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.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

JCD 1271

Southwest Texas and Rios Grands Annual Conferences began merging as a result of a consolidation voted at Jurisdictional Conference in 2012.  In February, 2014, a preliminary plan was presented to meetimgs of the two conferences where it was ratified.  However, a question of law was asked to assure that the proposal met criteria for mergers and reorganization according to church law, both in the Discipline and in JCDs.
Previous reorganizations tended to give bishops the right of vote on legislative matters, meaning they would have control over both adminsitrative and legislative matters.  Plans have also tended to diminish or eliminate groups in the conference related to history, social concerns, race, and women’s issues.  No matter how many times the Judicial Council has struck down those flaws, conferences persist in making those same errors.
In this case, the bishop ruled that everything was in order, but that he could not go further than that in his ruling until the details, nominations, and budgets had all been prepared.  
After spelling out several major gaps in the plan, the Judicial Council acknowldged that more details were needed and kept jurisdiction so that it could review the final details as well.
Let me add something I saw in Louisiana when the black and white conferences merged after the elimination of the Central Conference in the United States.  It is relevant because these two conferences represent two rethnic groups, Rio Grande being primarily Hispanic and Southwest Texas being Anglo.  The merger in Louisiana did not provide for the support of black institutions like its center for elder care.  Where the black churches had made sure each was supported, the merged conference did not.   I hope the Council will look carefully into that matter with respect to this merger. 

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