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.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

April 30 - Judicial Administration Petitions

Midas took care of my tire the first thing Monday morning and I got to Tampa only an hour later than usual. Pulling my travel case and wearing my red jacket, having gone through my entry routine, I headed for the plenary floor. One of the delegates from the Judicial Administration Legislative Committee came over to the edge of the bar of the conference and beckoned to me.

“Our committee dropped the Committee on Investigation for clergy but replaced it with one of your main concerns, verification of accusations,” she told me.

“CoIs never really did investigations,” I responded.

“Right,” she said. “Now conference chancellors who have at least beginning legal knowledge about the nature of evidence and validating complaints will be part of the initial response so that before there is any formal legal action against a pastor in the church, reasonably competent help will be given to be sure the complaint has merit.”

“And that means the chancellor can be called as a witness by the defense and cross-examined and probably can’t be assistant church counsel?” I asked. That had been a particular bone of contention in a recent trial I worked on.

“That’s what I understand,” she said. “When you see the legislation, some of your other ideas were included even though your specific petitions will appear in the DCA under non-concurrence.”

She said that conference chancellors meet every year for training and that working on evidence would be a topic of review as part of those meetings. “I think there will be better verification of accusations in the future. We kept the Committee on Investigation for bishops, deacons, and laity because those categories rarely are ever exercised. I thought you would want to know about all this,” she concluded

I thanked her sincerely. I wish all my petitions had been integrated into the new legislation that, she told me, would be on the consent calendar and probably pass before the end of the day. But I’ll take any victory I can get.

While I have seen a reconstruction of the work of the committee and was unable to find anything else I may have influenced, I await the final publication into the Discipline. None of it goes into effect until January 1, 2013.

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