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 24 - Establishing a Routine

My African friend was off soon after we got together because he was also a delegation head and had to get to a meeting.

So I then started the routine I followed everyday when I came in. I went up to the message board at the information booth on the second level and checked for messages. I then went to Cokesbury where I picked up the first copy of the Daily Christian Advocate (DCA) and the printed version of the Advanced DCA volumes. I had not yet found an “office” so I went down to the first floor where newly arrived delegates and visitors were congregating. I spent time with two old friends and learned one was now on the staff of the General Conference Secretary. The other was there for the umpteenth General Conference as an advocate for Methodist Federation for Social Action.

“So you’re one of the hospitality staff,” he said, pointing at my red jacket.

“Naw, I just look like I am. The Florida greeters and helpers all wear a red vest. I’ve got sleeves.”

“Pass the word that they are as nice and helpful as the Texas bunch were four years ago,” he said.

I agreed. “They are characteristic of all the Methodists I’ve been meeting so far, from wherever in the world. They’re as nice as they can be.”

“Did you know that the food court over there has complimentary wifi?” my friend asked.

He had found my “office.” I was on-line in moments and found the chairs and tables a great place to be visible if anyone was looking for me.

That place also turned out to be where I met a lot of delegates and learned a lot about ministries and problems going on. Sharing a table led to many interesting conversations, passing of business cards, and establishing links for future contacts.

I had my entering routine: message board, Cokesbury for my DCA, elevator down to the first floor food court to check my email and meet others. Then I could head out to observe meetings or the plenary.

My leaving routine was similar. I checked out my email at the end of the day, checked the message board, and left for the day before it got too late for me to drive home safely.

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