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, July 20, 2017

JCD 1339

Standing of a Wesley Foundation Pastor

My experience with Wesley Foundation is that from its ranks come pastors and lay leadership.  Those still with the church at that point in their life, many of whose generation will not return to the church until they have children of Sunday School age, have often become strong participants in local churches upon graduation from college.  Not having someone in leadership in the Wesley Foundation or the higher education program of the conference would be leaving out an important voice related to the future of the Church.  

But in this West Michigan case, the bishop felt it necessary to close down that option by noting that the Wesley Foundation was not a church but an adjunct to the conference Board of Higher Education and the pastor only an employee of that Board.  The nomination of that pastor who is a Local Pastor was for an open seat on the Leadership Council, and not as a representative required by conference rules.

Church law sometimes works against the best interests of the Church.  Most of the time, it saves us from serious problems and provides for the ground rules for us to cooperate in the most effective way, based on long experience.  There usually are good reasons for laws to be passed.  But there are times laws (conference rules, etc.) are used to prevent legitimate concerns from being handled reasonably.  

The Council can only work with what is given and what the law is.  They are not always in a position to deal with a possible conference political conflict or other dynamic that might be involved.  Hopefully, the parties involved may seek a legislative change in the conference rules or see if there is another way to resolve the concerns of both sides.

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