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.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

JCD 1122


This decision settles whether or not the health insurance cost carried by a local church is compensation or a benefit. As the decision points out, local churches have no say about how much the premium for a benefit will be whereas compensation, the salary, is theirs to determine.

Some churches may have padded the pastor’s salary by budgeting a larger amount for the health insurance premium as they may have done with how they paid mileage for the pastor. By reporting a smaller salary, some churches were apportioned less based on the formula for setting conference “dues.”

The tone of the question from Louisiana, as I interpret it, really has more to do with helping the local church set its total budget at the charge conference rather than facing having to change it later in the church year if the conference requests a budget-busting health insurance apportionment. And lately, that specific cost has risen so much each year that it is a budget-buster every time.

The request was an attempt to hurry the process for formulating that cost in time for charge conferences. But it was indirect and the Council did not bite.

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