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, November 6, 2012

JCM 1227



Reconsideration of JCM 1205 and its predecessor JCMs 1176, 1184, and 1192 was sought. The case originated in June 2010 when a church in the California-Nevada Conference was closed without any consultation by anyone in authority with the local church or notice given that a vote to close the church was to be held at conference time.

The Council ruled in JCM 1176 that it had no jurisdiction because the question had been a parliamentary question and not a question of law. JCMs 1184 and 1192 simply denied reconsideration, the usual way the Council deals with such requests. However, in JCM 1205, the Council patiently spelled out the jurisdiction issue reiterating that only a parliamentary question had been asked. In its last sentence of their analysis, they added another important argument.

As I wrote in my commentary on JCM 1205, “In this case, the judicial practice that an action by annual conference was made and not properly challenged at that conference session makes moot any such questions of law made one or more years later.” I also indicated that other cases did not hinge on that (JCD 777). See also JCD 1216.

The persistence of the person seeking the Council’s attention for the fourth time says to me that the conference action is “still devastating to the local church that was closed by fiat by those in power without proper consultation with the church itself” (from my commentary on JCM 1205).

The appellant’s approach is that the Council has not clarified the difference between a parliamentary question and a question of law in the context of his church’s discontinuation done in violation of the Discipline.

I expected that the Council would simply say, “Request denied,” having carefully laid out its rationale in JCM 1205.

Instead, the Council has deferred a decision until their April, 2013, session.

The deferral has no rationale or concurring or dissenting opinions to say why the Council chose not to respond. The significance and difficulty of several of this session’s decisions means that there was no time to consider every request for a ruling. One would think that since JCM 1205 shut the door on further reconsideration and that this request could be settled in a matter of seconds, it might be that there were not enough votes to close the case.

The obvious violation of the Discipline in the actions of the conference to close the church must haunt enough of the Council members that they may have won the day in keeping the request alive, even if only till they finally close the matter on strictly legal grounds. Who knows? Maybe this Council group will not just be legalistic….

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