SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Mountainbrook Church, located in San Luis Obispo, decided it was best for Lead Pastor Thom O'Leary and his wife Executive Pastor Sherri O'Leary to resign from their positions at the church. Their resignations were effective January 31.
These resignations come following allegations that Thom O'Leary engaged in "inappropriate conduct" toward women.
When the allegations arose, Mountainbrook Church began an outside investigation into the claims during which time Thom and Sherri were placed on leave. The church said they found the claims to be credible.
The Mountainbrook Board of Directors released the following statement on Sunday regarding their decision:
|Dear Mountainbrook Church Family
We know this has been a difficult and emotional time for all of you regarding our present situation with Lead Pastor, Thom O’Leary, and Executive Pastor, Sherri O’Leary, being on a leave of absence over the past three months. We have come to a resolution for Thom and Sherri’s future at Mountainbrook Church. They have both resigned from their respective positions at Mountainbrook effective January 31st.
The Board has accepted their resignations.
In their joint letter of resignation, Thom and Sherri say the following: [See their statement below]
As most of you already know, this started when there were concerns raised that Thom had engaged in inappropriate conduct toward certain women. We hired an independent investigator who found those concerns to be valid. During that process, concerns surfaced about use of Church funds. Those concerns have now been resolved.
Through all of this, and after spending many, many hours working together on a path forward, the Board and the O’Learys agreed that it would be best for all concerned – and the future and unity of the Church – for them to resign.
We know that change can oftentimes be difficult; but we know that God has a plan for us as we move forward into this new season. We love Thom and Sherri and are grateful for how God has used them in our lives over the years. Even though they have found themselves in a place where they need significant time to find healing, this does not negate the many years of good things that they facilitated through their roles at Mountainbrook. God has accomplished tremendous things through their leadership at Mountainbrook. Thom has personally led many of us to Christ. This situation changes none of that.
We as a Board, hope and pray for Thom and Sherri’s health and well-being. Vineyard USA has offered to explore ways they might be able to help them in their recovery and healing. We are grateful to the Vineyard team for their support for the O’Leary’s as well as our Church family.
At Mountainbrook, we have a great community of committed members, amazing volunteers and staff who serve selflessly. Our interim executive leadership team will be working alongside the board, the staff, and the congregation to lead the church as we move ahead.
Join us in supporting and praying for Thom and Sherri as they navigate this unexpected journey. And as they encouraged you to do in their letter we just read, please continue to support Mountainbrook through your prayers, through your serving, and your giving, so that we can work together to continue to share the love and power of Jesus.
Let this be an opportunity to make our church healthier and to draw closer to Jesus.
We know that God has a purpose in this and a future for His church.
To God be the glory,
Mountainbrook said they are unable to answer any further questions at this time.
According to the SLO Tribune, Mountainbrook Church is one of the largest churches in San Luis Obispo. Thom O'Leary was the Lead Pastor for over 22 years.