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.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

JCD 1142


In JCM 1127, the Council described a complete set of materials sent in by the West Michigan Conference bishop and secretary. The bishop’s report included reference to a question of law but the minutes did not. The Council remanded the case, something it has done but only when no minutes are sent along.

In this decision’s description, the minutes “reflect” the question of law…. I take this acceptance of jurisdiction to mean that the Council really wanted to assure the law was properly fulfilled . . . on a property matter. Not having seen what had been sent in either previously or for this review by the Council, I cannot make an accurate judgment about how precisely the documents fulfilled the requirements for jurisdiction. It appears that in its own discretion, the Council felt it would handle the case no matter what. Ah, the privilege of discretion….

The Council decided that because the annual conference has an identifiable interest in the protection and security of church properties exercised through being involved in the sale or mortgaging of church properties by requiring the District to be in the decision-making process, the conference has the right to require all churches to have the same insurance carrier. The three decisions cited as precedent were relevant.

With the movement around the country of certain congregations leaving the denomination over social issues like abortion and homosexuality and wanting to take their church property with them, this insurance issue allowed the Council to emphasize who really owns the local church property, the annual conference.

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