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.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

No Large Southern Church Left Behind

Rev. Jeremy Smith wrote an article for “United Methodist Insight” under this title. You can read it for yourself at:

Having served in the Wisconsin Conference, having lived in the New Orleans area and now in Florida, and having associates from all over the country, I came to the conclusion some years ago that the southern jurisdictions were excellent at politics and the other three were oriented around program. You can see it in the sophistication of respective jurisdictional structures and property holdings.

While it seemed that theology was close to splitting the United Methodist Church at General Conferences since 1984, it hasn’t happened. I believe it is because those who want to control the denomination don’t want to lose the properties (think NYC and Washington DC) and the name recognition.

As Rev. Smith points out, the Call to Action in combination with the hegemony of large southern churches may set up a situation where the power-oriented folks could do what the Southern Baptist Church did, drive out women and those who were more liberal, and take control of the property of the denomination. And to get that power, they are politicizing the burgeoning African church to join their voting block.

What these southern leaders fail to recognize is that among the African leaders there may be an even higher level of sophistication about power. It is no small matter that many conservative Episcopalian congregations give their allegiance to an African bishop.

So imagine if Call to Action passes General Conference and the bishops get their “set aside” bishop only to have an especially astute African get that new post.

Rev. Smith has done us a great service by analyzing the leadership of the drive to pass Call to Action. He did it without mentioning a word about theology. I think the energy of evangelicals is being manipulated as a diversion.

Now if only someone could “follow the money” so that we would know who has been funding this effort.

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