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 1293

 HYPERLINK "http://www.umc.org/decisions/61962/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6IlwvZGVjaXNpb25zXC9zZWFyY2gtcmVzdWx0cyJ9" http://www.umc.org/decisions/61962/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6IlwvZGVjaXNpb25zXC9zZWFyY2gtcmVzdWx0cyJ9


The Council deferred requests for rulings from the bishop re: appointive Cabinet, a non-Disciplinary group bishops have formed by adding whomever they wished to participate in consultations about appointments along with superintendents.  The deferral was to give the conference secretary a chance to send all pertinent documents.  The Council saw the original written request was not included in the paper work and very nearly refused jurisdiction because it had not been presented at conference, thus violating the basic rules about raising questions of law.  But the questioner’s written request accompanied the other ruling asked of the bishop.  So the Council deferred and allowed the Conference Secretary a chance to find the written question if one existed.

Interesting thing: the secretary had forgotten to include the original request in the package.  How long have I been complaining about someone at the Council not pursuing all the documents as soon as there appeared to be something missing, which would be when everything was to be sent in, and not just before the meeting of the Council?

What makes this ruling really interesting is that there must have been a very strong discussion about jurisdiction of the Council once the concern for the original written questions was resolved.  The dissenting opinion, something rarely written unless the writer feels very strongly about the matter (some are unwise ego trips but that kind is even rarer).  This time the dissenting opinion pointed out that the conference had indeed dealt with the rules including who was to be on the appointive Cabinet.  The action was essentially just affirming the conference rules and policies without specific reference to the issue of membership on the appointive Cabinet.

Perhaps if the questioner had specifically tied the questions to that conference action, the Council might have accepted it.  With this Council, that is unlikely.  They want more specificity.

The session of the Council also very likely had quite a to-do about the lack of Disciplinary support for there even being an “appointive” Cabinet.  The concurring opinion really wished the questioner had made a request for the issue to be for a declaratory decision rather than addressing it as a question of law to the bishop.  If the questioner had done that, there might have been a very interesting challenge to the Council of Bishops’ cavalier approach about doing things their own way rather than in compliance with the Discipline.  

I’m not the only one smelling something bad behind the question.  I feel bad that I was not in a position to do these commentaries until now.  Had I been timely, maybe the questioner might have gotten word to either bring a motion related to changing the rule about who could be on the appointive Cabinet or could have framed his question to go to the Council under Paragraph 2610 instead of under Paragraph 2609.  

Unfortunately, the dissenting opinion did not prevail and the questioner did not pick the right arrow out of the quiver.  Hence, the result was a “moot and hypothetical” ruling.

Will this become a warning to the bishops?  If I’m right about them, they won’t pay any attention.  They are above the Discipline.  It’s called “King of the Hill” syndrome or Success Sickness.  

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