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 1287



In JCD 1275, the Council called on General Conference to revise Paragraph 413 so it would be more complete.  However, here in JCD 1287, it appears to find no flaws in it when, as I suggest in the commentary on JCD 1275, Paragraph 413 is read “in toto” with Paragraph 363 ff and 2701 ff.

It appears to me that the Western Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops was in a real bind about how to proceed with a complaint against one of their number who conducted a same sex marriage in another jurisdiction.

At issue seems to be the meaning of “forthwith” in Paragraph 2704.1.  That directs sharing the complaint immediately with the other bishops in the college, and with the church counsel as well the bishop under complaint.

Paragraph 413 calls for a confidential supervisory response to occur before distributing the complaint beyond the respondent bishop, especially before a church counsel even had to be selected.

The Council resolved this by comparing Paragraphs 413 and 363 and ruling that the pattern in Paragraph 363 supercedes Paragraph 2704.1’s hastier timeline.

While I agree with the decision, I wonder if the real concern among the bishops was what a church counsel would do with the complaint as far as investigating and writing up a judicial complaint before the supervisory response resolved the case.  I do not think anyone doubted the College of Bishops would obtain a “just resolution” so that the bishop would not be tried in a trial that would be in the public eye for a long time.  The just resolution was to occur within the confidential context of the supervisory response.  While there would be no transparency that way, there would be a much smaller public profile of the event than a trial, even if the result was questionable.  

This case is simple in that it did not require comparing all of Paragraph 413 with other sections on fair process.  I see no bias in this decision.  Law can be so arcane, so dull, at times.

But the right of an accused person to seek just resolution before the complaint becomes public in any sense is an important right for all of us, including bishops.  Now if we can only keep complaints from getting out to the whole Cabinet before the supervisory response is concluded, we might be better off.

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