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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 1141

JCD 1141

This case from California-Nevada is another wonderful trip through difficult terrain for most people, determining pensions rates under conflicting Disciplinary passages and varying policies of related agencies. I will leave the details of the decision to those same experienced folks I noted above in the review of JCD 1132.

The Council reiterates a principle of law that must be noted. Where there are conflicts between related Disciplinary passages as there are in this case, the resolution of which passage takes precedence lies in which passage is the more recently passed by General Conference.

For those interested enough to read this blog, in situations where there is a conflict within the Discipline, you need to be ready to do one of two things:

1. check past Disciplines to determine which of the conflicting passages appears most recently, and

2. check past copies of the Daily Christian Advocate of General Conference, particularly if the conflicting passages both came from the same General Conference.
Another principle of law dates back to 1970 (JCD 331). “Acts in relation to the same subject or object should be constued together.” There may be a way that the apparent conflicts can be resolved by finding a frame of reference that allows both to be true.

In this case, however, the issue was clearly numbers which meant there was no way to construe them together, one or the other had to be chosen.

One other feature of this decision that is of special interest is that it is a case that came up after the docket’s deadline. The Council accepted jurisdiction under its own rules for emergency appeals. This is the first time I have been aware of the Council doing this in its history. If they did it previously, it was not mentioned in the decisions.

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