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.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

African delegates

Most of the European delegations tend to agree with the left wing of the American Church. Those from Central and South America, Asian countries, and Africa tend to be strongly opposed to homosexuality.

Most of those who spoke against the proposal that Christians should agree to disagree on this issue were African. One opened his statement by saying that homosexuals were the spawn of the devil. Fortunately, the discussion went uphill from there, though the underlying tone was, as I wrote earlier, the Scriptures are God's word and to not accept their prohibitions on homosexuality is unchristian.

There are moderates from all those same countries who tend to be no less than uncomfortable about homosexuality.

So there they sat in the midst of these protests by U. S. delegates and visitors. They are very unsure why the American church has such strong feelings and that there are so many who are for homosexuality.

But many African delegates have no such doubts. The power and depth of their commitment to not tolerate homosexuality has made the right-wing very pleased and has made them allies.

Part of the right-wing agenda is to transform the United Methodist Church into a Scripture-believing global church.

With the help of many African delegates, the right wing won this series of battles.

But the GC went ahead on the recommendation of legislative committees to regionalize the global church. Instead of us calling the rest of the UMC outside the United States "missionary conferences" (that terminolgy was laid to rest a couple decades ago) or "central conferences" (our current terms), GC voted today to shift to "regional conferences" to equalize the way we now see the church. Each regional conference stands as an equal with the church in the US.

I think the rest of the world is most glad to separate from us so they will have less to have to explain when they go home from GC! They'll be able to say, "Those crazy Americans are no longer the dominant force in the UMC. We are all equal. And we don't have to deal with homosexuality their way."

Suddenly, maybe the "African strategy" employed by the right has effectively broken up the hegemony they seek to control the whole denomination.

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