MEDFORD, Ore. – The founder and director of Rogue Retreat, a local nonprofit created with the goal of addressing homelessness, is no longer with the organization following controversy regarding the LGBTQ+ community.
In mid-June, Rogue Retreat put its executive director, Pastor Chad McComas, on paid administrative leave.
As NBC5 News reported in June, McComas‘ church, Set Free Ministries, previously operated a program called “Celebrate Recovery” that does “gay conversion therapy.”
Gay conversion therapy is an attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
The City of Medford responded by pausing funding for the Medford church for its work in the community.
Rogue Retreat said it just concluded a third-party investigation conducted by an attorney and workplace investigator into the claims of potential discrimination. The results of that report indicated there was “no evidence of discrimination or harassment toward LGBTQIA+ persons (or any other persons) by Rogue Retreat staff, participants, or by Chad McComas.”
On Wednesday, August 17, Rogue Retreat announced Chad McComas departed the organization. In addition, over two dozen employees were reportedly let go due to budget constraints.
Rogue Retreat issued the following press release:
“Rogue Retreat has been celebrated statewide for its breakthrough programs, assisting those who are struggling with homelessness. Founder and Executive Director Chad McComas has been a source of light and hope for so many.
“While celebrating our past and its leadership, any organization of Rogue Retreat’s size and impact must constantly evolve and move forward to maintain relevancy and solvency. For us, this means engaging in a thoughtful study and a realignment of services to maintain our core vision of delivering much-needed community services to our clients while remaining financially stable now and in the future.
“Rogue Retreat has also just concluded a third-party investigation (conducted by a private Attorney and Workplace Investigator) into claims of potential discrimination that came out in June of 2022. The findings of the report show that there is no evidence of discrimination or harassment toward LGBTQIA+ persons (or any other persons) by Rogue Retreat staff, participants, or by Chad McComas.
“Rogue Retreat is currently conducting assessment and process evaluations so that we can deliver much-needed programs. To best serve our vulnerable residents, our services must be delivered in a fashion that assures our financial stability both today and into the future. As part of this top-to-bottom review, we have concluded that our current budget will not sustain the current size of our workforce. We have reduced our workforce to align with our payroll budget. Sadly, twenty-five of our dedicated colleagues were let go last week.
“These decisions did not come without thoughtful consideration by the Board of Directors. Our first priority is and must be, to continue providing services to our residents. We wish all who departed the very best, and we thank them for their dedication to the residents we serve.
“The Board of Directors today also announced the departure of Founder and Executive Director Chad McComas. Board Chair Tom Fischer today remarked, ”Chad and Rogue Retreat have been a beacon of hope to so many, and we thank him for his tireless dedication.” Fischer continued by saying, “Over the past 24 years Chad has been a driving force in developing creative housing, shelter, and case management to improve the lives of those who experience homelessness in our community. Chad is an inspiring leader who has not only left a lasting impact on the community but across the region. We thank him for all of his dedication.”
“Rogue Retreat will move forward, in partnership with our community supporters, to guarantee that the homeless community in the region continues to receive the services it needs and deserves. We have made no decision as yet on the future leadership of the agency.”
Rogue Retreat representatives also released the following statement regarding protests and demonstrations:
“Rogue Retreat celebrates diversity and the fundamental right to free speech. We respect all opinions, including those who participate march [sic]. Chad has left us a tremendous legacy of caring for others in this community, which we intend to build upon. We thank Chad for his many years of dedication to Rogue Retreat. Going forward we will build upon this legacy, reshaping Rogue Retreat to continue to care for others, and also be financially stable.”