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 4 - 30?

Having finished the article on incompetent pastors, I looked around my “office” where I had more interesting conversations than I could report in this blog. It was nearly empty. Everyone was on supper break from plenary, I realized. They were not eating in this food court, though I had enjoyed several meals here, some I even bought here.

Lobbying can become expensive if you eat out all the time, which I could not afford to do.

It was time to put on my jacket once again, pack my computer back into the traveling case with my Discipline, Directory, and DCAs, and head out. I checked the press room to say goodbye to the UM-Insight editor. She was gone too.

The previous weekend, I had misplaced a paperback novel which had given me reading recreation for a few moments during the early days of conference. I had checked all the places that were called “Lost and Found”: the denomination’s, the center’s, and the custodians’, every day since. On this my last closing routine, I went to check the message board and glance at the pile of unclaimed books kept on the counter in the information booth.

There was my book! Whoever found it must have finished reading it and was nice enough to return it.

Hurray, the librarian in Port Charlotte would not disembowel me for losing a library book!

Even the red-vested volunteers were gone from the booths and greeter positions at the top of the escalators. The staff person usually at the Center’s information desk happened to be away.

I literally had no one to whom to say “Goodbye.”

But now, even with you right there reading this, I can’t say “Goodbye.” I’ve spent so much time in this report on General Conference between marvelous discussions with saints I had not previously known (and some I did) and criticizing our situation as a denomination.

It would be a shame to not try to bring back into your thinking some of the things I learned the past two weeks. Maybe they could change the direction of our American version of United Methodism. Let me offer the following in hopes that it might be the start of something really big, because it comes from that really big experience called the 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church.

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