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 1372

A Question of Terminology

The Greater New Jersey layman bringing the question about directing that local church conferences should be held simultaneously in a central meeting place got lost in a new bad practice, using the phrase “request a ruling of law.”  No one brought to the attention of the layman who he wanted to answer that question.  If he wanted the bishop to answer it, he should have followed the route for using a question of law Par. 2609.6).  The bishop would then get to rule (as he could do in this case).  And his ruling had the weight of law until the Council acted on it.  In this case, the Council reversed his decision, not because it was wrong, but because it was inappropriate for him to have answered a question that had been incorrectly raised for adjudication by the Council.

The Council would have had to rule as it did because questions of law have to be about something specific being acted upon by the conference.  No such motion was before or had been passed by the plenary related to the question.  The lay person would have been wise to make a motion challenging the abuse of the Discipline on this point and then, if need be, bring the question of law.

Had the lay person requested a declaratory decision (Par. 2610) which the conference could have discussed (which would have been better for the request), voted upon, and thus referred to the Council, there could well have been a ruling to counter the way decisions about church conferences were being made.

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