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.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Concluding thoughts on the 2013 Spring Session

This was a weird docket for the Judicial Council.  Of the ten items on it, there were two actual decisions, both dealing with bishops in trouble, one of whom they relieved and one of whom they didn’t.  In addition, there were four items seeking reconsideration which were all denied, there were two where the Council held it had no jurisdiction, one case was remanded to the bishop to answer the questions and one was held over because the secretary of the conference did not send in the minutes.

That the session was not apparently very productive was largely because of rules of procedures.  The wrong group tried to raise an issue, questions were asked but without written texts, jurisdiction was not properly taken into account by those appealing, and the Council had the authority to refuse to reconsider without rationale.

In most of the cases, the Council provided pretty good statements of facts so that the reader can have a good taste of the grounds for the attempt to get a ruling as well as some measure of explanation for their decisions.  Even so, my sense of the Council’s work this time is that they did not “bring their ‘A’ game.”  It appeared to me that they missed the wisdom of two of their experienced members who were unable to attend the session.

The Council, like the rest of the Church, is a very human institution.  Like the rest of us, they do not always get everything right.  It is incumbent on the rest of us to be all the help we can so they can rise to the occasion and do the right thing for the right reasons as often as possible.

And the Council has to be ready to stand up to the prejudices and pressures they face in order to do their job.  That is not always easy. . . .   And they may not be the best option to rectify a situation even if they are the court of last resort.  

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