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.


Monday, August 19, 2019

JCD 1377

They’re Back, the Traditionalists’ Petitions

Despite serious setbacks before the Council (JCDs 1366, 1375, and 1376), the Calvinists persisted with their petitions, modifying them a little more and presenting them in hopes they would still get passed at GC2019.  They were challenged in the General Conference plenary acting as a legislative committee and presented to the Council in a fashion parallel to JCD 1366, so much so that the Council even identified the parallels.

Again, despite some more tweaking of their unconstitutional petitions by the Calvinists, the Council found few if any that actually became constitutional.

In a dissent, there was a concern that the Council was not respecting local churches who decided to leave the annual conference because the Council was maintaining that the conference had a say in their leaving too and could veto the local church’s decision if it chose.  

There was no concurring decision countering their argument so let me add my two cents worth. There are two basic points against the dissenters’ argument.  

First, the whole point of the Trust Clause is to prevent ill-advised local church decisions regarding properties established or accepted by the conference.  That “branding” of the property brought with it an authenticity and reputation of major significance which enhanced the validity of that congregation in the first place.  It also brought with it an assurance of having a pastor when a local church’s pastor left for whatever reason.

Second, the United Methodist Church is connectional and not congregational in polity.  If we were Baptist, the argument of the dissenters in this case would be appropriate.  But the center of our polity is the annual conference (Par. 33) and not the local church.  That means the final decisions are made at the annual conference level.  Disaffiliation is about a two way relationship between the church and conference, not a one way relationship.

One more note to the dissenters:  The unconstitutionality of the Calvinists’ personnel processes is rooted in the basic fact of the heart of our polity being the annual conference and also not the General Conference.  I find it interesting that the dissenters to the instant decision chose not to argue against that.

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