A LETTER FROM SAM HILL, JR.

Dear Charles,

Everyone from down this way says to tell you hello. All the people here sure do enjoy your visits. We are hoping you can come again soon. Let us know ahead of time if possible so we can make arrangements to have all of the various groups together in one place.

Daddy heard about a group up in Big City that had started meeting in homes and was thinking along the same lines as our groups here so we decided to go up there and meet them. They meet on Sunday afternoons so last Sunday Patricia and I went with Momma and Daddy to meet with them. it sure was a long day but all of us enjoyed it a lot and we met some real nice folks who are struggling to be nothing but Christians.

All of those folks had just recently given up their attachment to a Church organization and all of them had been treated really ugly so they were talking about that a lot. It is a little surprising that they found each other because they came from different places. Some of them had been with "anti" Churches and some had been with "mainline" Churches but all of them started to realize that the institution is just not part of God's plan for His people.

They started to tell us what had been said to them because their wounds was real fresh. They had been accused of being sinners, evil, divisive, disruptive, and all those things. I thought it was interesting that they kept objecting to being accused of "leaving the Church". Daddy talked to them about that a lot trying to explain to them that you can take that two ways. I remember when Mike Simpkins (the local Church of Christ preacher) asked me if I still considered myself to be a member of the Church of Christ. At the time it bothered me a little but I told him no.

People leaving the institution need to come to grips with the fact that they are "leaving the Church". Of course people will accuse them of that because they really don't belong to the Church anymore. We explained to them that they should say: "Yes, I left the Church, but I don't think I mean the same thing by that that you do, let's talk about it. We all know that people who are still in the institution think if you leave the Church, you leave God and that is not what we did. We just removed the institution from between ourselves and God. Our commitment isn't to the Church any longer but to God and because of our common commitment to God, we are drawn together as brothers and sisters. I just wish people could see how simple and beautiful that kind of relationship is. Man's way just can't improve on God's way. It just sounds like the worst kind of heresy to folks with a strong Church background, but the fact of the matter !s that it would sure be nice if we didn't have any Churches at all. Then we could all just be God's people.

Well we got all of that out of the way and had a real fine period of Bible study that lasted most of the afternoon. When we finally broke up, nobody wanted to go home. Of course all of these people was real hurt because people who had been their friends for years wouldn't associate with them anymore. All of us who have been through that know what they are going through, but you sure do feel sorry for them. We asked them if they would do the same thing if they had it to do over and every one of them said they would not take anything for the truth they have found in spite of all the hurt it caused them. We tried to help them and comfort them all we could and told them to be strong and above all be patient with the folks who don't or won't understand.

I know I have kind of rambled on with these things but I thought you would want to know about that new group. The next time you are here, maybe we can go up there so you can meet them. I bet they sure would like to hear some of your teaching. Until you can come this way, I remain

Your faithful friend, Sam Hill, Jr.