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.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Other changes to be discussed

A friend at GC (I'm home waiting for my meds to kick in) says that on the floor right now is the discussion of cutting the number of bishops. The expense of having a bishop can mean an expenditure of a million dollars a year for office, staff, salary and benefits, and parsonage. And the general church finances are stretched out of shape right now.

Any plan probably will not go into effect until 2012. With the economy going down as it has, bishops may have to consider taking interim cuts in their income package to ease the burden on the denomination.


Coming up may be a resolution to change the denomination's constitution. A petition would drop the categories noted in the sentence that is the basic rights passage in Paragraph 4. That list has grown over the years: "race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition." Gender and sexual orientation haven't been added though there have been attempts on the latter the last two GCs, which the conservatives beat back.

By dropping the list completely, leaving the passage to read "every human being is of sacred worth," some conservatives suddenly would be left with no way to exclude homosexuals without adding "except for practicing homosexuals."

The argument that is brought by them is that if the issue is left completely open, then pastors could not exclude neo-nazis, murderers, swingers, and KKK from participating in and joining the church.

As if they were not already members . . . .

Anyway, by retaining the longer list, it can be pointed our that "sexual orientation" is not on the list and therefore allows for excluding them.

I'll try to let you know how that turns out.


GC dropped the extra words from that passage. Since it is in the constitution, that will require most of the annual conferences to pass on it. The conservatives have another shot at defeating it, only they will have to do it in the conferences.


A study group has been set up to consider regionalizing our global church so that each geographical segment of the denomination can establish practices and rules that are based on their cultures and not on Western or American culture.

The debate on the floor before passage addressed the issue of maintaining the distinctively Methodist character in diverse places. For example, should the Social Principles be maintained all across the world? I think that was upheld. But try teaching in some African and Central and South American countries that sexual orientation should be respected.

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