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 15, 2015

JCM 1299

JHYPERLINK "http://www.umc.org/decisions/64862/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6IlwvZGVjaXNpb25zXC9zZWFyY2gtcmVzdWx0cyIsImV4YWN0Ijoic2VhcmNoOmRlY2lzaW9uX251bWJlciJ9" http://www.umc.org/decisions/64862/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6IlwvZGVjaXNpb25zXC9zZWFyY2gtcmVzdWx0cyIsImV4YWN0Ijoic2VhcmNoOmRlY2lzaW9uX251bWJlciJ9


The Western Pennsylvania team seeking justice in dealing with an African bishop who they allege (with ample evidence) misused funds sent by them to his conference were denied reconsideration of the decision that closed down their complaint.  In JCD 1275, the Council ruled that since the College of Bishops in Africa chose not to forward the charges against the bishop in question, the matter was closed.

The docket does not include the arguments seeking reconsideration so I cannot comment on those.  As noted in the update on this blog related to JCD 1275, JCD 1281 essentially closed the case so the Council probably felt that was that.  

If past experience means anything, the Council has been put under extreme pressure from the Council of Bishops to back off their occasional efforts to hold the bishops accountable (my terminology, not theirs).  Followers of this blog know of my opinion that nearly all bishops with whom I have personally spoken have been respectful, poised, and gracious but that the Council of Bishops as a body influences good bishops to allow bad bishops free reign to seek more and more control with less and less accountability, especially on personnel issues.  Someone needs to adapt Reinhold Niebuhr’s MORAL MAN, IMMORAL SOCIETY to the contemporary scene in the United Methodist Church.

It is exceptional when the Council rules in favor of an accused pastor even when the bishop has violated church law, and this Council has done that more than any other since 1992-1996.  Church law is usually there to aid the oppressed and block abuse of power and the Council has sometimes been creative in seeking that out.  

Not having anything more than what has been reported in the past to put Western Pennsylvania’s request in context, it may be that church law is not complete enough to overcome actions (or failure of actions) in our system of holding of a bishop accountable.

In any case, because of this ruling no matter what the Council intends, the bishop in question and his episcopal brothers and sisters can feel a little better protected from challenges to the authority they want to have.

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