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

JCM 1390


A Slick “Deferral”

The Council of Bishops sought another ruling on the constitutionality and other issues related to the Traditionalists’ Plan passed at the 2019 special General Conference.  This was their third shot at it.  

They asked for a ruling when its petitions were first sent to General Conference.  The Council deferred because it hadn’t any real legal context like being on the floor with other petitions at General Conference.  

The Bishops asked about it after all the petitions were in and the Council fastidiously went through identifying the unconstitutional parts.

The TP was revised before it came to the floor.  Many observers felt the revisions  had not met the Council’s judgments but it passed anyway so the Bishops decided to challenge it again through the instant case.

The Council polled its members about the constitutionality of the TP and there were not enough who felt there was an issue on that.  I do not know if that polling was before or after the Council’s preliminary reviews of the request.  This is not the first time I vaguely recall such a polling and the Council then not taking jurisdiction.  I’m not sure about the qualitative value of any action that occurs before full discussion of the body together.  But it does save time.

The Council recognized that the Bishops’ concerns are not without merit.  They softened their decision by saying it would take up challenges to constitutionality as cases were brought about specific passages.

Note:  While everyone else calls the TP the “Traditional Plan,” I am not comfortable with it. As noted in past blog postings here, my tradition is Arminian and in that, I am strongly traditional.  So when I use the whole name of TP, I feel “Traditionalists” is more appropriate because it is a plan brought by people who call themselves “Traditional” as if their Calvinist theology is the only real Wesleyan tradition.  You probably didn’t even notice but in case you did, now you know why I “misspelled” the term.

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