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.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

JCD 1394


Separation of Powers

Desert Southwest Annual Conference experienced a small probing attack on the issue of the judicial powers of a bishop that were not subject to any kind of review.  A group of pastors who may be sympathetic to the traditionalists’ side of church politics asked for a ruling on the right of bishops to drop charges.  (While dropping charges can and should happen in some cases, my experience is that bishops do not drop charges unless it may relate in “Arminian” conferences to LGBTQI cases.  Hence my presumption.  I may be incorrect.)

Being on the other side of the political spectrum from them, my question would be, should bishops be the ones to make a judgment about any complaint that in civil parlance would go to court officers like a district attorney.  I would have considered submitting a friend of the court brief in support of the request for a declaratory decision, though I would have expanded its scope considerably.  (Obviously, I was not paying attention when this matter was docketed.)

Unfortunately, the Council does not deal with such requests unless there is a case that is before the annual conference which could be changed based on the rulings requested.

I have argued for years that requests for declaratory decisions are prospective so that the Council can advise the Church on what to do under the Disciplinary passages in question.  I think the Council should have taken jurisdiction as it did in JCD 1383 which also had no specific case as a reference..

Here again, without a law degree and without long experience in civil law, I am probably missing something and not understanding why the Council rules on its jurisdiction as it does.  I am open to instruction on this!

No comments: