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.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Death by a Thousand Cuts (3 of 5)

Associates in Advocacy
Justice Always,
Reconciliation and Restoration Where Possible

Dear Bishop,

This series of letters is entitled Death by a Thousand Cuts.  Ive asserted that many good people left the church because of poor handling of complaints.  It is a part of the outflow that ranges from demographics to theological differences to pastoral misconduct.  For the blame to be laid only on pastors’ alleged incompetence is foolish. 

Worse, it is part of a pattern born in the late 1970s which led to the decision by the 1980 General Conference to change the role of superintendents and bishops to being the complaint handlers.  That change killed rapport between pastors and the ones who were supposed to be their pastors, mentors, and outside help in times of trouble.  This happened at a time when bishops were choosing superintendents not from the pool of older experienced pastors but of younger more ambitious ones who knew how to beteam players.  These younger pastors could use the Cabinet to be stepping stones to large churches and to the episcopacy.  Helping pastors was not their goal.    

That breakdown in collegiality led to the ministry in our denomination becoming one of the worst workplaces imaginable.  Pastors ended up with no support.  The morale among clergy dropped precipitously.  Without any assurance of back-up in an increasingly antagonistic environment, good pastors lost heart and average pastors found no help to improve.  Blaming pastors for incompetence only further worsens the atmosphere.  As I suggested earlier this year, check out the ones coming out of seminary.  They are no longer the very best students.  Those brightest and best are earning MDivs and applying them outside the church.  The most talented dont want any part of the organized church.  The bishops have set in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Please help end this foolish drive to presume pastors are incompetent.  Pastors are unable to get away from criticism.  Cabinets, particularly bishops, can slough off criticism and ignore it without any consequences.  Pastors cannot.

If I have brought insight to the true problems of the denomination, you have already begun to see ways to ameliorate the situation.  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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