As a pastor for over 30 years, I have ministered to hundreds of people both inside and outside the church. Over the years, it seems that I hear about more and more people who were burned by the church and who no longer attend church. I have heard comments like, “They are just a bunch of hypocrites!” Or, “I have given up on organized religion.” Or, “I was deeply hurt by the church and I will never go back again. I don’t need a church to worship God.”

Neighbors Submissions

The Empire welcomes submissions from readers. Submissions should not exceed 400 words and must include the writer’s name, hometown and phone number. The Empire will edit them for length, clarity, grammar and libelous content.

The deadline for Sunday’s Neighbors is 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Letters, recognitions and public service announcements may be emailed to

Any letters longer than 400 words will be subject to online publication only. Wedding, engagement and anniversary announcements may be submitted online at

If you wish to submit a photograph, e-mail it as a .jpg at 200 DPI (dots per inch), and be sure to include who is in the photo, when it was taken, where it was taken and any other pertinent information.

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