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: JCD 1101


The Council clarified that the constitution does not list local pastors not under appointment as members of the annual conference and therefore the General Conference cannot give them that membership without changing the constitution.

That would have to be brought in 2012.

Local pastors who have retired or were not appointed may attend annual conference as visitors (lobbyists!) or they may be elected to come as lay members from a local church.

Local pastors are extremely vulnerable in our system and can be dropped from appointment and thereby automatically from being licensed either by the district committee’s removing the license (and hence removing appointability) or by the Cabinet failing to give an appointment. Fair Process rights are given to local pastors by several paragraphs but they only count when there is a written complaint. Cabinets can easily avoid bringing forward a written complaint (even when there is one) by not treating it properly but simply using these other two ways to arbitrarily drop the local pastor.

Local pastors are presumed to have another vocation and thus are not necessarily seen as being hung out to dry, despite the fact that many give up their secular employment to be pastors. Further, Cabinets use local pastors as fillers for situations where no ordained clergy can be brought in (salary too low or no ordained clergy are available). Valuable as local pastors are, Cabinets are glad to have them be expendable and not on the list of those for whom appointments have to be made.

Once local pastors can become annual conference members upon retirement, they would be in a position to vote for legislation that could put them on the guaranteed appointment list.

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