The Assembly in the San Fernando Valley CA
The first home gathering that eventually developed into a Geftakys Assembly was in the San Fernando Valley in the home of Tom Maddux. That was in 1969. Tom says:
I never invited George Geftakys to lead the Bible study in the Valley. What actually happened was that we all just got together on Friday nights, sang some hymns, and then sat around "waiting for the Spirit to move". There wasn't anything going on that would be called a Bible study!
On some nights, no one had anything to say. Sometimes we would have the Lord's Supper. Other nights, I would give a short talk on whatever I had been studying. A few other folks, like Al Hartman or Jerry Beebe might have something to say once in a while. Some nights we just argued.
The night GG showed up we all sat quietly "waiting for the Spirit to move". No one had anything to say...so GG piped up and gave his chapter summary of I Corinthians chapter 1. It was so much better than anything I had ever heard that I was very enthusiastic about his teaching. I was glad to receive it.
The next week, GG didn't hesitate. After we had prayed and sung, he just stepped in and gave his talk on chapter 2. I was glad to hear it, and no one objected. After that, there was a tacit understanding that he would continue to teach. There was never any actual agreement by me or among us that we would let him take over.
We did passively let him take over. I for one was desperate to learn what to do about my idea that we needed to recover the "true New Testament church". I had not a clue what to do...and knew less. GG seemed like a gift from heaven. Here was a man with a vision, a plan, and the know-how to bring it about. I enthusiastically signed on. Sadly, he didn't turn out to be such a nice gift.
The folks involved in the home meeting attended George's seminars in Fullerton. When The Fullerton Assembly began in 1971 they all drove down every Sunday. Tom Maddux was appointed a Leading Brother in the Fullerton Assembly, along with Steve Irons. Tom remained a leader in the San Fernando Valley group along with Mark Campbell and Al Hartman, until he and his family moved to Fullerton. Other leaders included Tim Mcarthy, Mitch Schuster and Andrew Gunther. Judy Beauchamp (Geftakys) was one of the early members. .
Joe Sperling describes the beginning of the puppet ministry in the Valley:
I'm not positive, but the "puppet ministry" may have been started by Glenn Strohm from the Valley, around 1985. He and his wife joined the Assembly in 1978/1979 time frame out in the Valley and eventually lived with Tom Maddux in the brother's house. Glenn was very much into puppets for some reason, and I helped him to make several of them which were used to entertain the children (I believe this was during lunch time--but don't remember really well). Glenn was only involved with Assembly for a short time as I remember, so his name may not ring any bells. Of course, there was a much larger "puppet ministry" going on at the same time in the Assembly itself--there were about 300 puppets in all.
In 1985 the group in the San Fernando Valley was recognized as an independent Assembly and began breaking bread separately from Fullerton. The Leading Brothers were Mitch Schuster, Tim McCarthy, and Andrew Gunther. The leadership of these three men is discussed on the Assembly board:
Andrew Gunther: About the Assembly leadership ascertaining the will of God for people, about leading brothers having TV's while ordinary saints are prohibited, about a half-hearted apology
Pieces Written by Former Members of the San Fernando Valley Assembly
Eric B. discussed excommunication, shunning, and other methods
brought into play when people left the Geftakys Assemblies.
Kimberly T. wrote about gnats, camels and TV in the Geftakys Assembly.
Joe Sperling wrote humorously about looking for God's will.
Mark Campbell wrote Defense Mechanism of Addicts, and 'False Holiness' - condensed version and full length version, and the series, Letters to Wounded Pilgrims.
Tom Maddux wrote Misplaced Loyalty; FAQ's on Overcomer Teaching; Yet Another True Story; and The Lucifer Effect.
Al Hartman wrote a meditation on the 23rd Psalm. He also wrote about Assembly loaded language, and the Assembly false concept of love.