A History of the Church of Truth
On Feb. 25, 1910 Rev. Albert Grier of the First Universalist Church in Spokane, received the pamphlet “Realization thru Concentrated Attention”, written by Clara B Stocker. The inspiration and “awakening” he received from this was the foundation for his founding THE CHURCH OF THE TRUTH. When he came to Pasadena, he met with a group calling themselves “The Metaphysical Society”, meeting in each other’s homes. The group felt a need for a more formalized structure of study and worship and for leadership and guidance beyond that which they were able to supply each other. They found their leader in Albert Grier.
The first executive board meeting was held on Oct. 6, 1924. The group responded to the concept of the Spokane church and agreed to affiliate with the organization and became THE PASADENA CHURCH OF THE TRUTH. A constitution and by-laws were drawn up. The Church was incorporated by the State of California on Nov. 26, 1924. By Nov. 2 1924, there were 75 charter members. They first met in the Rotary room of the Maryland Hotel. As the membership grew, they moved to Oliver Hall on 333 Summit Ave. Dr Grier was paid weekly with all monies collected over and above current expenses.
The inception of the idea for the building fund was started during Dr. Grier’s pastorate. The Lot and Building Fund was promoted as the Inch by Inch Project. The first dollar was given by Miss Bess Bunker, Mar. 31, 1927, and was named the Magnet Dollar. The property at 690 E. Orange Grove Bl. was the Grinnell Bird Resort. The frontage was 200 feet. At the church congregational meeting on Feb 11, 1929, when Mr. Mills reported that there was $9400.00 in the loans, cash and pledges, it was unanimously agreed to buy the property. In June, Dr. Grier returned to Spokane and in August, 1925, H. Edward Mills who had served as the assistant to Dr. Grier in the Spokane, was invited to become the minister. His son, Harlow served as pianist. In Nov. of that year, Mr. Mills suggested that the young people have an early Thanksgiving service open to all. This has become tradition.
The 50 foot addition to the two story building which became Truth Chapel was completed and dedicated on Oct. 26. 1929. Mr. H.A. Reuter was the architect and contractor for the addition. During the years of Mr. Mills ministry, 1925-1936, many activates in music and the arts were offered to the community. His dream was to promote a Cultural Arts Center. The realization Song Book, which we use, was copy-written by Mr. Mills in Portland, Oregon in 1925. Ministers and speakers of various religious beliefs were invited to speak at the church.
When Rev. Mills made this sudden transition in 1936, Rev. Mary Mills, the associate minister, took the position and served until 1940. Rev. Gladys Grier, daughter of the founder, served as minister from 1940-1943 at which time she went to the Home of Truth in Alameda. Rev. Mary served as minister from Oct. 1943 until May 1944, when Dr. Tom and Rev. Jean Williams became the minister and associate minister.
During the ministry of the Mills’ and up to 1949, part of the building was used as their home. In June, the Williams’ moved into their own home in Altadena. At this time the entire building was used for church activates.
Dr. jean started her Thursday morning Bible study classes in 1946. She continued these classes until her retirement in 1974. She also gave the sermons one Sunday a month until Dr. Tom’s transition, Feb. 1966, at which time she became the minister and served until her retirement.
During the ministry of the Williams’, there was much expansion in building, remodeling and decorating as well as in spiritual activities. Seminars were given by outstanding speakers. The men’s club was very active. A building fund for Youth Hall was started in 1948. Morris Sutcliffe made a miniature church for all donations to the new building, which was built in 1951, with much help form members. Mrs. Grace McLean painted the wall mural, “All Mankind”, which hung for many years in the west wall.
AN OUTLINE OF THE TRUTH TEACHINGS, written by Dr. Jean, was published in 1955 and is still used. Dr. Tom wrote two pamphlets, “The Prayer That Always Works” and “A Key to Happiness.”
A public address system was installed in April of 1952. A speaker was installed in Mills Chapel, now the minister’s office, so that mothers of young children could hear the sermon. A new, beautiful lectern was carved by Grace McLean and presented to the church in Oct. 1956. At the same meeting, members approved the purchase of 710-712 E. Orange Grove Bl. Grier Hall was remodeled in 1954. The upstairs rooms were converted into a meditation room, a class room for L.T.L and a storage room. The concrete wall across the front of the property was removed in the spring of 1957.
At the annual meeting, Oct. 1957, there was a discussion about the need to remodel the east end of the church, removing the old porch and adding two new rest rooms, a bride’s room and an east entrance from the parking lot. Under the supervision of John Coleman, much of the work was done by members. The work was completed in 1958. John Wallis, a specialist in leading glass windows, installed the beautiful one in the shell as well as the ones in the transoms. He designed them. They were installed in 1962. The scenery painted the shell was a gift from Dr. & Mrs. Lowell Schaefer.
The Prayer Garden, originally The memorial Garden, was beautified in May, 1963, by the family of Mabel & Art McGuire. The Hammond organ was installed in 1960. In July, 1966 Dr. Tom’s study (originally the dining room when the ministers lived there) was converted into a library and Mill’s Chapel became the minister’s office.
Dr. Jean retired in 1974. There were two ministers who served here for a short timeuntil Rev. Judi Warren was hired as minister from 1978-1989. Rev. Judi restored the University of Metaphysics and renamed it The School of Truth in 1982. (It was later renamed The Grier School for Ministerial Studies). It had a 3 year and 3 month course of study, which leads to Ordination in the Church of Truth.
The Source Bookstore was also created during Rev. Judi’s service by Roberta Duffy. Both the Grier School & the Source Bookstore are separate entities from the Church, overseen by the Senior Minister.
Rev. Judi also began the International Alliance of the Churches of Truth. Rev. Judi retired in 1978. Rev. Joanne Chastain was the Interim Minister for 1989-90, when Rev. Hal Lingerman was hired as Senior Minister in December, 1990.
Easter Sunday of 1991 was the last Sunday, whereupon Rev. Kathy Meyers took over as Interim Minister. In October, 1991, at the Homecoming Annual Meeting, Rev. Kathy was named Senior Minister, and served the church from 1991-2000. She retired on December 24th, 2000.
After two years with speakers from what was called “The Circle of Ministers”, (Revs. Teresa Farrell-Mellott, BJ Enright, Martha Fahncke, Barbara Lee, and Gabrielle Michel), the steering committee selected a new Senior Minister from various candidate who had spoken here. Rev Donna Byrns was selected and became Senior Minister of the Church of Truth on June 2, 2002.
When our most recent Senior Minister retired in 2016, instead of immediately searching for a replacement, the Congregation instead decided to invite guest speakers from an array of different backgrounds and representing many different philosophies and religions into the year 2017.
- Paramhansa Yoganada
- Peace Pilgrim
- Flower Newhouse
- Roy Eugene Davis
- Doodh-dhari Baba
- Pug Purush Swami
- Paramanandji Maharaj
- Raul Sakyaputra
- Sri Karunamayi (Amma, the hugging saint)
- Mirabai Devi
- Thomas Ashley Farrand
- Dada Nabhaniilananda
- Lisa Lynne
- Suzanne Tang
- Anton Mizerak & Michael Mandrell
- Edwene Gaines
- Christine Stevens
- Jay Schwed
- Sara Larkins
- David Troy Francis
- Jon Maher
- Key Beck
- Dr. Saul Shea
- Aman Motwane
- Maulana Zainulabdin Kazami
- Gloria Loring