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

JCM 1138


The Council chose not to reconsider its ruling on the questions related to the closing of a California-Nevada church. That ruling was JCM 1112.

In my commentary on that memorandum, I assumed the matter of the closure was before the conference when the questions were raised. I missed one little detail: The vote had occurred the year before so my comments were in error on the matter being part of the business of the 2009 conference and the possibility that the questioner was still an active member of the conference. The way for the questions to have been raised in 2009 were to have someone who voted for the closure to ask for reconsideration of that vote. If the conference voted to reconsider, then the matter would have been the “work of the conference” that year and the questions raised by an active member of the conference would have been in order.

My earlier conclusion that superintendents might pull the same stunts in the future as the one did in that case still stands. However, the advocates trying to bring justice erred and the Council had no other way to follow through than by telling the history in the concurring opinion. That does not have the authority of a decision of law but it does shine a light on what happened. Hopefully, those who read JCM 1112 and its concurring opinions will see and work to stop such tricks in the future.

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