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

May 2 - Demonstration!

The demonstrators were a lot smarter on Wednesday morning. They waited until just before the break in the plenary session before forming and trooping down the center aisle to form around the communion table in the center of the floor.

Once again the bishop offered prayer, adjourned the session and announced that police might be called to assist in clearing the floor. He announced the session would not convene until after the lunch break hour.

I was just entering the plenary when the demonstrators took off down the aisle. I asked a friend wearing a rainbow stole about what was happening and why he hadn’t joined the group. He said his wife was down there and he would probably join them for part of the time.

I asked if there was any negotiating going on to see if the demonstration could be moderated. The threat of police action was not a good thing.

He pointed at a corner of the group where it appeared a small number stood just slightly separated from the rest. “They’re negotiating now. I doubt the settlement will include any clearing of the floor by the police. No one wants to have that hit the papers because it would.”

“Maybe some of the demonstrators?” I asked.

“I won’t discount that but they are a pretty disciplined bunch and are not likely to go that far. They have their credibility on the line and don’t want to appear to be spurring violence in others. Disrupting the morning session is as far as they are likely to go, though their starting point in the negotiations is to stay there through the day if necessary,” he said.

I thought the whole scene was what it appeared to be. I wondered later if it was a pre-arranged “dance” where the bishops and the demonstrators already knew what would happen.

I left to return to my “office” and continue studying the pre-conference materials and taking care of some correspondence.

When I returned after lunch, the demonstrators who had been singing and generally enjoying themselves in the middle of the floor when I left were no longer there.

What I found were participants of the group standing at the respective entrances to the plenary space, holding crime scene tapes! They didn’t block the entrances but they didn’t go away. I believe they held their positions throughout the rest of General Conference.

I didn’t follow up on how the negotiations went. I spent my time writing the article just below entitled “Caucuses” for UM-Insight.

Update: Several demonstrators said they had been bullied. That made the news but I have no independent information about that.

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