The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, San Francisco’s William Swing, is holding a town hall meeting tonight at St. John’s in Clayton. One parishioner tells us, “It’s going to be a massacre.” No one is happy with Swing’s handling of the John Bennison matter. On the one side, parishioners are upset that Swing removed Bennison from St. John’s, even though we revealed the priest’s history of sexual misconduct from the 1970’s. They believe Bennison should have remained pastor at St. John’s, because there have been no recent complaints. On the other side, some parishioners are upset that Swing allowed Bennison to continue working at St. John’s, even after the bishop saw a full accounting of the sexual misconduct during a church investigation in 1993.
Bishop Swing has been less than forthcoming with us during our reporting. He’s refused several requests for an interview, and today, he’s refusing to allow us into the town hall meeting. Through his spokesman, Swing says this is a private event to help the congregation heal. After receiving that answer, we asked – one more time – for an interview with the bishop. We’ll tell you his response, when it comes.
If you believe Bishop Swing should answer our questions, or if you’d just like to weigh in on the issue, here’s his e-mail address: email@example.com