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.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

JCD 1389


Another Conference Challenges the TP

Upper New York Annual Conference also voted on a proposal that negatively viewed the Traditionalists’ Plan, condemning it, apologizing for the harm it is doing, and “strongly recommending” not funding trials and related actions.

The bishop was asked for a “Decision of Law” about the resolution’s ignoring or contradicting the Discipline.  He accepted the condemnation as legitimate disagreement and as aspirational.  The “strongly recommend” phrase to him was sufficiently over the line as to “ignore or contradict the Discipline and he ruled so.  The ones who brought the resolution thought the phrase did not cross the line but the Council supported the bishop on his two rulings.

The Council traces precedents carefully on the “condemnation” passage but is not as specific when it comes to the other key phrase “strongly recommend.”  Instead, it argues only the General Conference can change the rules about trials, including their funding and therefore that part of the resolution is actually unconstitutional!. 

I do not think the Council really had to go there because “strongly recommend” has no legislative power.  It is really aspirational.  Even if it had legislative power, it would only disrupt Disciplinary requirements.  The phrase does not direct an action . . . unless you are a crime boss or the President and know a hint, a thought, a suggestion, or a recommendation is really a deadly firm direction to perform a specific action.

Would it be unconstitutional?  I’m against anything that disrupts fair process.  I think many things in the Discipline itself are unconstitutional (thank you to the Council for recognizing some of them in JCD 1383).  But I do not see anyone being charged with doing something unconstitutional.  They can only be charged for violations of the Discipline.  I don’t think that the Council needed to go to their argument about constitutionality.  They could have referred to precedents about direct law violations being called for in this kind of resolution.  

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