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.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

JCM 1159


A question from South Carolina Conference about the authority of the General Conference Secretary to determine the number of delegates to be allowed to each annual conference under the Discipline was not answered because the Council took no jurisdiction.

Their rationale is identical in wording to several other such decisions in the recent past. I expect we’ll see it in the future again . . . and again . . . and again.
The Council provided a rationale to the requesting conference.

I happen to agree with the dissenting opinion because a decision would affect the numbers in all of the conferences with respect to the coming elections in conferences around the world as they choose delegates to General Conference.

Here there are two issues.

One, there has been a competition among the southern conferences over getting more votes at General and Jurisdictional Conferences because each vote means that much more power to elect bishops. Political power is the ambition in the southern conferences, compared to the programmatic ambitions of the northern and western conferences. So the question raised in South Carolina is a critical part of their view of church life.

Two, resolving the issue of dealing with the huge number of United Methodists in Cote d’Ivoire was put off in JCD 1128. Though not mentioned here at all, that elephant in the room haunts the church in the United States, especially those conferences in the Southeast and South Central jurisdictions. The southern church has a greater ability to understand and use power than the other three jurisdictions. The Africans may be more skilled at it and that could become a problem.

Watch for these two dynamics to return again and again to the Judicial Council over the next eight years.

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