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 Council Election

Four positions, two lay and two clergy, were open this year. Three of the four who have completed their eight year terms were nominated. Layperson Jon Gray, the court’s vice president, retired. Two were re-elected, layperson Beth Capen and clergy Dennis Blackwell.

I fully expected that the president Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe would be re-elected because she has been a gracious, experienced, and effective leader. What was surprising to me was that she was not re-elected.

What was not surprising was that the African Caucus went for two of their own, Rev. Dr. J. Kabamba Kiboko of Southern Congo and N. Oswald Tweh Sr. of Liberia. Both have very impressive credentials and experience, Rev. Kiboko getting her PhD from Iliff, lawyer Tweh his degree from Harvard.

There are now three Central Conference members on the Judicial Council.

Lay alternates are Sandra Lutz (East Ohio), long-time member of a wide variety of general and jurisdictional bodies, and Kurt Glassco (Oklahoma), a criminal judge.

Clergy alternates are Rev. Tim Bruster (Central Texas) GCFA and Perkins Executive Board, etc., and Rev. John Harnish (Detroit) GBHEM/DOM, trustee of colleges and seminaries, etc.

Elected president (the new members were present) on the Council is Rev. William Lawrence of Perkins. Vice president is lawyer Angela Brown from California, and secretary is once again Rev. Belton Joyner. Sally Curtis AsKew is continuing as clerk.

Whatever you may think or hear about the right or left leanings of the new court, it will be dynamic. Part of that is dependent on the issue, though there may be no telling based on past records since overseas members have access to more information than ever before. Part of it is dependent on which delegates do not run into visa problems. And part of it depends on how many of the alternates participate on a given docket item.

It will be an interesting quadrennium.

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