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 22, 2012

April 22, The First Day - The Site

On Sunday morning, thanks to directions from a Florida pastor friend, I found the parking garage next to the convention center. With my carry-on suitcase holding my laptop, books, and papers trailing behind me, and wearing my bright red jacket, I started out to get the lay of the land.

I walked across the street and walked through the whole building. In the foyer on the second floor, the registration booth was being put up along with ones for first aid and information.

On huge placards on both sides of the foyer were printed the icons of sponsors of the General Conference. That astonished me. Previous General Conferences had their expenses covered by amounts in the quadrennial budget and from registration fees of visitors.

As I walked passed those sponsor signs up to the main area where the conference was to be held, the only other people in the area were two bishops that I knew quite well and their wives. The Council of Bishops had been meeting all week in Tampa and they had just finished. We exchanged pleasantries, commented on how odd it was to have the conference paid for by sponsors, and I went on to explore the site.

Many of the sponsors are denominational institutions: a couple seminaries, an insurance company, and some UM foundations. Some were not: United Health Care, the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, a local hospital (that may have been one of ours years ago?), and Travel Portland (where General Conference will be held in four years).

I wondered if the Koch brothers might be involved….

At the third level of the center, agency displays and Cokesbury were also under construction on the west end of the great hall. On the east end, there were piles of round tables on the floor in the plenary area that workmen were putting up. The distance from where the main stage/podium was to the furthest table had to be over 100 yards. I thought having binoculars would be a good idea.

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