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

Lobbying - Petitions

The primary task of a lobbyist is to provide grist for the legislative mill so that there are specific opportunities for an idea to be processed by the General Conference. I’ve been doing petitions (additions or corrections to passages in the current Book of Discipline) since 1976.

Last fall, I turned in something like 68 petitions ranging from finessing some paragraphs of the Discipline to complete rewrites to satirical ones to recommendations on theology.

I did not try to send any through Annual Conference because the committee that reviewed them and recommended them invariably recommended non-concurrence. No one on those committees had ever been through a personnel process against them to realize what was actually going on. Discussion on the floor of my petitions invariably was either done when everyone was tired or was not done at all.

I also was very aware that the General Conference rarely had time to consider any petitions but the ones from the boards and agencies of the denomination and those from the Council of Bishops. Even petitions from annual conferences seldom got consideration.

Rather than waste our annual conference’s time, I just sent in petitions on every paragraph I believe needed to be changed, based on my years of experience as an advocate. My hope was that someone would actually read them when they were printed in the Advanced Daily Christian Advocate. And maybe something would stick with someone. And maybe someday someone would include it in a board or agency petition as their idea.

Having gone to most of the General Conferences since 1984, I have seen that happen. So I once again cast my bread upon the waters.

No comments: