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 1257



The concerns raised at the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference were divided into four separate decisions, of which this is the second.

The second concern is that without Annual Conference prior approval, executive actions which set up agencies under the aegis of the United Methodist Church could turn into a free field for the executive branch (bishop’s office) to direct finances, staff, and authority, leaving the Annual Conference in the position of being a rubber stamp.  In fact, because the agency set up to meet the emergency of last year’s superstorm, A Future with Hope corporation, is already an independent legal incorporated entity, the fact that it was formed under illegal circumstances would have no effect.

Again, no sanctions are suggested, just as no direction is offered to give a path to legal actions in emergency situations.  Maybe it is presumed that an emergency session of the conference could be called and plans for agency development, financing, and staffing could be presented for review, possible adjustments, and approval.

My contention is that bishops are moving toward more and more control and away from control being within the annual conference where it has resided for the history of the Methodist movement.  The Judicial Council is drawing a line in the sand as a reminder that there is such a thing as separation of powers and bishops must not forget it.

Watchdogs beware.  Bishops somehow do not remember Judicial Council Decisions that they would not like if they even read them in the first place.

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