It all started back in the early 1990s at University Christian Church in Berkeley, California. I was a new seminary student attending a dinner of some sort. Sitting next to me was Rev. C. William Nichols. Bill was the retired General Minister-President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) — basically the Disciples’ pope — and he asked me if I knew a Reverend Warren Hile. I did not but somehow or another Reverend Hile and I connected. We corresponded by mail a few times and although we never did definitively determine a familial connection we both agreed that we were relatively closely-related.
Fast forward to 2018. After I retired, I once again became interested in discovering my ancestral roots. How things have changed in the genealogy world in those twenty-five or so years! Whereas before I was able to compile maybe one hundred names in my tree, largely using the resources of the Sutro Library — the California state genealogical library — which was located literally across the street from my apartment at the time, it didn’t take long nowadays to expand the list into the thousands using the computer on my desk.
I also tracked down the connection between Reverend Hile and me. Unfortunately, Warren had died in 2008 so I was never able to share my research with him but it turns out we were third cousins, once removed. Moreover, I was able to confirm the relationship between the Hiles and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of which both Warren and I were ordained ministers. That relationship goes back to the very beginning of the denomination in the late 17th and early 18th century congregation of Barton Warren Stone in Cane Ridge, Kentucky. More on that connection later.
A few other things happened along the way, and altogether this is my story. A line you will hear frequently is that the story of me is the story of us. It’s my story, but it’s also yours, so come along!