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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Patricia Beall Gruits tells her story (30 minutes)

The late J. Peter Gruits and Patricia Doris Beall were married June 15, 1946. (Photo provided by Joy Gruits)
Patricia Beall Gruits, daughter of M. D. Beall, was entrusted by the Lord with a wide-ranging ministry. In addition to the 30-minute video interview above where she tells some of her and her family's stories, here is a chronology of Patricia's life and ministry:
  • Patricia was born February 22, 1923 in Detroit, Michigan to Harry Lee Beall and Myrtle Dorthea Beall. Mrs. Beall would later write in her memoir, A Hand on My Shoulder, "I never had a little sister, and if Patricia had been a little boy, I would have been terribly disappointed for that reason. I always thank God that he gave me a little girl baby to make up for never having had a little sister. Patricia and I have always been more like sisters than mother and daughter."
  • On June 17, 1934, her mother opened a Sunday School on Detroit's eastside. That Sunday School grew to be a church with a membership in the thousands (Bethesda Missionary Temple).
  • She married J. Peter Gruits on June 15, 1946. Her parents had married on that same date 26 years earlier.
  • She gave birth to a son, Peter Harry, in April 1947.
  • She gave birth to a son, Harry Lee, in October 1950.
  • When Bethesda launched its monthly publication, Latter Rain Evangel, in July 1951 she was the editor.
  • She gave birth to a son, Patrick Joseph, in October 1951.
  • She became Bethesda's Minister of Education in 1952.
  • In 1955, she taught her first youth catechism class. The material she prepared for this class would later be developed into the book, Understanding God. Her brother, the late pastor James Lee Beall, wrote in his book, Your Pastor, Your Shepherd: "When my sister Pat first proposed to instruct our church children in basic Bible truths by means of a catechism, I was sure we would be taking a turn for the worse. The word 'catechism' had a strange feel. I had always associated it with Catholics, Lutherans, and other liturgical groups. But as we looked into the meaning of the word, we discovered that it described an old and reliable method of teaching - as old as the church itself. It uses a series of questions and answers to instill doctrine in an orderly and sensible fashion. And its use among us has brought great blessing to our church and given us a heightened sense of unity."
  • Sister Pat, as she is known affectionately by many, was ordained to the ministry in 1956.
  • She gave birth to a son, William Stanton, in May 1956.
  • She was the founding dean of Bethesda's Minister Candidate School in 1958.
  • In 1959, she taught her first adult catechism class.
  • The first edition of Understanding God was published in 1962. Eventually, over 1,000,000 copies of Understanding God were distributed. In later years, she also wrote two other books, Understanding the Master's Voice and Understanding Yourself. One of her daughters-in-law, Joy Hughes Gruits, has written both a study guide and a leader's guide for Understanding God. [UPDATE: Sister Pat's fourth book in the Understanding series, Understanding the Winds of God, is now print.]
  • Her father, Harry Lee Beall, died on April 26, 1973.
  • In 1973, she spent time teaching foundational truths to the large congregation at Church on the Hill in Toronto, Ontario. The church was pastored by Jim and Mae McAlister and had experienced tremendous growth (a couple thousand people) because of the Jesus Movement.
  • In 1975, she and her husband, J. Peter Gruits, were called to found a mission project in Haiti. RHEMA International's efforts in Haiti continue to this day. You can see two of her sons describe the ministry's many facets at this link.
  • Her mother, Myrtle Beall, died on September 18, 1979. In the eulogy she delivered at her mother's memorial service, Sister Pat told about how she had asked her mother to bless her three years prior. She sought this blessing because she wanted to be equipped for the ministries the Lord was bringing her into. She said, "... as we prayed all heaven came down, and I remember she laid her hand on me ... 'God make of thee a strong prophetess as he has made me. May he give you power over the power of the enemy; power to comfort, and power to know the will of the Lord.'"
  • Her husband, J. Peter Gruits, died on May 27, 1989.
  • She received an honorary doctorate of divinity from Southern California Bible College (currently known as, Southern California Seminary) in 1990.
  • As she had with several churches in the course of her ministry, Sister Pat spent time in 1990 and 1991 at the large Christ Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Christ Church was founded by L. H. Hardwick and his late wife, Montelle. The current pastor, Dan Scott, wrote in his book, Let the River Run: How God Used Ordinary People to Do Extraordinary Things, of Sister Pat's efforts, "Pastor Hardwick and Montelle loved the Bealls, especially loved Patricia Gruits, Ma Beall's daughter. They invited her to Nashville to catechize the hundreds of new people who had come to Christ Church because we too needed a firm foundation for our congregation."
  • Sister Pat went to be with the Lord on June 15, 2019. The obituary posted on the Charisma News website can be accessed at this link.
Two newspaper clippings follow - the first announced her as the guest speaker for a Pennsylvania church's anniversary in 2005 (and has a good summary of her ministry), and the second is J. Peter Gruits' obituary that was printed in the Detroit Free Press on May 31, 1989. [UPDATE 6/19/19 - A 13-minute video of Sister Pat talking about her father's miraculous healing has been added to the bottom of the page.  UPDATE 6/29/19 - Two tributes to Sister Pat have been posted online:  Joy Gruits' tribute can be read at this link, and Ruth Simpson Betley's can be read at this link.]
Good summary of Patricia Beall Gruits' ministryGood summary of Patricia Beall Gruits' ministry · Wed, Aug 31, 2005 – Page 3 · Tyrone Daily Herald (Tyrone, Pennsylvania) · J. Peter Gruits obitJ. Peter Gruits obit · Wed, May 31, 1989 – Page 24 · Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan) ·


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