the Diocese, which asked the church attorney for a review. According to the Diocese’s statement, “once [the report] is received, the Standing Committee will decide whether to issue a presentment (the equivalent of an indictment).”

August 16, 2003 “Policies Relating to Discretionary Funds” were admitted to the Executive Council for the first time, five months after Platt had been fired for violating them (according to the Executive Council Report submitted to the 2004 Diocesan Convention, page 3).

April 19, 2004 the presentment (or indictment) was received by the Episcopal Court.

April 22, 2004 the Episcopal Court entered a Trial Order and Judgment which adjudged Platt guilty of the offenses of “Crime” and “Conduct Unbecoming a Member of the Clergy.” The matter of sentencing was deferred until June 10, 2004.

June 1, 2004 The Lexington Herald-Leader published the prosecuting attorney, Buck Hinkle’s letter to the editor. His words were printed under the title “Platt has only himself to blame for guilty verdict.” Hinkle wrote, “Chris Platt produced no evidence at trial proving authorization of the checks or the accounting for the use of the funds.” Platt’s response was that this is untrue, and also points out that he was in fact the defendant. (The burden of proof typically falls to the prosecution.) Platt states, “Hinkle produced no evidence at trial proving that checks were unauthorized or that funds were misused. Obviously the rules concerning proof and evidence—innocent until proved guilty-did not apply to my case. A guilty verdict had been handed down but I had not been sentenced. I found it bizarre that the prosecuting attorney felt it was proper to write a letter to the editor prior to the conclusion of the case.”

June 10, 2004 Lee Van Horn, Platt’s attorney, read a statement prepared by Platt prior to sentencing. At the end of the reading, Van Horn pointed out a statement made by Rev. Mann Valentine, (the presiding judge over the hearing) concerning Bishop Sauls. Written in the November 2003 edition of “The Advocate” Valentine stated, “Stacy is a good, caring Bishop. He is my personal friend as well as my pastor,” says Valentine.“ There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him, and I believe there is nothing he wouldn’t do for me.” Platt and Van Horn excused themselves after the reading. The Ecclesiastical Court (made up of members nominated yearly by the Bishop) found Platt guilty of embezzlement and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy, and unanimously recommended deposition.

July 20, 2004 Christopher Platt was deposed from his ministry in the Episcopal Church.

Present, Platt now resides in a “bucolic” setting nearby, living with a family member. n

Although the Diocese did not respod to requests for comment, the following is excerpted from an Advocate article, headlined

Platt Deposed, following unanimous recommendation of ecclesiastical court

By Kay Collier McLauglin

The Rev. Christopher B. Platt was sentenced to deposition from his ministry in the Episcopal Church on July 20. The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Lexington issued a Presentment against Platt in April of 2003 charging him with having committed a crime. Formal sentencing follows an Ecclesiastical Trial which unanimously found Platt guilty of embezzlement and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy, and on June 10, unanimously recommended Deposition. Formal sentencing, according to Canon Law, must be assigned by the Bishop of the Diocese following a 30 day appeals period. No appeal was made from the court’s verdict or sentence recommendation. Prior to ecclesiastical proceedings, Platt was given opportunity for and rejected voluntary submission to discipline, which would have enabled his restoration to active ministry after a five-year period during which the conditions of the discipline were met. The sentence of deposition means that Platt cannot exercise any order of ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, and vacates any ecclesiastical and related secular offices.

Court documents dated June 10 state that at the conclusion of the trial on April 22, 2004, the Prosecution and Respondent were directed to submit, “matters in mitigation to excuse or otherwise comment on the subject of an appropriate sentence in writing no late than June 1, 2004. The Petitioner has filed such a writing recommending that the Respondent’s sentence should be Deposition. The Respondent chose not to file any writing regarding the issue of sentencing.”

Both Petitioner and Respondent were provided an opportunity at the June 10 hearing to add further testimony and make arguments. Buckner Hinkle, attorney for the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Lexington, or Prosecution, declined. Lee Van Horn, attorney for the Respondent, read a statement prepared by Christopher Platt, after which Van Horn and Platt left the hearing. The Court was recessed for approximately 45 minutes for deliberation and voting on an appropriate sentence to be imposed.

According to Canon Law, the Bishop of a diocese is charged with the duty of imposing sentence, carefully considering the Court’s recommendation and his own prayerful deliberations.

Local television commentator Valeria Cummins, in an interview with Bishop Sauls following the June 10 proceeding, expressed an on-air interest in the prayer with which Rev. Mann Valentine, Presiding Judge, opened the hearing, and preceded the reading of recommendation. Bishop Sauls responded that every session of the ecclesiastical court had opened with prayer, adding that this was a very hard and sad time, a spiritually grounded time, in which people were doing their best to understand what happened, and seeking God’s guidance in how to best proceed with justice, mercy and compassion.

The option of Voluntary Submission to Discipline was kept open until the verdict of the trial panel was heard. The option included a five-year suspension, after which the Standing Committee, the elected body of the Diocese second in ecclesiastical authority to the Bishop, would meet with Platt to see if they were satisfied that he had accepted responsibility for his acts. Bishop Sauls stressed that it was important that the Standing Committee act rather than the Bishop, since it was evident that Platt had no confidence in the Bishop. Platt rejected the option for voluntary submission.

Bishop Sauls stated: “My decision came as a result of no small amount of thought and an equal amount of prayer. The trial court unanimously recommended deposition. I had hoped until the end that an opportunity to avoid this result would present itself, a creative solution of some kind.”

The Court’s recommendation of Deposition provided the Bishop maximum flexibility to use any of the sentences provided in the Canons-admonishment, suspension or deposition-should Platt accept responsibility for his actions. “As hard as this course of action is,” Bishop Sauls continued, “I see no way around this conclusion.”

“A bishop’s ministry, in part, is to provide for the ongoing ministry of sacraments through ordaining others to ministries of priest and deacon. It gives me great joy each and every time I have done so. Today gives me great sadness.”

At the conclusion of the June 10 hearing, Bishop Sauls said “There is no joy in this process. It is a sad, sad thing.” Following the formal sentencing, he reiterated that sadness, concluding, “My consolation is that I know facing the truth of what has happened is the only path that can lead to health, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace, which are the promises of the Gospel.”n

Excerpt from statement written by Christopher Platt and read by Lee Van Horn, esq. to the Court prior to sentencing:

“The little known English word “epicaracacy”—(epi {upon}, chara {joy}, kakon {evil})— means taking pleasure from another’s pain or suffering. A more familiar word with the same definition is the German schadenfreude. I met with the bishop on March 21, 2003. I thought we were going to have a conversation. I thought the bishop was going to permit me to present my side of the story. Church law calls for the “Presumption of the Non-Commission of an Offense.” The bishop spoke not a word before demanding my resignation. He sure seemed to be happy. Epicaracacy is jejune.

A priest may win a battle with a bishop, but a priest rarely wins a war. Bishops have a great deal of power. Our respect for the office of bishop and the authority of that office means that the bishop almost always wins. But I believe that, at times, participation in the battle is more important than the win-lose dichotomy.

The Church trial system has no subpoena power, no way of compelling anyone to be present. I went through the process of my own volition. I did so because I knew that there was no substance to the charges against me. I believed that The Ecclesiastical Trial Court would act in a balanced and just manner.

I attended the last day of the Ecclesiastical Trial Court’s bear-baiting and public humiliation finale because I was still a priest. Sunday, June 6th, 2004 was my twenty-second year anniversary of ordained ministry.
I participated in the Ecclesiastical Court process because I thought that I would be given the opportunity to tell the truth.

The bishop and the diocesan hierarchy were not interested in the inventory and photographs taken at Canterbury House and St. Augustine’s Chapel. The inventory and photographs were ignored because they proved that a significant portion of the charges were false. The testimony of my physician was forbidden because I would not turn over my entire lifetime medical records.

The exculpatory testimony of Senior Warden Scott Estes, the elected representative of the people of St. Augustine’s Chapel, was ignored. Other exonerating or relevant facts were not allowed into evidence.

The leadership of the diocese blatantly disregarded, ignored, or selectively interpreted the rules established by the National Church.

A flaw in the “Ecclesiastical Discipline” rules is that the Canons assume a reasonable, just and ethical bishop and diocesan hierarchy.

[The Bishop] decided to take his letter of March 21, 2003 which assumed I was guilty and mailed it to the clergy and the Executive Council. The letter from Sauls was marked “CONFIDENTIAL.”

Almost before the ink had dried, the CONFIDENTIAL stamp [was] removed and the entire letter [was] printed in the April edition of The Advocate, the house organ for the diocese.

It was picked up by local, state and regional media (newspapers, radio and television).

Early in June 2003 a half page story in The Living Church (the national Episcopal weekly) regarding the “allegations” against me appeared.

My life was changed forever. This article sounded a death knell for my ordained ministry.

Since June of 2003, I had been told by friends, lawyers, and supporters that a decision had already been made. They advised me to walk away from this rigged fight.

My respect for the Episcopal Church and the Office of Bishop has been shaken but not destroyed.

While no one has asked, I am fully ready to forgive. My tribulations are not all that significant in the vastness of God’s kingdom. I ask the forgiveness of anyone I have truly wronged.

Punishment continues to be inflicted upon bystanders [however]. The continuing “collateral damage” inflicted upon friends, family and acquaintances who have supported me or the ministry and laity at St. Augustine’s Chapel is not acceptable.

The “collateral damage” inflicted upon people of other congregations is no less unacceptable.

I am sad. I am not bitter.

Well, just a little bitter — it is more truthful to say that I am working on my anger and bitterness.

I fall into the category which may be referred to as “anger management recidivism.” I do not regret my decision to stand up and speak out for the truth.

A David does not always knock a Goliath down, but it is important that the Goliath’s be challenged and bruised on behalf of all the David’s in the world. I appreciate those who continue to stand with me. My prayers are with everyone involved in the travesty. I ask that your prayers continue.

To the extent that it is possible, my participation in the Church process is nearing an end.”
Christopher Platt, June 2004.

PostScript - September 2004

Mr. Van Horn added an interesting statement. He questioned the impartiality of the Court. Van Horn quoted a published statement made by the Presiding Judge who stated that he was “willing to do anything” for the bishop.

Jesus taught a parable about weeds amongst the wheat. Our Lord strictly warned us against the presumption of human ability to sort out one from the other. He said that our efforts would be premature and both weed and wheat would be damaged.

He taught the Truth.n