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.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

JCD 1201


Picky over whether or not the Judicial Council has jurisdiction, I was as surprised as the concurring opinion writer was that the Council took jurisdiction over a bishop’s forwarding a resolution about trial court penalties as if it were a question of law. But the Council did so they could tell the Church that only the trial court can set a penalty in a guilty verdict.

I hate to think that because a bishop said something, the Council took that as sufficient to take jurisdiction. The Council, in any case, is a human institution, subject to the same vagaries as the rest of us.

In our annual conference (Wisconsin), we have rules and we have policies. They are codified and published in the conference journal every year. The policies can change year to year with a simple majority vote and are not regulatory. The rules are as binding as regulatory just as is the Discipline, provided there is no conflict between them. They are subject to vote only after 24 hours for review.

Even policies may not contradict the Discipline which, in the instant case, the policy did as the Council points out.

Now that the matter is cleared up, despite the questionable basis for accepting jurisdiction, conferences cannot set penalties in cases where pastors conduct same sax marriages or union services. If nothing else, the Council has advertised what one conference wants to do. It will be interesting to see if a pattern develops where there occur trials of pastors on the violation noted. Will it influence trials in Northwest Texas Conference?

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