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 23 - Translators

My registration tag was yellow. The print for my first name was large. The rest was very small and to see it meant leaning down embarrassingly close. I learned, for example, that Iva Joyce was really Joyce Hill and that the name “Iva” which she never used was required when her legal name was asked. Someone made the decision to print only the first names large enough to see from three feet away and they printed hers with both first and middle names. – When I was trying to get her okay to print my article about her, it took the Board of Global Ministries two days to figure out who I was talking about!

I ended up printing my name, affiliation, and location much bigger. But I was still at the disadvantage of not being able to really see anyone else’s. For a lobbyist to have to give up trying to see who the delegates were turned into a pain, almost physical in its uselessness.

But sitting in back at the continuing orientation for international delegates that Monday morning, I was among the translators again. When I used the phrase “international delegates” with one of the interpreters, she pointed out that we all were international, including us from the US. I started using “foreign” and “overseas.”

I asked a Portuguese translator if by chance he knew the African I was most anxious to meet. He immediately left the table and brought back a second translator, saying both would be glad to see if they could find him. It was impossible in the room to ask a page to take a note to him because there was no assigned seating. How these two were going to find him, I had no idea. But they were so nice and so intent upon being of help to me.

After a break in the session, during which I successfully found the men’s room, I returned to a table full of different people, all with blue nametags, but speaking European languages. One was a clergy person seeking to join an American conference. He was very interested in what I did for Associates in Advocacy. He hadn’t been in our country more than a few months before he saw some of the lousy personnel work that was happening.

That afternoon, I sat next to a Swahili translator. I asked him about it. He said that Swahili has to use a dozen words to translate some American words. He said it was especially difficult to translate some of our denominational jargon.

As a colleague remarked later during a plenary session, “The interpreters are going to control the tempo of General Conference.” They did. Everyone who spoke from up front did so at a slower rate. On the floor, it could get dicey when a foreign delegate tried to speak and no translator picked up on what was being said. That could really slow things down for a few minutes.

Some of the translators were very good. But during the orientation and during other times, the acoustics were terrible and I could not understand either the delegate or the one repeating in English what had been said.

Someone said I should get a hearing aid.

I spoke at length with one of the translators and asked if he was being paid. I knew many Africa University students were translators in 2008 and many more came this year. I’m sure their expenses were all paid. But this one was in business in Virginia and did a lot of contract work for the State and Defense Departments. He said the Church was paying him the commercial rate. I was pleased with that because we need as many excellent interpreters as we can get for General Conference.

I asked him what the difference was between a translator and an interpreter. He said the two were usually interchangeable. But true interpreters did not even think about translating. They turned the concepts they were hearing in one language into the other simultaneously. It was a rare gift developed over years of doing it.

No comments: