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 1126


A retired minister was elected chair of the finance committee of the local church he attended and where he held his charge conference membership. There was an unwritten policy of the Eastern Pennsylvania Cabinet that he could not hold that position. The main grounds were concern about possible undermining of the authority of the pastor in charge, a possible conflict of interest, and depriving a lay person of that responsibility.

The Council ruled that since he was a member of the charge conference, he was eligible for the position, it not having been identified by the Discipline is requiring lay relationship to the local church.

The jurisdiction for this ruling was that it was a request for a declaratory decision. Jon Gray, a Council member, wondered whatever happened to the criteria that such rulings had to be restricted to the business of the conference.

I really believe the Council uses that restriction when it wants to and feels free to go outside its restrictions when it wants to.

I believe the question was worth asking and the Council was right in responding. What I wish is that the Council would loosen its criteria for taking jurisdiction so that unanticipated requests like this one can be resolved without appearing to contradict the Council’s own restrictions.

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