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, December 11, 2012

Who Started This Christmas Business?

Tom Butts always provides a moment of grace for me. Here is his most recent one;

AN ENCOURAGING WORD written for publication in the Monroe Journal, December 13, 2012, by Dr. Thomas Lane Butts, Pastor Emeritus, First United Methodist Church, Monroeville, Alabama


The Christmas season is a cheerful time for most people, but there are frustrations. Even people who tend to keep life manageable occasionally encounter some unsettling experiences in the hustle and bustle of the season.

When you become stressed out humor helps, and there is always humor to be found as children begin to sense some suspicious inconsistancies in the Santa Claus myth. One child climbed up on the lap of Santa Claus at a department store and shared his wish list. Later that day, in another store, there was Santa again, who when he saw this child said, "Ho, ho, ho, what would you like for Christmas this year?" With a puzzled and suspicious look on his face the child admonished Santa, "You really need to write these things down!" When my grand neice, Callie, was about 8 years old her parents gave in to her barrage of suspicious questions and confessed to her the truth about Santa Claus. This bright and perceptive little girl then asked her parents: "What else have you been lying to me about?" The weak effort to continue the myth beyond credulity can be humorous. A father said to his young daughter, "Look at all the presents Santa left for you!", to which the child replied, "Dad, this looks like your handwriting". Dad said, "Well, I let him borrow my pen". Daughter pushed on, "That wouldn't change his handwriting". "Well" said Dad "we also had a couple of glasses of wine together" Look for the humor as well as the holiness in Christmas.

There was a mother who was Christmas shopping with her two young children. After three hours of looking at row after row of toys and hearing them ask for everything they saw on those shelves, she was feeling the overwhelming pressure that so many feel during the holiday season. She was relieved when she finally made it to the elevator.

When the elevator doors opened there was already a crowd in the car. Determined to get out of the department store as soon as possible, she pushed her way into the crowded car, dragging her two kids and her packages with her. When the doors closed she couldn't take it anymore. She blurted out in an angry voice, "Whoever started this whole Christmas business should be found, strung up and shot!"

From the back of the elevator a quiet and calm voice responded, "Don't worry, we have already crucified him".

The rest of the trip down the elevator was so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop. Hmmmmmm

(If you wish to comment on this column, Dr. Butts' email address is (tolabu2@Frontiernet.net )