July 11, 2020

Elder Board statement (Jul 11)

DEAR MENLO FAMILY,

After carefully listening to our community these last several days about the investigation into a former church volunteer, we want to first acknowledge the Board’s ownership in what we have done to contribute to the pain and distrust many of you are feeling right now. Fundamentally, we did not provide the transparency that our community deserves and as a result have eroded the trust some of you place in our leadership. We are writing you today to show how we’re moving forward as a community.

While many of you know that the Board took immediate action (see previous updates) upon learning of these concerns, we understand our initial investigation could have gone further and included specific expertise in child safety and sex abuse issues, and it could have been informed by conversations with a wider group of people. Based on the feedback we’ve received, we are initiating a supplemental independent investigation into concerns raised about the volunteer.

The Board will also form a new committee, comprised of representatives from elders, staff, parents and volunteers, to provide transparent oversight of the new investigation and ensure all impacted perspectives are represented.

We also have directed staff to conduct a full audit of policies, practices and training related to child and youth safety, to be led by an independent outside organization with expertise in this area and are committed to conducting regular audits on an ongoing basis. Our staff and volunteers run incredible ministries for children and youth. Our community deserves to have full confidence in their work and that the systems safeguarding our children and volunteers are best-in-class.

We sincerely appreciate your patience as we finalize further actions in the coming days. As a reminder, we encourage you to report any instances of inappropriate conduct or behavior in our community.

We know what Menlo Church means to you, and each one of us on the Board shares a deep sense of mission and partnership with our community. We commit to be in better communication with you, our church family. We covet your prayers as we seek to discern the Lord’s guidance for how best to serve our community.

In prayer,
Menlo Church Elders