"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.V No.V Pg.13
December 1942

The Indian Work

Homer Hailey

Brethren who have had a part in the work of Brother James E. White, evangelist among the Oneida Indians of Wisconsin, will be interested in a report of the progress of that work.

Brother White, a full blood Sioux Indian, whose wife is of the Oneida tribe, with his family moved to the Oneida reservation several years ago, soon after he completed ten years of work at Freed-Hardeman College. Under the supervision of the Murray Hill congregation, Flint, Michigan, the work began. A basement, built by the Lutheran denomination was purchased for a meeting place, which was paid for by the congregation at Flint. Soon this became too small to adequately carry on the work, necessitating the erection of a larger house.

The work made excellent progress under the church at Flint, but about two years ago, after some correspondence between the Murray Hill church and the congregation at Highland Avenue and Fifth in Abilene, the Abilene congregation assumed the responsibility of supervising the work.

At that time Brother White visited the church in Abilene, acquainting himself with the church there, and the church getting a first-hand acquaintance with Brother White. At that time Brother White told the church that his first need was for a cemetery. This was quite a surprise to the Abilene church, although it is generally conceded that some of the older churches have need for a cemetery (not particularly for their physically dead); but for a new congregation to need one was unusual. However, when Brother White explained the Indian customs and traditions relative to their cemeteries and religious beliefs, the necessary funds with which to purchase the land, were given him. A five acre plot of ground was purchased, in a prominent location, for the purpose.

Later, Brother White advised the elders in Abilene that a new building was urgently needed, the congregation having outgrown the old one. Again Brother White was asked to visit the congregation in Abilene (about a year and a half after the first visit). Plans were drawn, and a few months later the building was under way.

Brother L. E. Weathers, an elder in the Highland congregation, who is a building contractor, was sent by the church to supervise the erection of the building. This year the government limited such buildings to five thousand dollars. After some alterations of the plans, the building was erected, keeping the cost within the amount allowed.

Here, briefly, is a description of the building: The auditorium is 26 by 54 feet (inside measurement), which will seat between 150 and 200. There are four class rooms, two at each end of the auditorium. The floor is of concrete throughout; the walls of plastered sheet rock inside, with three-quarter inch insulite and the board siding outside the studding. The roof is 210-pound composition shingles.

Although an electric power line passed by the building site, because the government would not allow a priority to purchase a transformer, it was necessary to install a lighting plant. A baptistry is being installed, but because of inability to secure certain materials, it was not completed at the time of Brother White's last letter.

The total cost of the building and light plant was about fifty-two hundred dollars; five thousand for the building, and two hundred twenty-five for the plant. Of this amount, the Highland congregation paid (at the time) eight hundred dollars; and had one thousand on hand contributed by individuals and congregations toward the building. This left thirty-four hundred dollars owed. Since then, individuals and congregations, with some additional from the Highland congregation, have contributed such amounts that the indebtedness has been reduced to about fifteen hundred dollars.

Should any individual or congregation desire to have fellowship in building the first meeting house to be erected by churches of Christ among the American Indians, such contributions may be sent to P. E. Cotham, 2209 South Sixth St., Abilene, Texas. Brother Cotham is acting as treasurer for the Indian fund, under the direction of the elders of the church at Highland Avenue and Fifth.

It is the firm belief of the members of the Highland Avenue church that the work among the Indians is being built on a permanent foundation. Everyone has confidence in the integrity of Brother White, and his faithfulness to the Lord and His Word. All are looking for great things among the American Indians, as the result of this work. This church should be the radiating center from which the American Indian shall be evangelized. Your assistance or help in paying off the indebtedness of the building will be appreciated by the Indian brethren, and by the church in Abilene.