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

JCM 1354

No Jurisdiction, same as JCM 1347

The California Pacific Annual Conference tried the same tactic as the Denmark Annual Conference.  A request for a declaratory decision needs to relate to something specific before or pending before this annual conference, which was not shown in this case either.  But the Council rejected Cal-Pac’s attempt for an additional reason.  

The Council clarified something that has not always been clear: how many votes are needed to pass on to the Judicial Council a request for a declaratory decision.  The minutes referred to “one fifth” of the members present as the required vote but the Council pointed out that without a specific level of vote identified, the number would be one more than half of the members present and voting.  

The minutes did not include the number of votes involved so it had no way of knowing that the vote was actually sufficient.

By refusing jurisdiction, the Council indicates it does not resolve theological issues nor determine if our theological standards have been illegally changed.  If someone can somehow get into a situation on which a conference must act that involves a theological issue, then the Council might be able to take jurisdiction.  But what could that situation be?

Because of the narrowing of jurisdiction by the Council’s understanding of Church law, it appears the legality of a phrase like “is incompatible with Christian teaching” is up to the General Conference through legislative action.  Or do we leave that to the bishops too?

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