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

JCD 1235


This docket item was sent in by an activist group in the West Africa Central Conference.  The Council does quite well telling about what happened and who brought the matter to them.  It even cited the concerns of the Council of Bishops who challenged the African group’s request in support of the bishop that the group said was improperly elected.

Again calling this a “decision” instead of a memorandum despite ruling that it had no jurisdiction, the Judicial Council pointed out that the group raising the challenge had no standing to do so under the Discipline.  They said there were irregularities that did not have “legal merit warranting a judicial (Note: “Judicial Council” is intended by the word “judicial”) decision.”

I wish they had said, “While these irregularities warrant legal attention, unfortunately, this is not the forum to handle that.”  Someone needed to let the activist group know about attending the central conference meeting and raising their questions there.  And they could have brought written complaints against the person in question so that the person’s annual conference could investigate and perhaps try the person involved.  Occasionally, there are political factions that protect one of their own from such investigation and that faction might have included the bishop who would have received and dropped the complaints that may have been sent in.  The Council of Bishops might want to be a little more discreet about how they approach the Judicial Council because they could have been triangulated into a bad situation and they really should avoid appearing to rule on a church law matter where potential complaints may be involved.

What is left for this activist group is to challenge any misconduct they see after the newly elected bishop in question commits a chargeable offense. 

The Council provided some understanding of the situation by sharing the information that it did.  Hopefully, this commentary supplements that for the consideration of the activists involved.

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