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.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

JCD 1246



In JCD 1224, the Council deferred their decision about a North Carolina conference reorganization plan in which District Superintendency was radically changed to put all the superintendents in the Conference Center and leave to one or more assistants with no designated residences most of the responsibilities usually handled by the superintedent.  At issue was the separation of tasks between superintendents and their assistants and whether all of the proper permissions had been obtained.  The bishop had said they were but had sent no corroboration of his assertion.

Unfortunately, the only issue definitively decided in JCD 1246 was whether or not all the proper votes had been taken as directed by the Discipline.  The conference leaders pulled together the documents from the meetings and sent them in.  I do not know if the conference implemented the new structure in the meantime or if that was held up until the Council ruled.  The Council accepted the respective job descriptions.  

What remains as my question was somewhat handled in a concurring opinion where Reuben Reyes brought up the problem of where the assistant was asked to do what only the superintendent should do.  He saw two and I would have listed every one of the tasks being passed off by the reorganization.  Rereading the bishop’s responses to the questions of law in JCD 1224 is like reading a science-fiction utopia set in the garb of the United Methodist Church.  

I understand virtual offices.  Mine is wherever my laptop gets a wifi signal and my cell phone has bars.  But I have not put my physical presence into the cases that come my way.  For me, it is economically not feasible.  I bet that the new model of behavior called for in the reorganization will not put the superintendents into the field, especially the distant rural areas.  I just do not see it happening.  I think it will appear as physically daunting and as costly as I find it.  But there is one further factor: the position of privilege to which both bishops and superintendents have evolved will defeat the ideal pattern envisioned.  

The Superintendency is the most difficult and complex job in our whole system and needs to be defined more reasonably by the Discipline so that it can be done by a human being!  Help should be provided where possible.  I hope the Council will review the job descriptions again either if reconsideration of the decision is requested or if new requests for rulings come up in the future. 

For comments made to the original ruling, see the post on this blog for JCD 1224, made in November of last year.

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