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.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

JCD 1152


A Philippine bishop was suspended not long before his annual conference was to meet. A retired bishop was assigned to take over and decided that another site for the conference would be handier for him. He sought the Cabinet’s support which finally was grudgingly given. The bishop got his site and then appointed new superintendents to work with him on making appointments despite the fact that the suspended bishop and his Cabinet had already made appointments. Consequently, there was great confusion in the conference and people split on which site to go to for conference. Both sites held conference sessions. At the one where the retired bishop presided, questions of law were raised challenging the change of venue.

The retired bishop ruled immediately that the Discipline supported his choice of site, since the superintendents went along with it. The Judicial Council agreed because by their earlier ruling (JCD 1149), they had supported the Philippine bishops as a College of Bishops who then took action against another bishop under accusation. That action was extended to the assignment of the retired bishop and this decision followed from the retired bishop’s actions.

Had the questions asked covered more of the circumstances, the Council, as their concurring opinion states, may have been able to sort out more of the problems that were splitting the conference.

Note: This decision was made outside the time frame of the normal Council schedule to facilitate matters for the church in the Philippines. I was not consulted about this matter.

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