Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What happened?

Some readers have mentioned that the two letters authored by John D. Ely, President of the Holy Ghost Board of Trustees, have been removed from my blog.

I removed them after being contacted by Mr. Ely, who threatened legal action if I did not do so.


Anonymous said...

If the letters contained the truth why would Ely do such a thing?

Anonymous said...

Since a member of the church provided you this piece of the bullitin which updated the parish on status of a property you, the community and many who no longer attend church care deeply about, how can it be illegal to post?

Once a letter is written by a person in charge such as AIG, HGC, or USA it is public and property of all who received. If member(s) felt that the many who do not go regularly had a right to know, what better way then your blog since everyone reads it daily?

Freedom of speech seems to be a hot topic amongst the HGB as they either threaten a lawsuit, excommunicate elders, women and children or your right to burial if they disagree or challenge their version of facts.

This notice had "What Happened" and "Consequences" as well as many contraditions to the court decision and SNB rulings - The community, neighbors and members of the church deserve to know the truth.

If this letter spoke the truth, why not print it publicly?

CNN or Dateline should get ahold of this as the entire story should be told! Surely Ely can't bully Lou Dobbs.

Karen said...

*What a shame to have to remove them. It shows the true colors of these people and also that they are interested enough to read them. I hope that they know that what you say is the truth.

*Received anonymously and edited.

Anonymous said...

What is the legal violation. Is it somehow illegal to share the contents of the letters. Did the fascimiles you posted contain a disclaimer which stated that sharing the contents of the letters was a violation? Since there was no mention that publication of the contents of the letters was considered a violation of some law, you are in the clear. Any opinions to the contrary? This town seems to be full of people ignorant of the law and full of bluster and threats. What a strange group of people to be constantly bullying and threatening members of the congregation. Makes you kind of understand why Stalinism survived so long among the eastern europeans. Such a pity - especially with so many decent, elderly or aging people in this organization. Might as well be a bunch of hard-working inner-city solid citizens living on a block being run by younger gangstas.

Anonymous said...


Of all people, I am in shock, that you would allow yourself to be bullied by Holy Ghost.

The more we accept, the more we allow

The more we allow, the more we MUST ACCEPT.

Chris DeVol
East Vincent Township

Anonymous said...

"One Small Voice In Phoenixville" didn't delete it from their blog. You need to stop being so paranoid about getting sued by these people. One little threat and you fold. What is the point of one having a blog if they run from conflict?

Anonymous said...

I would say that Karen should in no way be chastised for removing the images of those letters. She posted what she did and why she did it, shedding light on the continued disgusting behavior of those who do not want their nasty, small-minded terrorizing of small group of Christians. She deserves high praise for publishing her opinions, news items not easily found elsewhere and for providing a community forum.
I think there are many who support and appreciate the work Karen does (and grief she takes on) and who pray for the families of those who sacrificed to bring a higher sense of purpose to this particular community.

Anonymous said...

Who is John Ely? I attended this church for over 50 years and have no idea who this person is that is the President now?

Is he a new member?

How did he become an authority on my parents intent for SNB?

What give him the right to threaten anyone on behalf of our Holy Orthodox Church?

Anonymous said...

For the past month I have researched this story at length.

The letter by Mr Ely does not accurately describe the status as outlined by the Chester County Court records. This is very concerning.

Perhaps, the reason the letter to the parish was recinded from your website is because Mr Ely was given false information and didn't want to admit to this fact and instead strong-armed you to take it off a public forum. Someone worded this letter and put him in this position as he is too new to church to have done this on his own.

People are stewards to their church giving in money, time, talent and for the good of God and his Holy Temple. Man, make mistakes with spending bequeaths and offerings to a parish. Selling what was given for God and his Holy Temple, for any reason is a man made mistake. Trying to educate the voters of this group is critical as the priest's at times are not always giving advise that is in the best interest of a group in this case HGB, or this parcel of land God blessed for this brotherhood, church and future youth of the Orthodox Faith.

God Bless you Karen for trying to fix what is quite broken amongst church and state.

Anonymous said...

Mr Devol.
Maybe you can afford to defend yourself if sued but the average person in today's economy can not and this group will sue, hurt, scratch and claw until they sell this land!

Be understanding not critical as they threatened to sue this poor woman for honoring her families intent for this Holy Ground to be for church and not HUD in town.

Anonymous said...


XII. Public Participation
• Helen Langer of 105 Walker Road in Royersford said she is a member of Holy Ghost She said she is very much aware of the value and key importance that senior housing plays in the community. She said she has paid many visits over there to residents in the past. She said she doesn’t know why they keep referring to themselves as
riff raff. She said during last months meeting with Father Evans, he sat here very gallantly
and said he would withdraw his request for the letter. She said she is a little confused
because part of that withdraw process is the fact that he was dividing things and didn’t want
to have the tension. She said families are quite divided and it is a very difficult situation
there. She said she doesn’t know what happened in 30 days, is it the deadline that we were
told required the church to hold a parish meeting with only two weeks notice to the people
which didn’t include three Sundays that the church was required to announce the meeting.
She said there were people that were not able to rearrange their job schedule and weren’t
able to go. She said the elderly weren’t able to arrange transportation to get to the meeting.
She said as she looked around the room tonight there was only one person in support of Jim
Evans plan that was actually related to some of the early founders of the church. She said in
fact, most of the people who spoke tonight with the exception of John Bilanin are from St.
Peters Place. She said she didn’t hear anyone but John Bilanin get up from our church and
really address the concerns. She said at the end of the response, she heard Jim Evans
withdraw his request 30 days ago for the letter of approval but unless she missed something,
she doesn’t remember him asking for that approval tonight. She said she heard John Bilanin
make his presentation but never heard Jim Evans request a letter from you so as far as she is
concerned he never revoked what he rescinded last month. She said John Bilanin also
talked about the rights of people and voting and tried to give a little bit of history. She said
we can speak our mind and speak our peace and we are also allowed to vote. She said the
parishioners had a vote and we used it. She said two of the women that spoke to you 30
days ago are now facing disciplinary action because they exercised that right of speech. She
said these individuals expressed their concern and now they will be voted off the board if
John has his way and presents this to the board Friday evening. She said we’ll continue as a
group to follow closely as the project goes through the Planning Commission but realize the
approval is a formality. She said there is value to the property we have from a historical
perspective and also because there are very few open spaces left. She said we hope that
there is room for negotiation. She said many of us wonder why? She said there are 23 acres
back there and a huge ball field that the YMCA uses and some of the parochial churches.
She said the land will be gone. She said we are wondering why the beauty and the
peacefulness of the area is going to be damaged with this. She said you need to ask
yourselves if Jim Evans discussed that letter tonight or did John Bilanin?
• Joan Detwiler of 428 Falcon Road in Audubon said she is a lifelong member of Holy Ghost
Church. She said she spoke at last months meeting regarding Mr. Evans proposed HUD
building. She said she waited to allow the occupants of St. Peter’s Place to have their say,
not thinking that a member of Council would initiate a motion to support this letter before
the rest of us would have the opportunity to speak. She said she too is a senior citizen and is
not opposed to senior housing. She said she is concerned about construction on this beautiful
piece of property and the aesthetics of a four story building on the corner of Bridge and Starr Street. She said her concerns are still the same. She said the topography of this piece of land as you all know sits on a good slope and the amount of ground that will need to be
removed to provide the necessary macadam parking lot as shown on lot plan provided to us
at the congregational meeting will provide a tremendous amount of runoff further adding to
your already overloaded storm water system. She said thank you.
Ms. Teresa Katanjick Ott said she was born and raised in Phoenixville, graduated from Phoenixville High School, and has worked at Phoenixville Hospital for many years. She said she has deep roots in the community as well as in Holy Ghost Church which her family has been a member of for five generations. She said she wants what is best for the property and is not opposed to senior housing. She said we feel very strongly that this is not the right place for it and feel it is critical to honor the wishes of our founders and our promise to the Reeves family. She said we were involved in a 99 year lease at the time and morally we have a commitment to honor that. She said the petition that was given to you is private and confidential because many people have been intimidated. She said Starr Street is like the Vine Street expressway between 4 and 6 p.m. at night. She said there will be tremendous traffic coming in and out of that new driveway and delivery trucks. She said she would recommend that you require the developer have a complete traffic study done to prove that there is not a diverse effect. She said there is a major drainage problem. She said she feels the application should be withdrawn because they have not gotten all the approvals. She said she recommends that he do a full environmental impact assessment report.

Mr. Joseph Forros said he is the last original founder of the church. He said he is not opposed to public housing on church property. He said he is opposed to the location at Starr and Bridge Streets. He said there is a southern section that would be ideal. He said he would ask Borough Council to not change the zoning. He said he would like to see something done with the corner property..
Mr. Joe Marx said he goes to the church and heard a statement the other day that change is not always progress and motion is not always forward. He said those words are extremely important. He said you need to visualize the entire project. He said he is not opposed to expansion but is opposed to that expansion plus the money involved for the property. He said if the church is looking for the money involved he thinks you can do much better. He said this is going to add to the police and fire because senior citizens need more care. He said Bridge Street is more commercial. He said you need to look at the project as a whole and not look at just money. He said when the building goes up and everything is done you can’t take it back. He said this needs more consideration.
NOV COUNCIL MINUTES Mr. Barry Chendorain of 99 ½ Starr Street said he didn’t know the meeting was
changed to tonight until today. He said over the course of this property with the Holy
Ghost Church and everything on Starr Street and all the time you’ve taken with this, he has
had people come up to him and shake his hand to tell him to keep fighting. He said the
people he has met in this town from one ward to the next ward are against this. He said it
seems to him like this is just destroying our ward. He said we finally got good news today,
Jim Evans and Father John lost, it is not their property. He said he would be more than
glad to say I told you so and that it was nothing but a waste of time. He said tell Mr. Evans
to build his property where there is no traffic. He said there is enough property in this
town and some of it shouldn’t be taken. He said thank you for your time.
e. Mr. Bill Martin of Buchanan Street said he is not a member of that church or have
anything to do with it but he will second what that gentleman just said. He said he is
happy to see this outcome and there are a lot of people that are very happy to see the
character of Phoenixville preserved. He said he is sorry that our government was not