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.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rev. M Stanford Strosahl

Of all the great pastors in Wisconsin that I admired, Stan was at the top of my list.  He was well-organized, had some incredible accomplishments, and really cared about us.
The thing I saw in him that I saw in few others who tried to get things done in our conference was his remarkable awareness of the people and agencies he needed to have on his side when he worked on something.  He worked behind the scenes to develop important things so that by the time annual conference came, he never had to get up and argue his concern from the floor of the plenary.  With very few exceptions, his name was not on important actions.  His political skills were remarkable, all because he did not need the attention.  The work was the most important to him when it came to being active in the denomination. I never found him into seeking prestige or notoriety.
The exceptions, of course, were building up pensions for retirees and the establishment of the Foundation which has grown into a substantial financial institution.  Because these were so important for helping others, he put himself on the line to assure their success.  Every pastor and nearly every church in our conference has benefitted from his very active efforts into which he poured himself.  He led the efforts for retirees and contributed to their special fund everytime a pastor died, even pastors he didn't know.  And he led the Foundation once the conference followed his lead to establish it.  
Along with these major accomplishments, he brought a measure of accountability and sensitivity to the appointment process.  He helped design and implement the consultation process in which superintendents talked with the pastors and churches and got them together before an appointment was set by the bishop.  Once it had been found to be productive and effective, he led the charge to get it through General Conference and succeeded.  Cabinets around the country use it.  Some bishops still think they should have the freedom to move pastors just because they want to, but pastors have been able to challenge such bad behavior because of Stan's successful efforts.
The thing I appreciated most about Stan was that he maintained warmth and good humor in every interaction I ever had with him.  He welcomed me by correspondence and took me onto his district despite rumors that my attending Perkins meant I would not come home to Wisconsin.  He cared so much about his district that he had a heart attack just before I actually came back from seminary.  I had him as my DS some years later and he brought me into his new district to start a new church.  He did all he could to help me succeed, including playing wiffle ball in our parsonage backyard during a picnic for the new church.  He always took my calls and responded in later years to my emails.  He was the epitome of collegiality and support in the "covenant of the clergy."
I asked hm once how he liked being a superintendent.  He said it was hard work but that it gave him a chance to help pastors, especially new ones.  I asked him what was the down side.  He said. "I really miss having a church during the holidays.  I worked closely with the church folks to develop the special services and felt a personal part of the congregation at those times.  As a DS, I really miss that part of being a pastor." 
I hate that he is no longer with us but I am so grateful for the chance to remember what he meant to me.  It is also a chance for me to remind you, in case you had forgotten, what he gave to our denomination, to our conference, and to us who knew him.

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