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 1124


A New York Conference bishop reported to the Council that he had received a letter requesting a ruling of law during a break. The request dealt with a resolution supporting those who dissent with the Discipline, though the issues involved are not noted. The conference secretary submitted nothing so the Council had no information beyond what the bishop told them. The bishop’s ruling that the request was not before the conference was affirmed.

Here again, it does not appear that the Council Secretary chose to make inquiry prior to docketing about the record of the conference session to see if indeed there was no mention of the request. The Council trusted that the bishop was telling the truth about the situation. Since every sitting member of the Council was originally nominated by the Council of Bishops, the appearance of conflict of interest is unsettling, especially since the Council has a clerk who can assist in this small point of administration.

Wise bishops in the past have allowed discreet presentations of written requests for rulings of law and dealt with them. The clear advantage of not having possible dirty laundry aired in public is no small matter. This strategy should require some kind of reasonable acknowledgement to be entered on the record such as the name of the questioner and the specific question raised. With the record showing or not showing the request, the Council would not be vulnerable to the question of conflict of interest.

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