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.


Thursday, May 1, 2008


The logistics of eating are most difficult.

An early blog referred to the bishop who preached the opening sermon and then presided over the opening plenary which followed immediately after. She had not eaten since breakfast and was desperate for something to eat.

I heard several times of delegations from overseas arriving and, having had little or no food during their long flights, were depending on promised meals upon their arrival which did not happen right away.

A friend greeted me tonight with, "I need some cookies. I haven't had time for supper and I can't go out till after I've finished what I'm doing."

I am fortunate to be staying with a pastor and can drive to the grocery store or to a nearby cafeteria/restaurant anytime I am at the parsonage. That way, I can slip snacks into my bag along with my Discipline and conference materials.

But most of the delegates and staff can't get away. They are working from 8 in the morning or earlier until 11 pm or later every day.

The restaurants around the arena are two or more blocks away. Most of the delegates handle that well, walking six or more blocks sometimes to get to some of the more tasty places. Not all of us are that energetic or able.

That leaves two choices, 1) have an outlander like me shop on a regular basis for needed finger foods to have at the table or 2) hit the cookies.

Women and men all over the Central Texas Conference baked thousands of cookies. The baskets holding packages of three cookies are no longer piled high but they still are laid out as a snack for delegates and staff and visitors.

Today, I worked my way through three little bags, one as a mid-morning snack, one as lunch, and one for "pie time."

Ann and I established "pie time" some months ago as a way to reward ourselves for eating smaller meals and as a way to make sure we get all the calories we need.

Eating too few calories causes the body to think it is starving so it changes everything into fat anyway! Eat just enough calories and your body uses them all up and you can lose a little at a time.

My normal diet does not include homemade cookies.

But for General Conference, hey, they are a manifestation of the grace of God!

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