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 30 - Observing the Plenary

I found a place to sit in the stands on the side. To my left was the section where the press sat. Beyond them toward the front were where bishops’ spouses and other dignitaries sat. Toward the front on our side was where board and agency officials sat, easily accessible should someone on the dais call them up to answer questions.

Across the plenary from me were three stands extending from the front of the huge space to the back. At the back of the plenary were two more stands for visitors.

The plenary space included the round tables. Actually, they were oval in shape and the delegates sat only on one side facing the front. Unlike the tight space between the tables that cramped the Fort Worth plenary, people were able to move more easily between the rows. Pages could much more quickly distribute earphones for translation when the batteries failed or the earphones otherwise broke down.

But that added space meant that the presiding bishops had great distances to have to cover to see delegates who wanted the floor. While no one in the front had binoculars, as I suggest, bishops helping the presider were assigned to watch particular sections for those seeking the floor.

One innovation that helped was the use of three colored cards. Rules require at least two statements for and two against before a vote. If a delegate wanted to speak for a motion, the green card was held up. Against, the orange card was used. For parliamentary matters or special privileges, a white card was used. That facilitated the debate from the floor . . . but I think the presiding bishops still should have had binoculars!

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