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 1319

JCD 1319

May the Bishops Change the Conference Meeting Time?


Next question?

The decision is clear.  What is not clear is why a delegate from the Congo Central Conference had to ask in the first place.  

My speculation is that the bishops wanted to change the date previously set by the conference to one that fit their own needs.  

If the need to change the date were serious, such as a civil war or devastating weather event, the question would never have been raised.  I do not think it is much of a stretch that there was a case of episcopal overreach and it was stopped by seeking the help of the Judicial Council.

But that’s me . . . .

Maybe the most important matter was that the Council took jurisdiction despite the fact that the matter was not before the General Conference in any petition or other action and it dealt with a matter that the General Conference could not handle.  The questioner was allowed to use the plenary to raise a hypothetical question and the Council saw the wisdom of allowing it.

I’ve been aware in the past that the Council tends to relax the rules a bit in order to show respect for concerns of delegates from the central conferences.  

Creative?  Not particularly.  Helpful?  Certainly.  Necessary?  Probably, because bishops were acting outside their authority and they already think that they answer only to God.  But the Judicial Council’s word has a way of sometimes keeping bishops within the bounds of their proper authority.  So it is worth it to make requests for declaratory decisions even when the normal practices of the Council show little promise of getting a meaningful response.  

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