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.


Friday, March 10, 2017

JCD 1337

Appealing a Case the Wrong Way

The Statement of Facts about this Great Rivers Annual Conference case is like sitting in on a conversation that should have happened in the Great Rivers Conference office.  That is followed by a broken record rendition of a point of law.  To add to the disarray, I think the Council didn’t really want to reverse the bishop’s ruling but rather just say it does not stand as a legal ruling under church law.  The bishop’s response does not even state law but says the questioner misrepresented what was actually happening.  The matter appears to have been a lot of miscommunication for reasons that could be blamed on either or both sides.

I have seen cases where what was said by Church officials differed from what they actually did.  There is not enough information in this decision to be able to raise that question.

Pity the Council for being drawn into this case.  While it appears misunderstandings could have been worked out by a neutral third party, the advocate tried to use the Council for that purpose.  Being so far away from the problem and having so limited amount of time to deal with it, the Council had practically no way the to resolve things.  And on top of that, there are the legal reasons the Council really had no jurisdiction.

Just as I am suggesting the Secretary have the authority to respond immediately when cases come in without all the proper documentation, I’m wondering if he or a small team from the Council could have the authority to request that certain questions like these be handled by mediation or consultation with GCFA, GBHEM, AIA, JUSTPEACE, or some other agency that might have the competence to resolve the matter rather than take up the time of the Council.  I better add that such referrals may run up onto church law difficulties that the Council should address, so jurisdiction should not be lost.

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