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


I'm not the only one who felt the effects of the exhausting pace of General Conference.

Rev. Rebekah Miles of Arkansas wrote the following for UMNexus Blog:

"A person who has lost a lot of sleep will experience the same impairments as someone who’s had a couple of margaritas. If you go 24 hours without sleep or go a week with only five hours of sleep a night, like many General Conference delegates, you are just as impaired as someone with a .10 percent blood alcohol level.

"Sleep deprivation is linked to poor judgment, increased irritability and anxiety, and lowered productivity and social skills.

"In one study, researchers found only one difference between those who went 24 hours without any sleep and those who went for a week with only five or so hours a night: Those with no sleep at all recognized that they were messed up!"

She said that the effort to save money by shortening the General Conference only produced a frantic pace that wore out everyone. They had to pack the same amount of work into fewer days and five hours of sleep a night was not enough.

Despite my getting back every day but one to the parsonage where I stayed, napping up to three hours on occasion, it still has taken me days to recuperate.

Okay, so I am an old duffer and can't handle the pace. Rev. Miles looks to be in her mid-thirties, the prime of her life. And she still speaks of the wear and tear she suffered. Another friend observed in a telling way how he felt three days after, "I survived."

I found my ministry at General Conference was trying to get the volunteers who were there from 7 in the morning to 11 at night to take naps. The coordinator of volunteers was so tired she told me that she told all the volunteers about resting during the day, though none of them remembered her having done it.

That illustrates Rev. Miles' point. Sleep deprivation makes us do goofy things like rationalize because we are too tired to think straight. That coordinator was always there and put in 16 hour shifts nearly every day of the conference.

I've commented that bishops have to be hale and hardy to stand the rigors of their jobs. At General Conference, the bishops have a place to sit during the plenary sessions, up on the stage in front of everyone. But there were seldom more than a dozen or so of the fifty active and one hundred retired bishops in their seats during plenary sessions. Even they couldn't handle the pace!

Finally, many legislative committees reported out on petitions with total votes of 37 out of the 100 assigned to them. There were a lot who did not stay around to the end of those sessions. Beside the two censure petitions, one can wonder what else did not get a full committee's consideration.

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