Thinking of checking out Grace Episcopal Alexandria? If so, you need to know about Jan Spence. Jan is a bully who likes to yell at people in an effort to intimidate them, to make snide comments, and to otherwise act like an asshole, to use former rector Bob Malm’s exact word. And Jan’s behavior is considered acceptable at Grace Episcopal Alexandria, so consider yourself warned. (Yes, Grace is friendly and welcoming, at least on its face. But behind the scenes it is toxic and ugly.)
Jan has been a member of Grace for many years, and some members believe she is mentally ill. She sings in the choir, and at one point served as junior warden. Apropos the latter, Jan allegedly was ineffective, spending almost all of her time talking about the dishwasher that was installed in the kitchen on the third floor of the church.
During my time at Grace, Jan was one of the group of overweight, childish women, including Lisa Medley and Alison Campbell, who decided they wanted to get involved in my dispute with Kelly Gable. The dispute arose after Kelly used her job at RPJ Housing, which I got for her in an effort to alleviate an extended period of unemployment on her part, to access my personal Facebook account and take it over. In doing so, she added her email to my Facebook account, changed the password, and removed my email address. It took threatened legal action to get Kelly to return my account to me, and she never had the integrity to admit to her actions.
Jan’s role in things was to yell at me in front of others, to ask me if I dye my hair, and other childish antics straight out of junior high school.
Nor does Jan show much integrity. At one point, a fellow parishioner hired her as a restaurant manager in an effort to help her. But instead of treating details of the business as confidential, she discussed financial results of the business with me and other parishioners. Nor was the gig successful, and Jan appears to have been edged out.
A similar approach pertained when I tried to help Jan further her career by asking her to serve on the board of RPJ Housing. Not only did she prove to be a gossip, but her yelling, her untruthful statements, and other conduct during board meetings was damaging to the organization.
Nor does Jan display much integrity towards youth in the parish, despite having volunteered with them. In one instance, I personally heard her gossiping about a teen in the parish, saying that it was only a matter of time before that person comes out. For the record, LGBTQIA or not, that person doesn’t need adults in positions of trust speculating about her or his sexuality. That person is someone I consider a friend, and it begins and ends there. The issue is none of my business, and Jan displays a remarkable lack of integrity in gossiping about the matter.
Not surprisingly, Jan’s career has been a hot mess. Formerly, she was the owner of Pearl’s Design, which she claims she founded in March 2008. For the record, I do not believe that date to be accurate, and the business has been far from successful; in addition to Jan’s gig with the Hard Times Cafe, which she conveniently omits from her online resume, she did an abortive, 10-month gig at Divano Designs, in Maryland. Jan is also employed by Bray and Scarff, where she garners reviews of the sort you might expect:
Jan is not the most offensive of the various bullies at Grace Church, because candidly speaking, she’s too stupid and ineffectual to do much harm, in part due to the apparent depths of her personal challenges. But as part of the little clique of fat women at the church who play the junior high mean girls games, she deserves recognition of her role in bringing about the ongoing collapse of the church.
This site is neither a publication of Grace Episcopal, Jan Spence, Pearl’s Design Solutions, or the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, nor is it endorsed by any of these parties.