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 1135


This decision based on a case from Wyoming Conference, while the proper one in this case, leaves this question: How is it that a pastor facing involuntary retirement, an administrative process, may raise a question of law of the bishop who is supposed to be out of the loop on administrative personnel matters and have the Judicial Council actually rule on the bishop’s answers and overturn the situation? I believe that in some past decisions, previous Councils have done that when a particular bishop or the bishop’s theology was out of favor with the respective Councils.

I also believe that the Council has usually abrogated its responsibility when questions of law presented in writing and entered on the minutes should be answered. See my commentary on JCD 1130 above.

In this case, the decision is over a case described as so badly handled that ruling the questions “moot,” etc. would be a manifest injustice. In the rare cases like this one that the Council rules against a bishop and for the pastor, I would encourage the Council to require a report back on how the bishop and conference responded to the decision and what happened to the pastor. (I happen to know and it isn’t pretty!)

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