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 1162


The Philippines case returned in the form of a request for reconsideration. Usually such requests get no space in the memorandum. In this case, it appears the interim bishop may have not been truthful about having met on Feb. 3, 2010, with the Cabinet to get them to change the site for the annual conference. He answered the request for reconsideration of JCM 1152 and in his argument said that the Cabinet had not responded to his requests for meetings. That raises the issue of the credibility of the interim bishop. The chances are that he did not meet the Cabinet on February 3 as the statement of facts in both 1152 and 1162 provide but unilaterally changed the site of the conference for his own convenience. He had to appoint new superintendents in order to finally get the "Cabinet" authorization on February 18. If he already had the old Cabinet's support for changing the site, why did he need to appoint new DSs to get that vote?

The Council did not sense that possible question when it considered the case in JCM 1152 and despite being told by the brief from the opponents of the interim bishop for this docketed action, they found nothing egregious about the interim bishop’s actions and ruled he operated within church law.

One party seeking reconsideration was chastised for not copying his request for reconsideration to the other parties at interest.

The Council was in a situation where they did not know for sure who to believe.

Over the years, Councils have tended not only to believe the bishop’s side of the story but rarely ever have acknowledged anything said from the pastor’s side. Decisions like JCD 1156 occur about once a decade.

In this case, there was some acknowledgement that there were issues against the episcopal rendering of the situation. I appreciate that whenever the Council does it.

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