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

Summary Remarks for JCDs 1212 – 1229

1. The new group seems to have picked up where its predecessors left off, avoiding being factional and sticking with church law pretty rigorously. The new Council has also shown little propensity to side with the bishops automatically and has opened the door to accountability of bishops beyond the cases where one may be involved in sexual misconduct.

2. That objectivity about accountability of bishops will face tests in a special hearing set up in November reviewing an appeal of a bishop who was involuntarily retired and again next spring when a former bishop may seek readmission to being a retired bishop.

3. I personally appreciate the posting of the original requests for Judicial Council rulings as they were sent to the Council.

4. In the past, the Council has been unable to resolve cases because of the lack of needed materials that should have been sent in by appellants and conference secretaries. For this session, the New York Conference (JCD 1218) was alone in not sending in all the minutes that would have helped the Council get the full context of the case from them. Another bishop made assertions that he did not document (JCM 1224), something that was not the fault of the conference secretary. This degree of discipline getting documentation asked for by the Judicial Council is admirable and certainly helps facilitate the Council’s work.

5. With the one exception (JCM 1214), the Council wrote in ways that were good continuing education for those needing to know church law.

6. Consistency is always a goal and some questions about it could be raised on the basis of these decisions from the Council (especially JCM 1214).

7. Because of the absence of a “regular” member for whom an alternate had to sit in, there were three “first-timers” dealing with this very big docket. The overall quality of the decisions approaches the level reached by the previous group who had worked together for four years.

8. Even so, there were some things that will have an impact that cannot be fully anticipated (JCDs 1212, 1215, 1218, 1226, and 1229). And maybe some which I think the Council may need to reconsider or they will leave in place some things that hurt the church (JCDs 1216, 1221, and 1228).

9. Finally, if only the rest of us pay attention and provide insights and information useful to this new Council, the denomination will benefit the most.

Note: Many have honored my request for their critiques of these posts as I worked on them. I take full responsibility for what each of these posts says but much wisdom has been shared to improve them.

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