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 - One of the Saints

(First written May 4 for UM-Insight, revised 5/15, based on event of 4/22 but not yet published)

It was 1972 and General Conference was in full swing when Iva Joyce Hill from the Board of Missions noticed that delegates from the churches in Latin America were sitting there with frustrated looks on their faces.

"They were having a hard time understanding what was going on. While each knew some English, they were unable to keep up with the discussion in the plenary," she told me the day the orientation for overseas delegates began. “I realized something had to change before the next conference.”

The 1976 General Conference accepted French, Portuguese and Spanish translators from the Board of Missions who sat within the bar of the conference with the delegates, whispering the proceedings. Non-English delegates were finally allowed to have voice through translators.

"But some leaders still thought it was folly and an unnecessary expense," she said.

By 1984 booths with translators and earphones for delegates who didn't speak English were introduced, and German was added as a translated language. In 2008, the Advance DCA was printed in French, German and Portuguese.

By the 2012 General Conference there were 150 professionals and volunteers translating American Sign Language, French, German, Kiswahili, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish for the Legislative Committees and Plenary sessions.

"I am glad to see that now it is a natural part of what we do here, and, on top of that," she added with a big smile, “the current leadership has been extremely supportive. I'm very proud of our church for that."

Thank you, Joyce Hill.

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