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.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


It is hard to talk about General Conference here in Fort Worth without talking about the saints that surround us . . . in blue and red vests, saying, “How may I help?”

No, I’m not talking about Wal-Mart!

The pastors and lay people of the Central Texas Conference have bent over backward to make everyone welcome. They don’t seem to care whether the name tags are in blue covers, green covers, black covers, or red. They treat everyone with a smile and an earnest wish to be helpful.

The ultimate hospitality I’ve seen so far was last night for a group from Africa who flew in around 9 o’clock. They arrived with no money and they had not eaten supper. They were counting on the per diem the General Conference offers to each delegate as their cash flow once they got here. And that office was closed by then.

One of the clergy in the group of volunteers found a translator and learned of their plight. His first step was to ask me to lend him four hundred dollars! He’d done me a number of favors already and I wanted to oblige him. I didn’t have close to that amount for the whole two weeks I will be here. He grinned and told me to go on. He’d “figger somethin’ aout.”

The way he said that last word, it was in three syllables.

When I saw him this morning, I asked how it was resolved. He said that he went to their hotel with them. The dining room was still open. They were allowed to charge their meals to their rooms. Problem solved and my friend didn’t have a funny looking entry on his VISA card bill to explain to his wife!

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