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.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

JCD 1147


Those interested in restructuring their conferences will find this decision loaded with argument for and against its various aspects. Whoever wrote this for the Council is very capable of excellent analysis in a complicated circumstance.

Restructuring annual conferences has been very popular for a number of years now. Where I live, for example, there are no district superintendency committees. There is what amounts to a single administrative council that does nearly everything at the district level. I’m told it works for them. It doesn’t for the very reasons stated in the decision. The alternate structures must provide for a clear connection with the required agencies established by the Discipline. Let me add another point. Maintaining the separate agencies required by the Discipline maintains separation of powers so that conflict of interest and influence of command are minimized.

When I taught UMC polity in church membership classes, I showed connectionalism to be parallel structures at every level of the church which interacted to develop ideas, share information, and solve problems. In recent years, unfortunately, “Connectionalism” is defined as “obeying the bishop no matter what she/he orders.”

But this decision based on questions that come from the Dakotas puts the correct emphasis on what is truly connectional in our system of church administration.

No comments: