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.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Re: JCM 1106


This is the most disappointing decision of this Judicial Council session.

At issue, from the point of view of the one raising the questions of law, is whether or not the Cabinet can ignore the consultation process for appointments specified in the Book of Discipline.

The bishop changed the subject by hiding behind JCD 799, saying the issue was whether or not the questions were hypothetical.

When a nearly whole new Council was elected at General Conference, many of us wondered if the new members looked upon the whole church as its constituency or just the bishops who nominated them.

This is a largely new group who are seeking to find their way through how to apply justice and church law to the various questions brought. They are stuck with a bunch of bad precedents, in my mind. I really think JCD 799 is badly flawed as is the precedent established in JCD 75 discussed above in the observations on JCD 1099.

Hopefully these and other bad precedents can be shown to be unjust and inimical to a healthy church in cases yet to come before this Council. - Could the Council be signaling that it might rule differently if the bad elements of JCD 799 were brought before them?

As this ruling stands, its effect is that bishops are free for now to ignore the Discipline on handling appointments.

Unfettered bishops tend to be a downer for a conference. It won’t be long before there will be stories about bishops making appointments using a map of the conference and a dart.

I don’t think this Council wants to be seen as the facilitators of a return to the days of Bishop Angie Smith who was observed making appointments that way.

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