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.


Friday, May 2, 2008


I used to be on our conference's journal committee and be responsible for reporting on the accuracy of the minutes of the conference secretary. Rev. Bill Stevens, who was ours for many years, began each day's minutes with something like, "The sun shown brightly and the air was cool as conference members took their seats."

I have been remiss in not saying more about the weather.

This is Texas so you can imagine how the weather has been here. And it was.

The first night, the chair of the GC Commission talked to us about all the basic things of managing the Conference, including keeping an eye on the weather. He said, "That is what we are doing now."

We were aware of the sound of rain on the roof of the arena. The streets were slightly wet when we left the arena later that night.

The next morning, the newspaper reported tornadoes had touched down on towns north of Fort Worth.

That day and for several days following, the temperatures were in the low fifties each morning and the air was very dry. Delegates from tropical areas and many others were shivering in their seats and looking for anything to cover their shoulders and arms because the arena was so cool, even in the plenary and meeting rooms.

T-shirts and sweatshirts sold out at Cokesbury. Someone brought in boxes of small blankets.

Cokesbury brought in jackets that I would wear in Wisconsin on a cold fall or spring day. They sold out!

They were worn the rest of the two weeks.

There was one day that a gully washer hit as I was taking the train back to Richland Hills. As I walked the three blocks to the train, the wind blew what was a light rain against my suit slacks as I cowered under an umbrella, something contrary to my training in ROTC during college, but which kept my head dry anyway.

But as I got off the train, it was a major down pour. And the wind was strong and swirling enough that it tore up the umbrella and made it impossible to close the car door for several seconds.

There were no reports of tornadoes the next day.

Since then, the skies stayed cloudy for several days and it was cool again.

These closing days, the sun has shown brightly and the jackets and shawls have been worn only inside the arena. But the wind outside is blowing something fierce. One of the hundred foot wide tributaries of the Trinity River had whitecaps!

Like Wisconsin where I grew up, Texas has the saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes."

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