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

Summary Remarks for JCDs 1119-1141

The Judicial Council during this autumn session of 2009 tended to business, giving some very helpful and educative rulings like 1129, 1132, and 1141. They went beyond to kindness by citing other decisions related to a case over which they had no jurisdiction (1133) and to thoughtfulness by reviewing case law on handling resolutions (1120). In neither case did they take jurisdiction and could have not bothered. When they were asked to give legal advice (1129) or to amend a resolution (1133), they were proper in drawing the line for what they do.

There were surprises when the Council took jurisdiction over two cases that did not appear to fit the criteria for handling questions of law (1126 and 1135). What is the business of the annual conference? I believe that particular criterion is not appropriate. How else can off-the-wall cases like 1126 be handled? Why is the bishop not supposed to be able to answer questions of law on personnel matters, especially the processes used to administratively remove pastors? As I showed in my review of 1130, what the Council did in 1135 (and several years ago in JCD 1031) is proper and necessary in order to have the full line of appellate procedures for personnel cases handled under administrative processes. How many other cases of injustice have slipped through the fingers of the Council under the current criteria?

Disconcerting were the number of cases that showed incomplete records. The Council could find a way to minimize that.

As disconcerting to me was the number of mistakes made by the questioners that failed to do the key things to be sure the Council could take jurisdiction. Been there, done that! Now I’ve got to do something about it through this blog and AIA’s website.

There were 23 docket items to be handled over the summer and the four or so days of the Council meeting. To have to deal with geo-political, pension, personnel, apportionments, and who can serve on local church committees is a mind-blowing range of concerns. And then to have conference personnel not turn over all the needed records or who failed to keep good records, I can understand how Council members have many more gray hairs than two years ago.

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