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, November 24, 2017

JCM 1348

No Jurisdiction Again

At the Alaska Annual Conference, a lay delegate requested a declaratory decision on the constitutionality of a passage of the Discipline (Paragraph 2008) which appears to allow the General Commission to hold the Council of Bishops accountable.

Based on the principle that the conference had no action related to that passage about another entity in the denominations structure, the Council had no jurisdiction.  The docket item contained no additional information about why the question was raised.  Was that lay person on the General Commission and witnessed Bishops ignoring the commission’s decisions?  Was the Commission obstructing the Council of Bishops in some way?  Was the questioner the subject of actions related to both groups?  

The Council found nothing in the document sent in to tie the request to a concrete matter.  And the potential for injustice or other harm was not identified, apparently.  

In my experience, most requests or questions of law arise in annual conferences because someone felt or saw a harm and wanted to alleviate the situation or prevent it from occurring.  I have known of past Councils ignoring that kind of information and allowing a ruling that brought no relief one way or the other.  In those cases, key members of the Council were in the “pocket” of a particular bishop or the whole Council of Bishops.

I have been very pleased with the tendency of recent Councils to go into great detail about cases before them.  I have been pleased with the inclusion of the documents related to the docket that are now published prior to each session.  While it might be asking a little too much for the Council to also publish the briefs they receive, it may be helpful for interested parties to be able to contact the parties at interest for copies.  Back-stories on requests like this one might be far more important than they appear as currently published.

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