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 - Israel/Palestine Conflict

After lunch on Wednesday, I returned to the plenary and caught part of the discussion on the conflict in the Middle East. I described it in the following paper. I didn’t include the result of the discussion which sadly was a watered down version from which divesting was removed.

An African Perspective on Divestment and the Middle East Conflict

(Written May 2 and submitted to UM-Insight but not published yet)

The Israel/Palestine conflict is the core problem, internationally speaking. Resolve it and a large number of problems go away. It has driven America's foreign policy since the mid 1970s. The United Methodist Church has passed resolutions about it at almost every General Conference since. This year's conference has been no exception. The legislative committee report came out with a firm decrying of the tragedy there. It was not gently stated. The report went on to move that our church divest itself of those corporations' stock holdings. However, a minority report was offered as an alternative. It included listing only three major U. S. corporations whose products were being used by Israel to further Israel's occupation.

That whole matter will be detailed in other places. I was watching with some interest because I spent a lot of time researching the Middle East history a few years back and had a grasp of the graveness and complexity of the situation.

When a delegate got up to carefully state that the rumor was false that divesting would impact financing African schools and seminaries, my ears perked up. Had there been such rumors? Did they influence the delegates from Africa? Was that why the vote on two separate motions went against divesting? Had one or another of the lobbying groups tried to influence those delegates?

Inquiring minds want to know so I spent a little time with an African delegate I met last week. He did with me as he did last week, turn the conversation around to pick my brain for information that might help him understand the conflict better.

Before he turned the conversation, I did offer my questions. I knew that asking him to give me his impression of the African delegates was like asking a guy from Rhode Island to tell me what people from the rest of the country thought.

But he resolved that dilemma quickly. He said most everybody he knew listened to what was said on the floor of the plenary and weighed it against very little working knowledge of the situation. The rumor had no impact on what he voted. It apparently had circulated in several forms and so it was probably ineffective. The real problem was that there really was very little awareness of the conflict amongst those he knew, himself included. He did make one further observation that I really enjoyed.

"You know that older gentleman who read from the Bible? He left out the rest of that covenant," he said.

"That Israel was to be a blessing to the nations," I responded.

He nodded.

Then he really pressed me for what I knew. What a thrill to be with someone seeking knowledge like that.

No comments: