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 10, 2013

Concluding Thoughts on the 2013 Fall Session

I am in awe of the diversity of areas of law that the Council has to cover in its work.  From trials to legality of emergency work to handling of mission funds overseas to reorganization of annual conference structures to sorting out jurisdiction and on and on….

I am also in awe of the diversity of conferences overseas that are jumping in and presenting questions.

The role of teacher to the Church continues in the Council’s work.  One of these days, their careful work will finally be realized and integrated into more and more of the life of the Church.  

A number of these decisions lent themselves to offering me a chance to provide some suggested ways of dealing with the issues, steps I hope will be taken by advocates in some cases, by bishops and conferences in others, and the Judicial council itself in at least one (JCD 1249).

When he was nominated for the Judicial Council some years a go, a friend asked me what I thought.  I said it is one of the few positions in the denomination that can tell a bishop he or she is wrong.  He decided to accept election to the Council rather than to the go on to seek episcopacy.  I think he was a good member during his tenure.  But I have to confess I may have misled him, not because my observation was untrue but because some bishops are deaf to anyone trying to reign them in.  

Power is very intoxicating and some are terribly addicted.  Too many times, those working with such power-addicts are too much like alcoholics’ spouses and without realizing it, become complicit in their addiction.  

Can the Council avoid being co-dependent with bishops or even fall into addiction itself?  Anyone dealing with power has to be concerned about both.  

‘Nuff said….

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