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.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Was I wrong!

Based on all the votes we have taken in General Conference in which the moderates and liberals routed the conservatives, I was stunned that they got an affirming vote for an amendment to the Social Principles that marriage is one man/one woman. It was close, about 100 or so votes apart.

The bishop who chaired the session seemed to favor that.

When questioned from the floor, he said that whatever the Social Principles said was binding on every United Methodist world-wide. That changed the complexion of the vote.

Only a handful of folks know that the Social Principles themselves in their preamble describe them to be for "instruction and persuasion." (See page 95 of the 2004 Book Of Discipline, third paragraph.) So a lot of good people, knowing our international delegates represent cultures which have become anti-homosexual based on Scripture (one African delegate even quoted Martin Luther's "Sola Scriptura" as his basis for believing homosexuality is a sin), may have voted for their sake.

Another opinion is that many foreign delegates were given free cell phones for use in the United States while they are at GC with the hope they would support the conservative group's proposals with their vote . . . .

The actual petition that passed was really a good one with the exception that it did not acknowledge that Christians may differ and that it restricted any understanding of marriage to one man/one woman.

The conservative coalition may know something about the new Judicial Council the rest of us do not but the consensus I hear is that the Council will not be tied in with the conservative coalition. If the presiding bishop is taken seriously by the new Judicial Council, that the Social Principles are binding, then we may find complaints against all kinds of people for their view on war which may be at odds with the Social Principles, just to mention one.

I don't know if I will go to First Christian Church tomorrow for an all day planning session to respond to today's events. Cool heads will need to prevail over there. But I am not sought out by them (nor anyone else) so I have not got the "street creds" to make a difference there.

I want to watch for the report on the censure petitions. Not making it to every minute of the plenary nor having spent time scouring the Daily Christian Advocate for actions that may have been taken to put them on the consent calendar (probably rejecting them) without any further floor mention about them, I will say no more. When I learn something definitive, I'll post it for you.

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