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

The Demonstration

I mentioned in a blog yesterday about the reaction a number of people had to the Judicial Council Decision in which the Council told the Conference it did not have the authority under the church constitution to establish any kind of accountability for the Council or its members.

The anguish which led to the singing of "Jesus Loves Me" during the reading of that lengthy decision to the Conference lay in the fact that the people believed this Judicial Council supported a pastor who allegedly refused church membership to practicing Gay man.

The progressive wing of our church still sees the right wing as prejudiced. And when the right wing wins one of these legislative or judicial battles, it is grievous to left because many of them have adult children who are homosexual, including at least two retired bishops.

Today, after a series of votes yesterday which basically sustained the church's two-fold stand on homosexuality (they are people of sacred worth but we don't want them marrying our kids), the left wing folks met with the bishop who was to preside today in an effort to be able to hold a peaceful demonstration.

Those negotiations led to a break during which the delegates remained in their seats as the protesters filled the central aisle and the cross aisle between the four sections of seating in the plenary. One of the spokespersons for the demonstration was given five minutes at the podium during which he spoke and prayed in a most quiet and gracious manner.

When he was finished, the demonstrators filed out of the arena, a group of about twenty remaining a few extra seconds around a table that has been used for Holy Communion, set in the middle of the "cross" of the aisles. But they too left quietly and the Conference went into their usual morning break.

A video stream of the Conference in session did not show the demonstration. When the presiding bishop was asked, he said he had not been aware that the video-streaming had been cut off. He said he was aware that GC policy has been to not video during breaks.

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