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.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

JCM 1231


A request for reconsideration of JCM 1213 was denied.  JCM 1213 was about funding for Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice by the General Board of Church and Society and the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries.  Because the North Alabama Annual Conference had taken no specific action related to that funding, the original request was not covered under church law as appropriate for them to raise.  So the Council pointed out it had no jurisdiction (authority) to take up the request.

This is one of those legal technicalities that frustrates people.  I would love to see what arguments were made by those seeking reconsideration.  What grounds did they feel they as an annual conference had to challenge an action of the General Conference or of General Conference agencies?

Usually when the Council refuses reconsideration, they do not offer any rationale for their decision.  They offered none here so we learn nothing about their reasoning.  Maybe there is nothing exceptional or new that the Council feels worth sharing about their decision not to reconsider. 

In this case, it seems clear that the conservative faction of the North Alabama Conference wanted to express its (political? conscientious?) position on RCRR and see if it could affect the funding.  With no rationale by the Council, the decision will appear either arbitrary at best or part of the “liberal conspiracy” to allow abortion on demand.  The resulting misunderstanding will further alienate the conservatives and play into their theory of what is “going on.”

The Council might be wise to make it a practice to explain their position in future cases.  It won’t affect the “true believers” but it would help everybody else.

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