The Lord's Move: Witness Lee in America

The Gruhlers and the Sparks

The Gruhlers and the Sparks

The picture above, taken in Jamaica, New York, in 1966 was in the home of Brother and Sister Eugene C. Gruhler Sr. (to the left) and shows (to the right) Brother and Sister T. Austin-Sparks.

Referring to the conferences in San Francisco and Palo Alto with Witness Lee, we all felt that that had been a tremendous encouragement to us to go on in Los Angeles. It also intensified the desire within us for a normal church life.

After continuing on at Westmoreland Chapel in December 1960, little by little some of us were coming to the distinct realization that what we were a part of was not a local church. We were told that it was presumptuous to say that we were the church in Los Angeles. We considered, “If we are not the church, what are we?” What we had experienced there was a good spiritual ministry, albeit of one man, but no opportunity for other members to function for the building up of Christ’s Body (Eph. 4:12, 18) and no ground on which to build.

It was early in May 1962 that Eugene Gruhler Sr. visited us in Los Angeles. The fellowship with our brother was helpful. We shared with him all that we had gone through during the years 1960—1962 and our desire for the normal church life in Los Angeles. After our thorough fellowship with our brother he said, “Since it seems you are so clear, why do you hesitate any longer?” There was a confirming echo within us. Still, we gave ourselves to much prayer. Every morning at 6:30 we would gather for prayer, Monday through Friday, and 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Then, on the Lord’s Day, May 27, 1962, we began to meet for the Lord’s Table as the church in Los Angeles. We called Brother Lee to relate to him the stand we had taken to meet on the ground of the local church. His response was to come and see.