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 1132


This case from California-Pacific Conference was carried over from the previous session of the Council (JCM 1116). The bishop followed through on the Council’s remanding request.

For those who love to read about pensions and stuff, this is a good case. Both the bishop and Council make helpful distinctions and provide useful information. For those like me, it is a struggle to get inside the questions but I will try.

The questioner challenged two aspects of the health insurance program: one, it not being handled like apportionments; two, allowing the Board of Pensions to do something the Conference should be doing, assigning the amounts to be paid some months after conference has been held.

The responses were that, one, health insurance is a benefit and could therefore be handled differently. A special situation for the conference was that it had a surplus it could apply to the premiums of the retired and incapacitated and that was best handled outside of apportionment formulas. Two, the formula for the premiums had been set by the conference and the Board then just applied it when the bills were sent out, thus not violating the principle of one agency taking another’s responsibilities.

The reader is warned to discuss the ruling with someone who knows this stuff, such as people working for the Board of Pensions and Benefits or are on the conference pensions and benefits committee.

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