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.


Friday, November 24, 2017

JCD 1352

Discretion of the Board of Ordained Ministry

The Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference’s Board of Ordained Ministy chose not to recommend a pastor for Elder’s Orders even though it appeared she had fulfilled the first 13 criteria listed in Paragraph 324.  When the bishop was asked if the Board could withhold her being recommended even though at one point she had passed by the proper 3/4th vote, the bishop said the Board has that discretion because the 14th requirement is the Board’s written recommendation.

In my experience, such an action is highly unusual.  The Boards never do something like that after all the work they and the candidates have put in.  

There must be some unusual extenuating circumstance involved.  From the text of the decision, it appears that the candidate’s sexual orientation and relationships are in question, something that apparently finally got under someone’s skin after the Board’s vote.

I’ve known of bishops, Board chair persons, and superintendents who have intervened to scuttle a pastor’s attempt to be ordained despite the candidates having excellent records.

But in this case, it appears it was the Judicial Council that caused the switch.  The Board’s vote was probably in March, 2017, but the April session of the Council produced rulings that pushed Boards to explore further any indication about each candidate’s sexual orientation and whether or not it extends into actual sexual relationships.

At least this time, a bishop clearly paid attention to things the Council has said.

One more thing:  The Council has not spent any time on urging Boards to explore with new candidates their heterosexual orientation and whether or not it extends into actual sexual relationships.  Doesn’t that have the potential of sparking speculation!

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