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.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

April 22 - Looking for an African Friend

I walked back to the center which was across from the hotel where the denomination housed the delegates from overseas. I was still a little wet from the rain but figured the air-conditioning would dry me off.

The sun had finally come out as I crossed over to the hotel. I went to the desk and they told me how to use a house phone to call one of the African delegates my Wisconsin friend asked me to meet. The clerk said he had checked in yesterday. I called, got no answer, and left a voice mail saying I would be in the lobby with my red coat on, hoping to see him soon.

As I sat waiting, warm and moist, in the midst of dozens of people from all over the world, I pulled out a book to read and I fell asleep. I must have dozed undisturbed for about a half hour. The Asian gentleman in a chair across from me got up and I assured him I would watch his things until he returned. He smiled and left.

A few minutes later, he returned. We introduced ourselves. He is a bishop from an Evangelical Methodist denomination unofficially related to the UMC. He said he was very interested in seeing how we did things, resolve issues like homosexuality, kept records, and made decisions. I told him a little about Associates in Advocacy and then I shared (unloaded, is more like it) some of my concerns about the quality of personnel work I encountered in our denomination.

I apologized for being so negative but he was most gracious and understanding. He gave me his card and insisted I call him by his nickname rather than “Bishop.” I thought he was like my first bishop, Ralph Alton, only a warmer version, if you can believe that. I was deeply impressed with him as we spoke and hoped he would not fall into the trap our bishops have.

My African friend didn’t come down. I called him to say I would meet him upstairs at the orientation meeting in the hotel’s ball room but had to leave that message on voice mail once again.

No comments: