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 26 - Lobbying

I spent Thursday morning observing the Judicial Administration Legislative Committee. They slogged along parliamentarily. Then they broke up into sub-committees. I tagged along with one and watched one of my colleagues operate very effectively.

Lobbying is done in different ways. His technique included no petitions, providing a supper for legislative committee members at which he explained what actually happens in the judicial and administrative processes, and hanging around with the members of the sub-committee where his own concerns lay.

At the lunch break, I followed him to the Tabernacle, a big tent where Methodists for Social Action met and provided low cost meals. He was there to report on the legislative committee he was observing. He took his seat at the front from where he and others would report, leaving me in the audience area.

I stood there in the midst of “my people.” I’m a progressive, pro-choice, and pro LGBT, though unlike everyone else, I had no rainbow stole. Maybe it was my red coat and my travel case I was rolling along behind me. Sometimes I unintentionally put people off.

No one spoke to me. So I went to Publix, got a salad, and ate it in my “office.”

I tried to access my blog’s dashboard. I had written a number of things and I was ready to begin blogging. But Google had taken over Blogspot and changed things. I couldn’t figure out how to insert text and post.

One of my friends made some suggestions that started me in the right direction but I made too little progress to post anything.

The afternoon was not lost. Some people sat at my table and engaged me in conversation. One was lobbying for associate members and local pastors. He is one of the few concerned about local churches and pastors that I met in Tampa. He impressed me in several ways, what he does as a pastor being one of them. More on that below. He was the one who knew my old friend Richard Wright and he promised to take my greetings to him when they met at annual conference.

I left around suppertime. I missed the special service at which my autonomous bishop acquaintance from Sunday was among those honored. I was sorry about that.

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