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.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

JCM 1338

No Syllabus - No Decision

This is the first time in my recollection (a dangerous statement for anyone to make!) that the Council stated that a bishop's failure to send a rationale (syllabus) was grounds for not accepting a decision of law but remanding it.

Whether or not this is a first, it is a good action by the Council to put bishops on notice not to be careless about making rulings.  There are a number of reasons a bishop could fail to do the background work, all the way from arrogance to forgetfulness to busyness.  There is no question the Western Jurisdiction in July of 2016 had many dynamics which needed attention.  This technical question did not seem to rate any serious priority at the time.

If I read the bishop's ruling correctly (another dangerous presumption!), I see that he provides a rationale for disobeying the Discipline when he said, "The Jurisdictional Conference has adopted rules for this Conference which do not exercise that authority."

That sounds a lot to me like "We have made up rules that we do not have to do what the Discipline says."  But I could be wrong (understatement of the day!).

It will be interesting to see if the bishop persists in that line of argument in his preparation of his rationale and what the Council says about it in their next session. 

In any case, we now know what a "syllabus" is (a rationale for the decision) and that this Council takes it seriously.

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