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

Lobbying - Preparations

There are a lot of things that need to be done to lobby at General Conference.

First and foremost were getting my petitions in on time and in proper form so they would be printed for all to see in the publications for delegates.

There were the logistics of a place to stay, a place to park the car, meals to get, and connecting to the internet.

Then there was connecting with key delegates and church agency staff, considering which delegates may be sympathetic to my petitions and what legislative committees they were on, which of my friends was going to be there and what they intended to do, and what help I could be to all of them.

Then there was the task of studying the board and agency petitions related to what mine address, tracking my petitions and those of friends, and reading up on the major proposals the delegates would face during the plenary.

Finally, where would I be when? When lobbying, one has to be available and yet be where the most critical actions were taking place. From my experience at previous quadrennial meetings like this, I had some ideas that were a little unconventional.

And as one retired bishop reminded me before we went to Tampa, we have to know where the bathrooms are!

Let me post a brief review of each of these responsibilities. Then you can grade me on how I did and see what you as a lobbyist should not do.

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