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

JCM 1309

Review of JCD 1300 and Archiving Records

Requests for reconsideration are usually turned down, as was this one.  Left undetermined (legally speaking) is the fate of the superintendent a Philippines bishop “unappointed” by email.

I have no idea what additional materials may have been sent along with the request.  Those are in the files of the Judicial Council, probably sent along to the United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History library at Drew Seminary.  I have not visited the Council’s archives to know how well they are cared for and how accessible the files are for research.  I heard many years ago that they were unavailable for 25 years.  Informally, I heard they were not kept in good order at the time.

The General Council on Finance and Administration has been excellent in their keeping of statistics.  I have had the privilege of researching records there (early 1980s).  I was able to look at the actual reports from annual conference Boards of Ordained Ministry.  Unfortunately, those original records were discarded once the data was taken from them and after they were compared with the succeeding year’s report.  The historical phenomenon I researched was the transition from transferring troubled pastors to other conferences to give them a new lease on life to using cabinet-initiated leave of absence to punish them.  Such record keeping really helps those who want to understand a lot about our history and denomination.

Getting back to judicial records, I tried to research the records from jurisdictional appellate committees which might be needed for appeals, according to Paragraph 2609.8 of the Book of Discipline.  Should a decision of one jurisdictional committee on appeals differ on the same issue from that of another jurisdiction, that is grounds for appeal.  When I sought out the records of a different jurisdiction to see if I could find such a discrepancy, the secretary of that jurisdiction said he had no idea whatever happened to appellate records from his jurisdiction.  When I checked with Archives and History, at that time, they had no records of any jurisdictional appellate committee.

But that was many years ago.  I hope someone else may wish to explore whatever extant records are available to gain insight into some of the Council’s cases about which there is no substantive public record and have better luck than I did.

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