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.


Monday, May 12, 2008


I referred earlier to the problem many delegates had with the cool temperatures and low humidity they experienced here at GC.

But what of the rest of the delegates, particularly those from the US? Was clothing an issue for those prepared for the temperatures?

Actually, the next biggest issue was foot comfort. I saw a lot of cross training shoes on men and women. Walking is an issue which shiny stylish leather shoes do not really resolve comfortably!

The clothing was mostly informal, long khaki pants and short sleeve shirts not tucked in were most common among the male delegates and visitors. I would say forty percent were so dressed.
By the third day of conference, I went shopping for two cotton slacks and two dark cotton shirts. Along with my New Balance 608s, I was set for the rest of the time I was there.

Suits and ties were on about 20% of the male delegates and ninety percent of the male bishops.

That kind of tells you who belongs to which street gang! (Update: I wish I’d thought of that during GC. I might have been able to put numbers and names to that possibility. The other explanation has to do with appearing professional and that would cross all lines of formal and informal groupings.)

The American women clergy tended to wear heels and “business” apparel, by which I mean anything from dark suits to colorful skirts and jackets. There were times I saw some of the women in jeans with their hair down and in sweat shirts, but those were not very often because women constituted a large percentage of the presenters on the conference floor and in the leadership of the committees and sub-committees.

Among the folks from overseas, the Europeans tended to dress less formally, men and women. The Central and South Americans did not seem to dress distinctively. Nor was I aware of Asian garb except on some of the women who wore filmy skirts that hung to their ankles and looked like they would catch in the escalators. I was always nervous following them because I did not have a scissors to cut them loose if their skirts got caught.

Far and away the most color came from some of the African delegates, especially the women. Some women wore headdresses made of the same colorful materials of their fulsome dresses. They were worn with dignity and grace. (I also felt some degree of arrogance among them . . . .)
The African men wore many different things. Most were in suit and ties much of the time. Those from the poorer countries probably only had one or two such outfits bought specifically for GC. But some had very colorful garb native to their country which they wore on occasion. Those same delegates also ended up wearing khakis, short sleeve shirts, and sports jackets to face the cold dry air of the arena.

On the warmer days, some of the visitors wore shorts common among us Floridians.

I did not wear my shorts downtown. But I did start out wearing my suit and nice slacks we had bought for me to wear in 2004.

After the rainstorm soaked my suit coat and slacks, especially after seeing how the delegates tended not to be dressed up, I stuck with the khakis, dark short-sleeved shirts, and comfortable walking shoes.

I mailed back most of my good clothes well ahead of flying home. I did keep my suit and shirt and tie in case the Judicial Council invited me in to discuss the two papers I offered to them, one on basic approach to dealing with cases and the other on the issue of recusing.

No surprise, the suit stayed in the closet the rest of the conference.

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