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 - Studying the Materials for General Conference

Good lobbying requires reading everything one can before attending the conference. Because I was invited to write for the special project called United Methodist Insight (http://um-insight.net), I read most of those essays over the weeks just prior to Tampa.

There were a lot of things to study: key issues, where my petitions were referred, who was on which committees of the General Conference, the rules of the General Conference, the schedule, and who all were delegates.

I could have done that on-line because all the pre-conference materials were posted there (www.UMC.org/2012General Conference). I was able to skim through the lists of delegates and who were on the legislative committees.

But to work through the legislation, I found that too difficult to do on-line (my dufferishness came out). So I postponed all that, deciding to see if I could purchase the hard copies at Cokesbury in Tampa when I got there. They would all be up-to-date where some of the on-line lists were incomplete.

All I looked at from then on were articles in UM-Insight, UMNS Daily reports, and the UMC.org website.

Let me say that after years of mostly seeing fluff and PR materials among the traditional UM news outlets, I was seeing some articles that were very critical and journalistically more sound. That was a refreshing experience. I know several of the news staff and found them to have come through those years with their integrity intact. This was a good year for them.

I confess I spent more time writing than reading. After reading several articles, I submitted comments that were accepted.

One such piece was divided in two by the UM-Insight editor, with the two sections being filled out with more background and data. They were published there and I put them in this blog (see below April 5 – “Where Do We Find God’s Spirit in Our System” and April 11 – “What Are They Ignoring?”) I resurrected an article from 2008 that went into UM-Insight and this blog on April 13 (see “Priorities for General Conference” of that date below). One of my comments on an article in UM-Insight also made this blog as well on April 21 (“No Large Southern Church Left Behind”)

This seemed to me to be an odd way for a lobbyist to prepare for General Conference.

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