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 1248



Applying the Book of Discipline outside of the United States is worse than applying it here.  There is also church law done within Central Conferences at different times in different places in response to the culturally sensitive needs that differ from Central Conference to Central Conference as well as differing from American culture.

In this case, apparently a Central Conference “Discipline” from 1990 was used in an attempt to clarify just what is required of aging bishops with regard to retirement.  Fortunately, a resolution could be made to questions of law, based on less than specific but adequate church law of related Disciplinary passages.  General Conference would be well to sort this out officially.  It won’t be simple because of the way some Central Conferences cannot meet until after a particular Discipline has gone into effect, long after most other Central and Jurisdictional Conferences have met under the rules set out in the previous Discipline.  

Based on observation, I must warn the Church that views of the nature of the episcopacy vary from one continent to another and between conferences within a continent.  The concept of “authoritarian chief” has come to my attention as I’ve had more contact with overseas pastors.  I have met leaders from other continents who have been anything but that kind of bishop.  I would love to have them teach some of our American bishops how to undertake the task!  Nonetheless, clarifying any rules about tenure for bishops overseas will not be simple because of the wide diversity of leadership practices.

For now, bishops not yet 68 at a particular time may remain bishops until their seventy second birthday, after which a different bishop must be assigned to finish out the term.  Got it?  I’d like to think I have.

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