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.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Death by a Thousand Cuts (2 of 5)

Associates in Advocacy
Justice Always,
Reconciliation and Restoration Where Possible

Dear Bishop,

Yesterday, I asserted our denomination may have lost 200,000 members over the past thirty years due to Cabinet’s mishandling of complaints against clergy.

Add those to loss by:

a. demographic changes (by far the largest factor), both deaths of aging members and loss of young people moving away and not affiliating with the church in their new locations;

b. theological differences (many conservatives began leaving before the conflict over homosexuality);

c. and upset over sexual and financial misconduct of some pastors;

and you have a better grasp of how we have lost members.     

It was not mostly incompetent pastors.  The requirements to become Elders set now by the Discipline and by Boards of Ordained Ministry are so high some of us would not now be acceptable!  

What are the criteria and training required of Cabinet members?  The Discipline just says what they are to do.  The criteria and training to be considered as potential superintendents are left in the hands of the Bishop, sometimes with the help of the Cabinet.  And what are the criteria and training required to be considered as possible episcopal candidates?  They are nowhere to be found in the Discipline or most jurisdictions.  

Based on the difference between preparations to be a pastor and preparations to be a Cabinet member, which are most likely to be incompetent?

Is there hope?  Only if we define the problem correctly . . . or by the grace of God.  More tomorrow.

In the covenant of the clergy,


Rev Jerry Eckert, AIA contact person

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

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