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.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Spotted Owls"

Since the first day of GC, a number of young clergy have been seen wearing knit caps that look like owl heads.

They are seminary students and newly ordained clergy who are under 35. They are quietly demonstrating with that funny hat the reality that there are few clergy under 35 in the UMC. They say the reason for that is not a dearth in eligible persons in that age group, but because it takes so long and is so tedious to become an Elder in the church.

Consequently, most UM seminarians are simply going into the UCC or other mainline denominations.

The "spotted owls" are hoping petitions to relieve the excess of time and hoops will be passed by this GC.

They have not been disruptive in any way. They've actually been cute!

Despite taking time away from school to be there, many have persisted into this second week.

There is hope that the delegates from other countries will swing the vote their way because the third world clergy in particular are concerned about those endless requirements in places where their churches are growing at huge rates and clergy are needed.

Like the spotted owl, the young pastors and students are struggling to keep from becoming "extinct" in the UMC.

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