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.


Monday, April 20, 2009

AIA Reminder

Associates in Advocacy

Dear Colleague,

This is one of the three times of the year when pastors “disappear.”

You probably have not seen them at clergy meetings or cluster Bible studies or any of the usual places you see UM ministers. The last month or two, they have stopped coming and probably have not called you for anything. We are so busy we do not always notice, especially the ones who are quieter, less assertive, and/or female.

This is appointment time and the Cabinets tend to cull out the pastors that church folks are complaining about. It may be the fifth time in five years that those same complainers have wanted to run off the pastor. But now that the Discipline is more ambiguous about the right of appointment of conference members, some DSs will tell vulnerable pastors that they are no longer appointable, to tell no one about it, and to be out of the parsonage by July 1. In those conferences which have transition-out-of-ministry programs, the DS may or may not get them enrolled.

Once the pastor no longer has any hope of appointment or of legitimate critique or of positive alternatives, they tend to stop relating to other ministers, especially when they are told not to.

So, get out the map of your area (district plus others that you know nearby) and ask yourself when was the last time you saw this pastor or that one. If you haven’t seen them since February, call and make sure they are all right.

When you find one such “disappeared” pastor, check the articles in our website:
http://www.aiateam.org/. Click on the “Practical Help” and then scan for articles which are the most pertinent given the “disappeared’s” circumstances in the sections for “Pastors,” “Advocates,” and “Care Givers”. Not all can be changed, but some can.

Call me (941 743 0518) if you have any questions.

Your friend,


PS to the bishops – I send out this warning every year to the people on my AIA mailing list all over the country. I’ve been doing it for over twenty years. Same massage. Same problems with Cabinet members who are lousy at personnel work. It is usually first year DSs, but not always. I hope it does not come up in your conference. Feel free to call me if you want to talk about it. - You’d think by now someone training DSs would have figured out how to prevent this kind of persistent travesty.

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