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.

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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.


Friday, January 25, 2019

JCD 1367

Asking for a Special ruling by the Judicial Council

The Committee on Investigation of the West Ohio Conference ruled in a case of a complaint against a pastor in such a way that the Church appealed it to the North Central Jurisdictional Committee on Appeals.  When they ruled that the church counsel was right but that the case be paused until the conclusion of the 2019 General Conference, the church counsel sought a decision from the Council to remove the pause.  The Council deferred until it meets before the General Conference in question, asking the church counsel to provide grounds in church law for his request that the Judicial Council intervene.

Like the Council, I have no awareness of any church law that allows church counsel to seek the Council’s intervention by a request for an interlocutory ruling.  

Our judicial system is relatively simple and does not include a lot of the alternative appeals routes common in civil courts.  While I doubt that the church counsel will find sufficient grounds in church law to pursue his appeal, the Council at least is allowing him the possibility which means they may open up a channel not here-to-fore available.  Hopefully, if the Council does, it will provide a way to expedite interlocutory (“between sessions of the Council”) decisions.  I think it already has authority to do that.  In JCD 1361, the Council was ready to wait until the General Conference deals with it but I believe the Council will realize that is can set up something under Discipline Paragraph 56.6 where is says, “To provide its own methods of organization and procedure.”

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