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 (4 of 5)

Associates in Advocacy
Justice Always,
Reconciliation and Restoration Where Possible

Dear Bishop,

Here are the problems: Cabinets have become antagonists to pastors rather than being colleagues in ministry.  Being prosecutors rather than pastors, Cabinet members no longer think in terms of how to help pastors and churches succeed together.  Instead, they undermine their pastors’ ministries by joining forces with complainers rather than evaluate the whole situation to see who is really causing trouble.

Cabinets tend to be inexperienced and are certainly lacking in training in personnel management.  There are no requirements that episcopal and superintendent candidates be educationally qualified at anything like the military’s Officer Candidate Schools.

Cabinet members tend to only hold themselves accountable (which they rarely do) and resist anyone from outside to do it.  If there are consequences for Disciplinary violations by bishops and superintendents, the ones harmed never see it.

Cabinet members, especially bishops, are wrapped up safely in financial packages way beyond 99 percent of the pastors as well as have power which distorts every contact with those same pastors.  Thus it is easy to become insular and above criticism to the point where blaming others is the probable response when there are difficulties.

With few exceptions, my dealings with individual bishops are usually very good.  Nearly everyone I have talked with has been gracious, attentive, and professional.  What really scares me is the mindset with which the Council of Bishops influences individual bishops’ practices and worldview.  Good bishops go along with that small handful who are controllers who set the tone and agenda of the Council of Bishops. 

Possible solutions?


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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