Associates in Advocacy now has two sites on the internet. Our primary help site is at http://www.aiateam.org/. There AIA seeks to offer aid to troubled pastors, mainly those who face complaints and whose careers are on the line.

Help is also available to their advocates, their caregivers, Cabinets, and others trying to work in that context.

This site will be a blog. On it we will address issues and events that come up.

We have a point of view about ministry, personnel work, and authority. We intend to take the following very seriously:


Some of our denomination's personnel practices have real merit. Some are deeply flawed. To tell the difference, we go to these criteria to help us know the difference.

We also have a vision of what constitutes healthy leadership and authority. We believe it is in line with Scripture, up-to-date managerial practice, and law.

To our great sadness, some pastors who become part of the hierarchy of the church, particularly the Cabinet, have a vision based on their being in control as "kings of the hill," not accountable to anyone and not responsible to follow the Discipline or our faith and practice. They do not see that THE GOLDEN RULE applies to what they do.

If you are reading this, the chances are you are not that way. We hope what we say and do exemplify our own best vision and will help you fulfill yours. But we cannot just leave arrogance, incompetence, and ignorance to flourish. All of us have the responsibility to minimize those in our system.

We join you in fulfilling our individual vow of expecting to be perfect in love in this life and applying that vow to our corporate life in the United Methodist Church.

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If you have any questions or suggestions, direct them to Rev. Jerry Eckert. His e-mail address is aj_eckert@hotmail.com. His phone number is 941 743 0518. His address is 20487 Albury Drive, Port Charlotte, FL 33952.

Thank you.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Re: JCM 1118


Once again, the Council chose to not just stop with saying it had no jurisdiction. They laid out their rationale for refusing to rule on the questions. That was wise because the issue is a hot button one in our denomination,

A layman in Alaska asked if Paragraph 4 in our constitution superceded PP 214 and 225. Actually he wondered if P 4 had any effect on the other two. The ruling would have been the same.

The layman was trying to resolve the problem some believe was established in JCD 1032, that the pastor has the right of discretion over the readiness of a person wanting to join the church.

While that pastoral authority has been an unwritten presumption in the denomination, including the period when African-American people attempted to join all-European American churches during the Civil Rights conflict in the United States, this tradition was challenged in 2005 when a pastor persuaded a gay man that he was not ready to join a denomination with strong anti-homosexual laws in the Discipline. The bishop insisted that the pastor have to take the gay man into the church and the pastor refused, leading to the challenge handled in JCD 1032.

The Council carefully tried to sort through the three questions asked by the layman and why they could not take jurisdiction.

First, the Council showed how the membership process between a pastor and an eligible candidate for church membership is the work of the annual conference. But then the Council went further to indicate that the three questions did not pertain to some action taken by the annual conference in its session.

Belton Joyner, in his dissenting opinion points out that P 2610.2(j) has a plural in the word “conferences,” implying to him that the interpretation of the current and past Councils which restricts their jurisdiction to the agenda of the specific annual conference may need to be reviewed.

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