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.


Monday, October 1, 2007

A Bridge

Ever since our Union in 1968, our denomination has been split over many issues and each General Conference since has seen many wondering if we would come out whole at the end.

We’ve limped along and held together.

In the field of advocacy and care-giving, we have discovered that split is irrelevant to our work. Most of us have clear opinions on all the controversial issues the Church faces and yet we find the greater concern to be a lack of commitment on the part of too many of our church leaders to follow the Discipline.

As you can imagine, that statement means some different things to various associates. But that still means we can work together to counter the institutional culture that allows Cabinet members to treat clergy and laity shabbily. We are still a part of the same denomination and so working together has been an energizing and helpful process.

Perhaps the denomination will allow a split. We hope not but should it happen, I fully expect that AIA will still bridge that for a generation since the lessons we have learned about how the arrogant want to handle their power and how church law and advocacy can counter that will be an ongoing struggle in both. Since we will each claim the same tradition, there is every likelihood that the segments of the split denomination will start out with the same polity. Hopefully, we will be able to influence how Fair Process is to be handled, and even then I expect we will be very similar or want to be!

The other thing I’ve noticed is that autocratic attitudes are not peculiar to one end of the political spectrum. They come from any theological background and use that background to justify their behavior. No wonder Jesus emphasized, “By their fruit ye shall know them!” He had friends and enemies among all the factions that made up the Judaism of his day. Why should we expect anything different in our day?

John Wesley may have been fussy about who stayed in the Classes but he never removed them from church membership nor did he care from what theological background others came who wanted to work with him. “If your heart is as my heart, give me your hand.”

So AIA will not take a stand on the unity or split of our denomination. We are here to serve anyone and we are willing to work together in hopes for a humane and just future based on things like the Golden Rule rather than on who our theological gurus may be.

Jerry Eckert


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