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

JCM 1137


The Council chose not to reconsider their ruling in support of the Bush institute at SMU. One of the details they indicated in that earlier decision was significant, the price of the lease. They were not for anything less than market value of the property:

“The question posed alleges that the lease agreements were negotiated at less than fair market value. Nothing in the record, other than the question itself, makes reference to fair market value. Because the Judicial Council is not a fact-finding body, we cannot determine whether that portion of the question is true or untrue. The allegation that the lease agreements were negotiated at less than fair market value is not a self-proving assertion. There are portions of the question that neither the presiding bishop nor the Judicial Council can or should answer. Stripped to its essence, however, is a question that could have and should have been answered:” (JCD 1113)

After that ruling came out, the following information about the lease was passed on to the Council: For approximately $10 a year for 99 years, with the possibility of renewing for another 150 years, the Bush Foundation signed a lease with SMU. This information comes from a Feb. 28, 2008, copy of THE DAILY CAMPUS, an independent SMU campus newspaper.

If that information is correct, the Council had serious grounds to reconsider JCD 1113. They must have decided it was too late to overturn the project because ground was already broken. It is not hard to speculate that there would be huge financial problems for SMU and the UMC if the Council did act. Some of the donors to the Bush project are big donors to the university and the Church.

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