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

Third World Financing

One of the revelations shown me by this General Conference is that the United States is not alone in wealth in the world.

In truth, we are becoming a third world nation in that the distribution of our national wealth is now focused in a tiny group of elite folks. We can appreciate the story of most people from Africa, Asia, and the Americas that they have very highly developed large cities and corporations who have benefited from exploitation of natural resources that a long period of peace has allowed them. And that the wealth has not been spread to the rural areas where poverty exists.

I am late in realizing just how much development has occurred in third world countries just in the last few decades. Many are not scratching by at a subsistence level. Our denomination has a presence in these seats of power.

Where the rapport is great between church and corporations or states, the temptation is just to enjoy the benefits. But the saints are trying to build bridges between the rich and the poor to benefit everyone in their respective countries.

The church has the outposts in the poor areas through which aid can go and which may be the links through which the wealth of the nation can be distributed.

I am not suggesting here a pipeline of money be set up but rather seeking to encourage good tax policies, low cost banking and credit union loans, establishing small businesses, organizing workers related to corporate groups like mining and oil companies, etc. Many of these things are being done in many places but those doing them need to be helped. Some have become expert and could share their skills and experience in other countries. Using workshops, demonstrations of techniques, etc, the kind of thing American missions has done for generations, can be done in exchanges among the central conferences. And some of them have wisdom to help the United States with its unbalanced economy.

I foresee countries like Korea, Brazil, and some of the peaceful countries in Africa sharing the financial load and not depending on the United States except as a partner, not the dominant force.

Someone needs to explore this beyond arguing over micro-banking, as we did in Tampa.

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