MOUNTAIN VIEW — The worship director of the Mountain View branch of the Menlo Church has been fired after “inappropriate behavior online” years ago was brought to light, church leadership said.
In a letter to congregants Saturday, Transitional Pastor John Crosby and Elder Board Chair David Kim said they were contacted earlier this week by someone who claimed that worship director Michael Bryce Jr. “engaged in inappropriate behavior online” several years ago before he joined the church’s staff.
In the statement, Crosby and Kim said the church was contacted earlier in the week with the claim about Bryce. He was immediately placed on leave, the pair said, and the church contacted police. He was terminated Friday for “demonstrated poor judgment,” the officials wrote.
The church was contacted by Menlo Park police on March 16 at about 7:10 p.m. and “a juvenile information report was taken for documentation,” according to a police log. Police did not release any other information or comment on the allegations Sunday.
Executive Pastor of Ministries Sue Kim-Ahn said in an emailed statement that “there is an active law enforcement investigation in progress, and we cannot disclose further information at this time.”
The church did not give any details of the allegations, but said they have contacted Zero Abuse, a non-profit aimed at preventing, recognizing and responding to child sexual abuse. The organization will act as an outside party to take in any additional reports about Bryce.
Church officials said they did not believe anyone else had been involved at Menlo Church, but have asked anyone with information to reach out.
“We recognize that this news is heavy to receive,” the church said in the statement. “It may evoke difficult memories or emotions for many of us. This is a hard reminder that our churches, by the grace of God, are gatherings of ordinary, imperfect people. We hope that you will reach out to your church family as you need.”
The news of Bryce’s termination came after the church said pastor John Ortberg — the prolific Christian author and longtime leader of the 4,000-member church — did not disclose a conversation he had with a church volunteer who reported having “obsessive sexual feelings” about minors for years.
Ortberg instead allowed the person to continue working in the community for months, church leaders said. Ortberg resigned in July 2020.
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Source: Mercury News