Church History

Church History

Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church was organized by several people who were formerly members of the Faith Presbyterian Churchin Oakland, CA. In this endeavor they joined with others who had not been members of that congregation.

One of the Charter Members fondly recalls how a group of young men, most of them neighbors in the Fairmede/Hilltop Community, regularly biked to a restaurant in Berkeley for breakfast on Sunday mornings. After a while a member of the clergy named Rev. Eugene Farlough Jr. became a visitor to the group. Before long, the conversation changed from hot biscuits, pancakes, eggs, and sausage to Christian Ministry in their community. Out of these discussions came the idea to start a church whose mission would be centered on community service programs with a particular commitment to oppressed people in name and service.

Lacking significant funds, and without a permanent facility, the initial meetings were held in individual homes.  The first major task was to establish clarity of self identification. It was decided to name the new church after a strong and exceptional Black woman. They decided upon a woman, who like these strong young Christians, refused to separate faith from action, strongly believed in the salvation of the soul, fought for the freedom of all God’s people, and struggled for the liberation of one’s body, “Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church” was born! The original five families became the “Founding Members.”

On March 12, 1972, twenty-six individuals gathered in the multi-purpose room of the Fairmede Elementary School to hold the first worship service. The original worshippers were: Carolyn, Lisa, Stacey, and Tami Anderson, Archie, Tracey, and Veronica Bush, Mary Burns, Ollie, Sonya, and Zephyr Cotton, Beatrice, Kenneth and Terri Jett, Charles Jr., Charles III, and Stella McHenry, Edward, Kimberly, and Sandra Phillips, and Joe, Peggy, and Rasha Smith, Rev. H. Eugene, Arlyce, and Chris-Darnell Farlough.

By the next year an additional ten souls had joined the church. Discussion of a New Church Development was under way now, and with permission and funding from the Presbytery of San Francisco, the PCUSA General Assembly, and additional sources the present site at 2621 Shane Dr. was purchased. On April 15, 1973 the facility, originally constructed by Highland’s Presbyterian Church became the newest predominately African American church in the Presbytery.

On September 28, 1974, San Francisco Presbytery officially commissioned Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church, with ninety-nine charter members and the Rev. Eugene Farlough Jr., as organizing pastor. He was installed as permanent pastor one year later.

Sojourner Truth Church continued its growth, and on May 23, 1981 the congregation launched plans to build a new sanctuary, and to use the “barnraising” approach. This massive project was done as a labor of love by dedicated individuals from within the church, sister churches, and community volunteers. On August 7, 1988 the first worship service was held in the new facility.

On August 15, 1994 Reverend Farlough ended his tenure as pastor and accepted a position in Atlanta, Georgia at the Interdenominational Theological Center. A variety of very competent ministers of the word assisted the church while it diligently searched for a new permanent pastor. These were Reverends Arlene Gordon, Arthur Scott, Carmen Mason-Brown, Charles Tinsley and Reverend Ophelia Manney.

On May 28, 1996 Sojourner suffered profound loss when the Reverend H. Eugene Farlough passed from this life and was called home.

In 1997 a call was extended to Reverend John Howard, who served for three years. In 2000, a call was extended to Reverend James Noel, who served us for seven years. In August 2008, a call was extended to our present pastor, Reverend Kamal Hassan.

January 22nd 2012, Rev Kamal Hassan is fully installed as Pastor/Teaching Elder at Sojournter Truth Presbyterian Church.

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