Interfaith 'Letter of Support' for women in the United Methodist Church, following the 'Just Resolution' of Rev. Bud Heckman
Please note: Your signature will be recognized in a personal capacity and commitment to the letter unless you otherwise specify an official representation with your faith community or organization.

During World Interfaith Harmony Week, we invite members of the interfaith movement to express condemnation against the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church in denying justice to the 18 women who have come forward with allegations of abuse and sexual harassment by Rev. Bud Heckman.

Those unfamiliar with this case of clergy misconduct and the resolution reached by the UMC can read these articles (though you can also do an internet search to find others):

https://www.umnews.org/en/news/clergyman-accused-of-sexual-misconduct-abuse

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/27/us/methodist-sexual-harassment-me-too.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/12/26/rev-bud-heckman-interfaith-leader-reaches-settlement-united-methodist-church-sexual-harassment-case/

https://religionnews.com/2020/01/03/united-methodist-metoo-complaint-ends-in-resolution-between-clergyman-denomination/

In response to this, a group of Young United Methodist Clergywomen (under 40) wrote this open letter: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSclILmVmPTt7IOBgfs7IhNd_vR2wTAOGjzTy-nlTpfb-JyR1g/viewform?fbclid=IwAR2Q7cICOdlpCBAy6JRrdnwW6u2thvOlHjM8940pelOAYP2u8F6NedX_VXA

A group of interfaith activists has issued a letter of support for these women that calls on the UMC to deliver the due process that the survivors of this misconduct merit. Members representing any religious, spiritual, interfaith, and intentionally secular community are welcome to sign this letter.

Your name will go at the end of the letter (updated every day until the end of February):

--

An Open Letter to the Cabinet, the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Clergy Session of the West Ohio Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church:

We write this letter in support of the women who filed charges with the United Methodist Church against Rev. Bud Heckman through the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. The women have not received justice from the ‘Just Resolution’ reached by the Bishop of the Conference, Bishop Palmer, his staff, and Mr. Heckman. By writing this letter, we also extend our solidarity and support to the United Methodist Clergywomen who wrote a letter of concern that requested the West Ohio Conference to re-open the case against Mr. Heckman and to empower the voices of the survivors.

This letter comes from a deep place of sorrow that witnesses the repression of women. This letter comes from a place of anger that refuses to stand by and allow a perpetual cycle of injustice to continue without notice.

This letter also comes from a place of deep pain, as several of the women are professing members of other denominations and faiths, including Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, non-denominational, Presbyterian and Lutheran. Rev Heckman preyed on women in our communities and this is deeply personal. We cannot stand idly by when 18 women, among millions across the globe, are unable to restore their lives to the normalcy of a safe, secure, and thriving environment.

This is why people of faith and moral conscience must subscribe to a theology of integrity and accountability that fights for those who are silenced and oppressed within our communities.

It is clear that the offenses of this reverend of the United Methodist Church have not been given the necessary attention or any deserving disciplinary consequences. Rather, the Just Resolution has made it clear that any victim of abuse “will not be heard, seen, or believed” by investigative authorities or religious institutions that pledge the sacredness of every human being. A case that has ushered both the UMC and interfaith communities into the #MeToo movement now further shines a light on the hypocrisy of our faith, our traditions, and our commitment to a better world.

We, members of various religious, spiritual, interfaith, and intentionally secular communities ask:

- That the demands of the Methodist Clergywomen are met, without delay or obstacles in achieving what is righteous and deserved by the 18 women,

- That the four women who filed the case against Rev Heckman receive full consultation from the West Ohio Conference throughout the process of the newly opened case,

- That the women who have experienced grief, abuse, and pain because of Bud’s and the Church’s actions receive the space, time, and resources necessary to continue their work and actually heal from their wounds, and

- That leaders from communities and organizations make a commitment to creating safe, intersectional spaces for a deeper dialogue about sexual misconduct and create strategies for better reporting, investigation, and due process against abusers and predators.

What the women have experienced is not merely a reflection of a single instance of injustice. It is a reminder of the toxic masculinity and patriarchy that have consumed our faith traditions for too long, preventing women from achieving the equity that is intrinsically theirs. Our lamentations mean nothing without the effort to prevent further harm or the initiative to honor the shared values of our movement. It is time the interfaith community to shift the paradigm of how we hear the stories of victims, how we advocate for those suffering in our society, and how we can strengthen our movement to honor the sacred in all things through inclusive and intersectional justice.

The time to act is now.

Sincerely,

(the undersigned)

Tahil Sharma, Hindu-Sikh Interfaith Activist & LA Coordinator of Sadhana: A Coalition of Progressive Hindus (Signing on behalf of the Executive Board)
Miranda Hovemeyer, Secular Humanist, Administrative Leadership
Virginia Sauk, Spiritual, Laity/Community Member
Anne Phillips, atheist, intersectional feminist
Rev. Janet Gollery McKeithen, UMC Minister, The Church in Ocean Park
Sharon Lawrence, Episcopal, Laity/Community Member
Sandra Koury, Maronite Catholic, Community member
Sari Heidenreich, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Dominique Rychlik, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Jose Rios, Spiritual, Ally
Rev Thomas Krieg, Catholic Clergyman
Chap. Kevin Ekstrom, Roman Catholic, Hospital Chaplain
Kristin Famula, Unitarian Universalist, Director of Religious Education and seminarian
Rev. Dr. Chris Alexander, Religious/Interfaith, Countryside Community Church, Clergy
Katie Gordon, Spiritual, Laity/Community Member
Rev. Jennifer Davidson, First Plymouth Church, Clergy
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Z. McNeil, Disciples of Christ/United Church of Christ, Clergy
Jessie Johnson, Roman Catholic, Professional lay minister
Jan Brown, Progressive Christian, Countryside Community Church, UCC, Omaha, Pastoral Care Coordinator
Joni Watke, J.D., UCC, Laity/Community Member
Rev. Cynthia Hoeger, Christian United Church of Christ, Clergy
Anna Harrison Griessel, Interfaith, Concerned citizens of the world, Laity/Community Member
Sharon Royers, UCC, Laity/Community Member
Princess O'Nika Auguste, Catholic-Methodist, Laity/Community Member
JohnCarl Denkovich, MPA Reform Judaism Omaha, NE, Laity/Community Member
Joan Gaylord, CS Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science) First Church, Katonah, NY, First Reader
Keziah Grindeland, Spiritual, Laity/Community Member
Rev Hollie Schmidt, Clergy
Ms. Linnea Alexander, Religious, Laity/Community Member
Chaplain Sana Saeed, Muslim/UU, Clergy
Dane Nelsom, Secular, Laity/Community Member
Margaret Hayford, Interfaith, Laity/Community Member
Kimber Kissel, Spiritual, Santa Monica/LA County Resident, Laity/Community Member
Monisola Eddo, Interfaith, Laity/Community Member
Anthony Reyes, Ed.M., Secular Humanist, Laity/Community Member
Dr. Jane Allison, Spiritual, Laity/Community Member
Edgar Ortiz, Secular, Advocate
Whitney Ledesma, Spiritual (Christian-affiliated), Laity/Community Member
Jill Ettinger, Secular, A Parent
Amanda Ryan, Jewish, Tri-Faith Initiative, Program Director
Kristin Wood-Hegner, Southern Baptist, Violence Prevention Activist
Dr. Lucinda Mosher, Christian in the Anglican tradition, Seminary faculty member; church music director
Christine Jones, Atheist, Atheists United, Administrative Leadership
Danielle Doughty, Religious, Church member
Simcha Terwilliger, Spiritual, Laity/Community Member
Debbie Vihstadt, Christian, Countryside Community Chruch, Laity/Community Member
Felipe Zurita, Spiritual/non-religious, Laity/Community Member
Richard Karper, Spiritual, Laity/Community Member
Ahsah Kyuelna, Interreligious, Student
Matthew S. Veader, Advocates for the homeless, and people that experience substance use disorder.
Rev. Felicia Parazaider, The Revolution of Love Ministry and Movement, Clergy
Mary Watke, Interfaith, Countryside Community Church, Administrative Leadership
Evan Clark, Atheist, Atheists United Los Angeles, Executive Director
Hannah Boggs, Quaker, Laity/Community Member
ELIZABETH Robbins, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Miranda R., Christian, Laity/Community Member
Susan Heidenreich, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Henry Burbridge, Buddhist, Laity/Community Member
Leah Webster, Religious, Laity/Community Member
Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer, Jewish and Interfaith, Clergy
Rebekah Pinkava, Christian, Youth leader
Winty Singh, Sikh, Laity/Community Member
Andrea Hodos, Jewish, observant, Laity/Community Member
MacKenzie Bills, Humanitarian, Interfaith community
Rev. Dr. Christine Hong, Interfaith and Christian, Professor and Clergy
Marjorie Boltem United Church of Christ, Countryside Community Church, Omaha, Laity/Community Member
Lori Margaret, Spiritual, Laity/Community Member
Mary Royers, Spiritual, Countryside Community Church, Laity/Community Member
Nichole Niebur, Practicing United Methodist, Laity/Community Member
Nancy Cooke, UMC, Wholehearted a group for sexually abused women, Administrative Leadership
Ryan Heidenreich, Religious, Body member
Julia Davis, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Philip Andrew Kaye-Skinner, Spiritual, UMC Minister's Child
Dr. Janett Cordoves, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Kael Sagheer, Interspiritual, Laity/Community Member
Jessica Mussro, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Vic Gutman, Jewish, Laity/Community Member
Lisa Wilson, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Laura Paulsen, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Arianna Cabrera, Catholic, Laity/Community Member
Fr. Keith Winton, Clergy, All Saints Episcopal Church
Susan Buffett, Interfaith Supporter, Laity/Community Member
Shazia Syed, Muslim, Laity/Community Member
Zack Ritter, Jewish-Humanist, Human-Centered Justice Activist, Administrative Leadership
Hafsa Arain, Muslim, Anthropologist, Boston University, Laity/Community Member
Mat McDermott, Hindu, Laity/Community Member
Josue Munoz, Spiritual, Educator
Daniel Park, Spiritual, Administrative Leadership
Anji Stanek, Christian, Countryside Community Church & Tri-Faith Initiate, Laity/Community Member
Asma Uddin, Muslim, Laity/Community Member
Rev. Debrah Friedland vanZyl, Spiritual/Interfaith/Jewish/Vedanta, Administrative Leadership
Kerri Peterson, Interfaith Supporter, Countryside Community Church, Laity/Community Member
Sierra Salgado Pirigyi, United Methodist, Laity/Community Member
Joel Sanchez, Atheist, Laity/Community Member
Wendy Goldberg, Jewish/Interfaith, Tri-Faith Initiative, Laity/Community Member
Michael Rodriguez, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Hakeem Dykes, Spiritual, Raleigh Police Accountability/Community Taskforce, Board Member/Organizer (NC)
Rev. Maggie Burbank Yenoki, Interfaith Minister, All Paths Divinity School, Clergy
Diana Faust, Catholic, Laity/Community Member
Rachel Sondgeroth, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Deborah Arakelian, Spiritual, Laity/Community Member
Tina Kucera, Christian, Countryside Community Church, Laity/Community Member
Mary Beth Link, Christian, Countryside Community Church, Laity/Community Member
Dinah Hites Gomez, Countryside UCC Member/Tri-Faith Volunteer, Laity/Community Member
Liz Murphy, Unitarian Universalist, Intern Minister
Renee Siems, Christian, Countryside Community Church, Laity/Community Member
Diane Scott, Christian, Countryside Community Church, Laity/Community Member
Dr. Laura Alexander, Lutheran, Laity/Community Member
The Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Episcopalian, The Interfaith Center of New York, Clergy
Tara Ragbir, Interfaith, The Wellness Chord, Clergy
Uroosa Jawed, Muslim, Former Communications Director, Tri-Faith Initiative, Laity/Community Member
May D, Spiritual, Laity/Community Member
Dot. C Leach, Interfaith, Women Drivers Interfaith Group, Laity/Community Member
Rev Dr. Beth Johnson, Religious, Clergy
Tasneem Noor, Muslim, Interfaith Activist, Laity/Community Member
Chaplain Maggie Siddiqi, Muslim, Administrative Leadership
Sidra Abbas, Muslim, Laity/Community Member
Christine Bieri, Laity/Community Member, Mt. Healthy UMC
Rev. Zebulon Green, Sacred Liberation, Casa Carmelita, Clergy
Dr. Michael Boos, Secular, Democrats for Justice, Laity/Community Member
Rev. Megan Visser, Religious, Clergy
Pastor Tyler Coles, Unitarian Universalist, Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church and SPARK, Clergy
Susan Katz Miller, Author, Jewish/Interfaith, Laity/Community Member
Nuri Moon, Spiritual, Laity/Community Member
Ms. Julie McKune, Neighborhood UU Church, Caring community member and activist
Paul Gómez, United Methodist, Laity/Community Member
Elida Jbeili, Interfaith Support, Laity/Community Member
Alberto Elías González Gómez, Catholic, Interfaith Activist (Mexico)
Will Silberman, Atheist, Laity/Community Member
Vicky Campos, Buddhist, Frequent UMC Guest
Rev. Mandy McDow, Clergy, Los Angeles United Methodist Church
Connie Rosales, Spiritual, Esperanza Project
Hussein Rashid, Ph.D., Muslim, Interfaith Leader
Elexis Kain, Atheist, Interfaith Student Leader
Rev. Eric C. Shafer, ELCA Pastor
Rev. Steven D. Martin, United Methodist Christian, Interfaith, Clergy
Dr. Sherry Fohr, Jewish, Interfaith Activist and Professor
Jem Jebbia, Buddhist, Student/Instructor
Darya Jones, Orthodox Christian, Church in Ocean Park, Administrative Leadership
Balpreet Kaur, Sikh, Community Organizer
Amy Korngiebel, Spiritual, Laity, Community Member
Sufi John Ishvaradas Abdallah, Executive Director on behalf of World Without Borders Interfaith Sufi Ashram
Rev. Dr. Jacob Buchholz, Minister (UCC)
Rev. Jennifer Strickland, Minister (UCC)
Funmi Salami, Muslim, Laity/Community Member
Dr. Maeve Callan, Interfaith Activist, Professor
Olivia Elder, Baptist, Project 117, Laity/Community Member
Karen May, Spiritual/Interfaith, Laity/Community Member
Eiman Ali, Sunni Muslim, Muslim Women For in North Carolina, Laity/Community Member
Betty Hung, Christian, Laity/Community Member
Dr. Sabrina Dent, Spiritual, Administrative Leadership
Dr. Sara H Deen, Muslim/Interfaith, South Coast Interfaith Council, Laity/Community Member
Sheikh Yerbhuti, Sufi, Sufi Khanqa of Riverside, Clergy
Hussam Ayloush, Muslim community leader, Southern California Muslim community
Shaykha Sidbi Khara, Ahmadi Muslim, Bait Ul Amma, Clergy
Theresa Ellis, PhD, UMC Clergy Spouse
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