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

The Value of this General Conference

Probably the most important value was that so many United Methodists got to meet so many others and rediscover just how many wonderful fellow Christians there are world wide!

I've mentioned the saints I've met. The volunteers from the Central Texas Conference are way up there on my list. The folks I have known as far back as 1984 who still attend General Conference are mostly among the saints. I dealt with a number of media folks working for our denomination and they proved to be worthy of genuine esteem. The friendships across national lines may become invaluable.

Whatever machinations or political moves or failures of this quadrennial event, the relationships that we developed will mean something to us for years to come. I really think this is the highest value we received for our time in Fort Worth.

Despite shoving the censure of President Bush under the rug, this body of United Methodists made some policy votes that say how we feel about what the Bush Administration has done:

96% voted that war was incompatible with Jesus' teachings

96% voted urging peaceful resolutions be sought with Iraq, North Korea, and any other world nations and against pre-emptive military actions

96% voted to reduce man-made greenhouse gases

98% voted in opposition to building the Bush library at SMU because of the separation of church and state. (See update below.)

Similarly high percentages voted for protecting undocumented workers and their families with broader immigration reforms

While General Conference voted to retain "homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching" (60%), it also voted to add definitions of homophobia (fear of homosexuality) and heterosexism (discrimination against homosexuals) (60%).

As in so many past General Conferences, this one maintained a steady course down the middle as these delegates perceived it, giving something to the left and something to the right.

But finally, it stayed together. Considering that serious attacks to divide the church by use of hot button issues for the last 36 years, maybe the second greatest value is that we did not divide.


So far, I have not found confirmation of this vote. Though reported this way in the Fort Worth newspaper, the official record of GC says that the vote was to refer the motion by that margin for consideration by the South Central Jurisdictional Conference in July.

The Ministry and Higher Education Legislative Committee, the one that tended to support what the bishops wanted, made the original referral accepted by the plenary without debate.

Most scholars and church law experts believe that the final decision about the Bush facilities at SMU belongs in the hands of the "owners," the jurisdictional conference.

The South Central College of Bishops voted several months ago to okay the placement of the Bush presidential library at SMU. Their action is seen by many to have been inappropriate and a way to get around the Bush Foundation from having to wait till July before starting to build the Bush facilities at SMU.

How could they now rescind a vote they thought was legitimate and have to tell that to President Bush's people?

Perhaps there was some concern to protect the bishops because they wouldn't have to face that if the Bush facilities were under construction by July and thus a vote by the jurisdictional conference would be moot.

1 comment:

A.J.Christianson said...

Why do the Bishops seem to always / mostly get what they want??