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.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Re: JCD 1109


For the purposes of this commentary, I am most concerned about personnel matters. But it is hard to pass up some observations that can be made on this ruling.

The Council takes pains to parse their role in looking at whether pastors can send the elements of Holy Communion with lay people to remote places or where the pastor is not going for whatever reason.

That parsing means that no theological group can storm the gates of General Conference to precipitously change the Articles of Religion.

Meanwhile, on this issue, pastors are stuck with being directly involved with Holy Communion distribution. Perhaps Cabinet members can offer help on occasion to ease the loads of their pastors. Bishops are ordained elders, after all, as are superintendents. What an example that would be to us pastors if our superiors in office cared enough about the remote folks to help us out. That might be an encouragement to us pastors to make sure we find a way to reach out even more than we have . . . .

The dissenting opinion reinforces the responsibility of conference secretaries to get with the program. That this dissent is raised shows that the Council sometimes takes jurisdiction despite that failure.

Without thorough discussion with others on this ruling, I find myself accepting it and glad it was dealt with even though all the proper steps were not followed. The Council needs to have some flexibility to resolve conflicted issues.

May they be wise about which of their future decisions are handled with such Christian concern.

No comments: