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News & Press: Member News

RNA member suspended pending church trial outcome

Wednesday, October 23, 2019  
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On October 17th, the RNA Board learned of a pending church trial in the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, regarding allegations of sexual misconduct against the Rev. Donald "Bud" Heckman. This information was reported by United Methodist News Service and Religion News Service
Rev. Heckman has been an associate member of RNA since 2013. Given the seriousness of the allegations, the RNA Board has voted to suspend his membership pending the outcome of the church proceedings. While he has never worked directly for the association, he has worked as a consultant for our affiliated organization, Religion News Foundation, on grant projects that have benefited RNA. Moreover, he has actively participated in our annual conferences. As far as we’re aware, none of the allegations are connected to RNA or RNF activities. 
We are a small, tight-knit association, and news like this is devastating. If you, or someone you know, has concerns about any individual’s conduct at RNA-related conferences or activities, we are available to talk with you, and we urge anyone who may have reason to contact civil authorities on any matter to do so. Further, Board member and Past President Manya Brachear Pashman has offered to act as a point of contact for any RNA members on this issue (email or 312-804-3675). If anyone prefers to bring a matter directly to the board, please contact current President Peter Smith (email or 412-694-2899). 
We want RNA to be a safe space where people can come forward to report behavior that they feel is problematic or that makes them feel uncomfortable. We wish for a just and healing outcome. 


- The Religion News Association Board



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