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.


Sunday, March 23, 2014


Associates in Advocacy
Justice Always,
Reconciliation and Restoration Where Possible
Dear Bishop,

It is that season again, appointment season!  This is the Cabinet’s time to shine, a time to remobilize to make Disciples, the time to place the best pastors available in the churches where their gifts and graces can help the most.  Despite what Bishop Solomon implied with his Appointment Game, the larger number of assignments you all will make relate to experienced pastors who are not outside the main stream. 

In this letter, I want to discuss how an appointment change is announced.  In my years, I have seen it done several ways.  The best is always when the superintendent made the announcement, in person, at the church where the change is to occur.  There are three reasons for that.

One, who is making the change?  The Cabinet, the ones who embody the episcopal office.  If anyone else makes that announcement, it appears that they may be the authority to make a change instead of the Cabinet.  As a bishop you surely do not want to give the impression that anyone but you set that change.  The congregants can then be assured that you really are in charge and that the change is the result of a larger vision for the conference.

Two, all changes have a degree of emotion involved, everything from glee to rage to despair, on the part of the pastor, SPRC, and key church leaders (often the ones with the deepest pockets).  Letting anyone but the superintendent announce the change opens the door to releasing those emotions in public.  Avoid the potential of unnecessary conflict within the church and let the superintendent be the appropriate one bear the consequences.

Three, only the superintendent can speak with authority about the concern of the Cabinet to provide a new pastor.  No one else can reassure the congregation that they will be getting a new pastor at the proper time of change and that the current pastor will be taken care of for his/her next appointment.

I have horror stories about situations where the superintendent did not do it.  Besides, they are finally responsible and should have the courage of their convictions   Or you could do it.  Since we are not waiting anymore for conference, have the DS do it.

In the covenant of the clergy,


Rev Jerry Eckert, AIA contact person

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.