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.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

JCD 1318

Mandatory Penalties

Before my commentary, let me note, Dear Reader, that the text of the decision repeats itself.  Such editorial mistakes are uncommon in the work of the Council.  The digital age puts such a premium on speed that you will see more in the future.  The last I heard, once the decisions are posted, it is impossible to correct them.

Regarding the decision, the Council turned back an effort by conservatives to counter what was happening in the enforcement of the church laws about homosexual issues.  Several Conferences have chosen not to remove pastors who violated Paragraphs 2702.1(a) and (b) among others.  So legislation was proposed and then passed by the Judiciary Legislative Committee to mandate a year’s unpaid suspension for any pastor admitting to any chargeable offense.

The Council agreed with those who challenged the legislation.  The mandated punishments were unconstitutional because they put into the hands of the General Conference matters that were the discretion of the annual conference bodies and people dealing with the case.  The whole purpose of seeking just resolution was undermined by the mandates.

I think it helped that almost half of the legislative committee signed the request for a ruling.

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