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, May 6, 2008


In 1988, the General Conference accomplished something, establishment of Africa University. The twentieth anniversary of that decision was celebrated as a significant event in the life of our denomination.

We celebrated a large number of such anniversaries: 40th anniversary of the dissolution of the Central (Negro)Jurisdiction and their integration into the rest of the American church; 60th anniversary of Advance, our special process of offering ways to collect money for specific mission projects; 40th anniversary of the Commission on Religion and Race; 100th anniversary of the Social Creed; 100th anniversary of United Methodist Men; and the 100th anniversary of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits.

I'm not sure we will celebrate anything that was done at this General Conference in twenty or forty or a hundred years.

The most important decision made this year was to call Central Conferences "regional" conferences, with the implication that the U. S. church is one "region" among many, and no longer the dominant one. That change in terminology must be supported by the annual conferences, a result which will not be known until mid-2009.

The reality, of course, is that the U. S. church will still be dominant in four years when a task force examining the implications and future direction of United Methodism will report back with possible concrete steps to decentralize the denomination.

As was mentioned earlier, there are those who want the American church to dominate world Methodism in order to dominate its theology and its resources. They have four years to disrupt the study commission and then to torpedo any plan that undercuts their dreams of complete control.

Otherwise, this General Conference will go down in history as doing little for which to go down in history.

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