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

May 2 - Ecumenicity

I briefly discuss ecumenicity in other places in this blog. I heard that Central Conferences have ecumenical officers and programs. Everyone I asked said they had good relations with Islamic groups in their country.

There was one exception. The African country of this former student of Chomee’s is relatively small and new. When I asked him about Islam there, he told me it had a very small presence, one which was not conducive to normal ecumenical interaction. There seemed to be no meeting place or leader.

What was happening, he said, was that men came to work in his country, took wives there, and when the children were old enough, they were sent back for schooling to the country of origin of the men.

The movement had started only in the last ten years or so. The children had not returned yet so how their schooling would affect them, he didn’t know.

The group is not outgoing, is not organized in such a way as to be engaged in activities with Christians in joint ventures, and keeps to themselves. Hence, he said, they are not yet recognized as a religion in his country.

“Your government has not shown hesitance about any other religious body, right?” I asked.

“No,” he replied. “Our constitution is very open and tolerant in that regard. The problem is that this group has shown none of the characteristics of a religion in the traditional sense and they have not applied for recognition. So we all watch, wait, and try to make friendly contact which so far has been rebuffed.”

I described this movement to an Islamic friend here in the States and he has never heard of such an Islamic sect and will research it for me.

This was an extraordinary exception to everything else I’d heard about United Methodists in other parts of the world in crossing religious lines.

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