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 1202


The statement of facts about this case does not include the bishop’s ruling. Even though the Council vacated it, one wonders how a bishop could justify telling a pastor in any circumstance, without prior fair process (JCD 702), that s/he was unappointable.

In the cases of Revs. Winslow Wilson and Nathaniel Grady, both of whom were in prison, were put on leave of absence. Their respective conferences felt that they had each been incarcerated unjustly. Their appointability was never seriously in question. If church complaints were initiated against either pastor, no committee on investigation forwarded it to church trial.

In the instant case, after the bishop put in writing to the imprisoned pastor that he was unappointable, the formal complaint process has been begun. Appointability is a determination to be made by the conference, as I understand it in church law, and is not the prerogative of a bishop to determine. I do not know who advised the bishop to write such a letter or who gave him the impression such a letter was appropriate. I can guess, based on how frequently I have heard about bishops who thought they could make that determination on their own.

The Judicial Council, on the grounds of separation of powers, has stood up to the incursion of episcopal authority into employment matters. I hope their ruling receives better attention than has the Council’s rulings on some other matters (for example, JCD 1200 and its predecessors).

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