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.


Sunday, April 13, 2008


NEWSCOPE has been publishing a series on the ten priorities which several leading UM folks suggest for General Conference. I think I’ll take a stab at it. My main concerns tend to be attitudinal but I believe good legislation can sometimes lead to better attitudes!

1. We need to be Wesleyan and seek to “go on to perfection in love” as a denomination, not just as individuals. The Plan of Organization and Rules of Order once included a commitment to perfection. The truth of the matter is that, like individuals, our systems also need to go on to perfection in love so that things like patience, respect, understanding, mercy, kindness, etc. can be better manifest to all. The church should show the love of God and neighbor in all its life and activities. That includes how General Conference operates!

2. Bishops and Cabinets must have as their highest priority the success of the pastors and churches to whom they assign them. When those leaders are so busy doing other things and presume that the pastors should be able to handle everything on their own, Cabinets are violating the covenant of the clergy in order to seek their justification in having power, in doing program, or in having the best salary package. When the Cabinet matches a church and pastor, they must take responsibility to do all they can help them both be effective. Nothing else is close to as important.

3. We must be clear that the United Methodist Church holds two conflicting sets of church laws and two sets of Biblical support on the issue of homosexuality. Thus, both sides are right and there can be no peace, only conflict. If we cannot find a concensus, then we must either agree to disagree or continue competing against each other. . . .”Open hearts?”

4. The complaint management system called Fair Process is being disregarded in favor of allowing Cabinets to fire pastors at will. Cabinets sometimes forget that we operate under the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

5. When Bishops and superintendents get out of line and disregard church law when it suits them, no one has successfully brought them to accountability under the current complaint procedures. Being accountable only to themselves has not worked.

6. We must recognize that the greater danger to our unity is not disagreement over theology or Bible interpretation but is really the gathering of all authority at whatever cost into the hands of the leadership of the denomination. The more concentrated the power, the more easily it is corrupted.

7. Finally (my gift to you is not trying for ten!), we must do as John Wesley, Jesus, and Paul did, look at the fruits more than at the beliefs of one another. Are those fruits feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, . . .? Are those fruits patience, kindness, forgiveness, . . .? In every local church I have ever served are Christians who live like this all the time and they never allow anyone to call them saints. When the denomination isn’t hard at work doing these things, we are letting down the strength of our church, those saints.

No comments: