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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.


Friday, July 25, 2014

JCD 1264



For some years, annual conferences have been paying benefits for same-gender spouses and many have been challenged to the Judicial Council as violations of the Discipline’s provision about supporting agencies promoting homosexuality.

In decisions noted by their numbers in JCD 1264, the Council has been consistent, saying that the conference councils on finance and administration do not by Discipline promote homosexuality.  Further, they note that Paragraph 807.12 of the Discipline disallows violation of the Social Principles which call for equal treatment of all employees, including homosexuals.  

These same arguments are used in this decision to resolve a similar challenge of the General Council on Finance and Administration’s paying benefits to their gay employees’ spouses.

The Council further argues that each of the respective finance and administration groups also have the task of enforcing the rule against money going to groups promoting homosexuality and none had so far found against themselves.  I’m sure someone will raise the issue of conflict of interest because the agencies are policing themselves.  Even if legislation passes in 2016 putting the enforcement role into an independent body, the other two arguments of the Council would stand.

There is a caveat in Paragraph 807.12 that would allow a conference council on finance and administration to choose not to provide benefits for same-gender spouses because it could depend on “local employment conditions.”  I have no information to support my opinion that many conferences, because of local conditions that mitigate against benefits for same-gender spouses, do not provide them now.  Even if that is the case, as civil courts overturn such policies in the communities around the country, annual conferences will eventually provide the benefits.

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