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 29, 2012

Trust of Bishops

(Written 5/20 and submitted to UM-Insight where it was published 5/24)

From a variety of writings on blogs and in articles in the American church media, it appears that some bishops are having the blues.

“They don’t show bishops respect any more,” complained one American bishop.

“I have never felt distrust before as much as I did at this General Conference,” said a bishop from another part of the world.

“Why don’t they trust us?” another American bishop asked.

Well, let me count the ways.

One, the Council of Bishops projects the attitude that everyone else is to blame for the problems of the American Church.

Two, it has been estimated that two thirds of what the General Conference had before it in plenary came from the Council of Bishops or from bishops heading boards and agencies.

Three, many bishops and their cabinets tend to listen to the churches’ complainers and not to the pastors when there is trouble. Pastors feel that Cabinets look upon clergy as expendable.

Four, many bishops are too busy to take time to deal respectfully with most pastors and churches. They often don’t respond to requests for help or information.

Five, no matter how long and distinguished a pastor’s or Local Pastor’s career, Cabinets show no cognizance of those records when a complaint comes up that sounds serious or when the Cabinet wants to make a move.

Six, many bishops tend to make appointments without consultation, contrary to the Discipline, and the Council of Bishops does not have a will or a way to hold them accountable.

Seven, at least one bishop put his picture up on the right side of the cross in the conference center’s chapel. Jesus’ picture is on the left side.

Eight, complaints brought against bishops about administrative violations of the Discipline are dealt with by their colleagues on the College of Bishops and are never held accountable.

Nine, bishops tend to take authority over areas of church life that have not been assigned to them by the Discipline.

Ten, as stated in another posting on this blog site, “we have not challenged our leaders about their focus on the world as their parish. They can so easily fall into the temptation of not minding their parish here!”

No, enough American bishops show little or no respect to the pastors and churches under their charge that they have lost the respect of their annual conferences. Whatever reservoir of respect the bishops have drawn upon for generations is mostly empty.

Bishops face having to earn respect. They can no longer presume upon it.

Maybe that’s why some of the most respected bishops in the world-wide connection are the ones who are term-limited by their Central Conferences.

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