Friday, May 17, 2013

Sandwich priest suspended for plagiarism

From Massachusetts-

One of the Ten Commandments is "thou shall not steal," but an Episcopal priest has been suspended for allegedly lifting more than a dozen Sunday sermons verbatim from a book.

The Rev. John E. McGinn, 65, who has led the 300-plus families at St. John's Episcopal Church since 1993, was placed on administrative leave amid allegations that he plagiarized sermons dating back to 2006, said the Rev. Mally Lloyd, canon to the ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, a position equivalent to the bishop's chief of staff.

As many as 15 sermons have been identified as direct copies, Lloyd said.

They were allegedly taken from a book called "Dynamic Preaching," which can be accessed only with an online subscription.

The bishop's office pointed out a Dec. 11, 2011, sermon as an example. The sermon is still on the church's website.

"I keep saying that one of these days I'm going to sit down and write a book because some of the things that have happened in my ministry need to be written down so that people can read them," the opening line of McGinn's sermon states. "They probably will think they are fiction but in reality they really happened."

The sermon goes on to tell a detailed story of officiating at the funeral of a man who died suddenly and had "Jingle Bells" sung at his funeral instead of "Glory Bells." An Internet search shows the same story, with slightly different wording, has been told at other churches.

Members of the tiny, wood-shingled 1899 church with vibrant red doors in the heart of Sandwich's historic village were notified of McGinn's alleged plagiarism through a May 9 letter from Bishop M. Thomas Shaw of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. The letter announced that the rector had been removed from the pulpit.

More here-

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