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.


Monday, August 19, 2019

JCD 1371

Episcopal Activism Gone Awry

Most of us are aware that racism in the United States has led to a new kind of “white flight.”  In the 1960s, it was to the suburbs.  But now it is to private schools paid for by public tax dollars but with no real accountability to the public.  When a bishop proud of his reputation on such matters decided to do something about it, he got eleven conference agencies to vote to take action and then channeled their energy through the Greater New Jersey Conference Board of Trustees to enter a law suit to do something about it.

The Judicial Council caught him cutting one major corner, not letting the annual conference vote to support the action, a Disciplinary requirement, before the Trustees (the appropriate legal entity) could enter such a legal action.  He wanted it done on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education case, four days before annual conference.  He got the conference’s approval after the suit was entered but the Council did not let him get away with it.

The Council is not being inadvertently racist here.  The majority on the Council are people of color.

They are sending a message.  There is the rule of law in our denomination.  Just because someone had a good motivation about a real problem does not release them from their commitment to uphold the Discipline.  

Whether the bishop was on an ego trip or was simply careless about church law, he chose to add the symbolism, the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling, rather than call an emergency meeting of the annual conference.  By the way, just a few months before, he did call an emergency meeting of the annual conference for another purpose, according to my sources.

Embarrassing, no doubt about it.  The suit had to be withdrawn, which is sad.

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