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.


Monday, February 16, 2009

February letter to the Bishops

Dear Bishop,

Hawai’i is the site of a three week Elderhostel Ann and I attended in January. It was my gift to Ann for hanging in there with me for 50 years. We heard about geology, culture, history, and botany. I strongly recommend that you consider going yourself, if you have not already had the privilege.

Let me share one small bit of Hawai’an history. The Tahitians brought the Kapu (taboo) system when they populated the islands. The previous Marquesan migrations were overwhelmed by the size, arrogance, and technology of the kings from Tahiti.

No matter who your ancestors were, as one of those early Hawai’ians you headed for cover or fell on your face when one of the rulers came around. Warnings by use of conch horns and a colorful standard leading the procession let everyone know the leader was coming. Anyone found standing, let alone trying to engage the fine personage in conversation without his permission, was immediately slain.

Kapu was used to maintain the power of the leaders and its values swept throughout all Hawai’an human interaction, to the benefit of those rulers. For example, it was Kapu (forbidden) for the women to eat with the men (that rule went both ways) or even for women to touch the food prepared for the men. Violation meant instant death.

But the Kapu system came to an end in an odd way.

The death of King Kamehameha in 1819 was unexpected. The heir, Kamehameha II, was too much of a tippler and was three sheets to the wind when the banquet honoring his ascension was held.

Queen Ka’ahumanu carefully guided the new king past the men’s table and sat him AT THE WOMEN’S TABLE. Since the king was the primary enforcer of Kapu, that drunken act led to the unraveling of the religious and political grounds for the unfettered life-and-death authority enjoyed by the privileged leaders.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy thinking about the possible lessons that this story provides.

Mahalo. (Thank you.) Aloha. (Blessings on you.)

In the covenant of the clergy,