https://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2021/04/29/menlo-church-says-worship-leader-fired-over-allegations-he-asked-a-teen-for-nude-photos


Town Square

Menlo Church says worship leader fired over allegations he asked a teen for nude photos

Original post made on Apr 29, 2021

Menlo Church fired a worship leader after allegations emerged that he had solicited nude photos online from a teen boy several years before his time at Menlo, according to statements from church leaders.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 29, 2021, 9:00 AM

Comments

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2021 at 9:09 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

Sadly, this is a troubled church. "Past solicitations with a teen" is more than "poor judgment." It's against the law. Minimizing the situation isn't helpful. Most churches are healthy, and finding a healthy church for your spiritual well being is wise.


Posted by Jessica Taylor
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 29, 2021 at 10:10 am

Jessica Taylor is a registered user.

Is this the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church on Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park?

If so, this particular church has been a fixture in Menlo Park for decades with a huge congregation, multiple weddings on weekends, sponsorship of a men's recreational softball team, and an active adult singles group among other social activities.

As far as the alleged improprieties are concerned, the ostensible inclinations and ulterior motives of a trusted church official is most troubling regardless of any religious affiliation.



Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 29, 2021 at 11:29 am

Green Gables is a registered user.

Menlo Church used to be called Menlo Park Presbyterian church, however, ever since Walt Gerber retired several years ago, it was was never the same. It use to be so great.


Posted by Hal M
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 29, 2021 at 11:37 am

Hal M is a registered user.

It's a minor point, but I believe that the Menlo Church is no longer affiliated with the United Presbyterian Church in the USA and may no longer have "Presbyterian" as part of its name. I continue to have many friends in the church, and I wish them well as they deal with this situation.


Posted by Just Sayin'
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2021 at 1:52 pm

Just Sayin' is a registered user.

I attended the (former) MPPC quite regularly, and have been sad to see it change, too.
The final straw was the judgmental actions re John Ortberg. Since when do followers of Jesus Christ not forgive trespasses? I hope the church elders, in the cases of Ortberg, his son,
and Bryce, have taken the Christian path of forgiveness and also gone the extra step to make sure to reach out with remediation and care for these hurting souls; regardless of their (now) former affiliation with Menlo Church. Chances are high that Jesus will be much more lenient with your transgressions; unlikely that he'll cast you out.


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2021 at 3:52 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Unfortunately, the woes that have befallen Menlo Church over the past decade or so have been very public. This has meant that the public are judging the church without any compassion or understanding. The church should be a vehicle for forgiveness, sanctuary and repentence. Instead, it is seen as washing dirty laundry in public. Those who know nothing should remain quiet on the subject rather than conjecture.

He who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2021 at 4:40 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Sadly, pedophiles groom churches, and Christians (with the exception of the naive) are well aware of this. Churches are hospitals for sinners, not museums for Saints. Forgiveness is one of the teachings of Christianity, but you don't sweep pedophiles under the rug. Anyone who has ever dealt with it in their church will understand it's very trying. There are a lot of children in church, and they need to be protected. Those who have never dealt with this, or aren't in church on Sunday... anything further said would be inappropriate and against my better judgment.


Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 29, 2021 at 7:48 pm

Neighbor is a registered user.

Of course church members can (and should) forgive. They also have a responsibility to hold those in leadership accountable; one doesn't preclude the other. Speaking to the most recent situation, it's hard to imagine any parent allowing contact between their child and someone who has solicited nude photos, or being comfortable in a church that has that person on their staff, so I agree with the decision made. I also feel for this minister, who has lost his livelihood and his ministry and has likely struggled for years with his own sense of right and wrong and how to manage things.


Posted by Lucy Wong
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2021 at 7:53 am

Lucy Wong is a registered user.

• John Ortberg, had permitted his son to continue to work with youth for more than a year after learning that he was sexually attracted to children.

^ This was very poor judgement on the pastor's part if he was well aware of his son's inclinations.

• The church should be a vehicle for forgiveness, sanctuary and repentence.

^ Seeking forgiveness and repentance is the responsibility of the transgressor and the church should not provide sanctuary for those who willfully harm others, especially children.

• Forgiveness is one of the teachings of Christianity, but you don't sweep pedophiles under the rug.

^ Concurring as this indescretion amounts to a blatant breach of trust and child endangerment.


Posted by No charges?
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2021 at 4:33 pm

No charges? is a registered user.

Something about this story isn't making sense. If he admitted to soliciting the nude photos - and if he really only did it once - then he should remember when he did it and there should be no question about the age of the teenager and the jurisdiction of where it occurred. A range of 16-18 years old is a long time. Is he claiming he remembers doing it but doesn't remember where he lived or when?

If there are questions over jurisdiction that likely indicates the time range covered his time in two states / two churches. Are those churches also informing their members in case there are more victims/witnesses who have info for law enforcement?


Posted by Game Over
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2021 at 5:43 pm

Game Over is a registered user.

The growing acceptance of just about anything these days may eventually lead to the end of America as envisioned by our forefathers.

We are now a country without a moral or ethical compass.


Posted by Keyshaun Johnson
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 1, 2021 at 9:57 am

Keyshaun Johnson is a registered user.

* We are now a country without a moral or ethical compass.

^ That is because many of our so-called religious and political leaders today are sanctimonious.


Posted by malvina hopkins
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 1, 2021 at 12:14 pm

malvina hopkins is a registered user.

Religious leaders and schoolteachers will always be held to a higher authority and rightfully so.

And if one cannot adhere to the expected guidelines, find another profession.