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, August 13, 2015

JCD 1285



The Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference used a discussion technique of breaking into small groups to discuss a variety of social issues.  The body then, havng voted to lay aside normal rules of parliamentary processes, voted on and passed all of the resolutions.  A pastor, concerned about the lack of opportunity to amend any of them, raised questions of law to see if that process had been in compliance with the Discipline because of not having the right of amending first.  

Without any true grammatical connection, Paragraph 604.1, which relates to discrimination, was noted on the written text.

The Council often is asked to resolve a parliamentary dispute, which this clearly is.  That is not one of the things about which General Conference has given them authority, as they have just as often responded.  

Because the written question included the phrase “request for a ruling of law,” the bishop dealt with it accordingly.  The Council then chose to look at it and respond.  Instead of saying the request was just parliamemntary, as it could have, given the lax addition of an irrelevant passage of the Discipline, the Council showed its respect and patience.  After due analysis, it showed the paragraph had not been violated since no one was left out of the process leading up to the vote.

The questioner should have raised his concern about amending when the motion to suspend the rules came up.  If the bishop had made the parliamentary ruling that under the suspended rules, no amendments would be heard, the questioner could have amended the motion to suspend the rules by adding the possibility to amend.  He failed to do that.  That made his “after-the-fact” request moot.  

When the questioner could not find a relevant disciplinary passage, he pulled something  out the air in hopes it would validate his question.  The Council actually honored it, though, of course, showing it had no impact on the actual behavior of the conference.

I hope only one of the Council members was required to handle the preparation of this decision.  The docket was exhaustingly full and had some very important cxhallenges to resolve!

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