The First Church of Understanding was originated by a Spiritual idea by Sarah Solada in 1939. She began the church in her own home, and in time moved the church into it's own building. The Church has moved numerous times to it's current location in Roseville, Michigan.
Sarah was involved in the community affairs of the day, and was also on local Detroit television. She took part in the Congress of the INTA as well.
Here is Sarah's story as she wrote it. She was born in the year 1902 In Kittanning, Pa, of John and Hannah James in a home of many sisters, and one brother. Sarah Jane James and her sisters and brother gathered night after night around their mother's knee while she spun tales. Her mother stands out as one of the greatest philosophers of her time. Every story she told had a living moral; while obedience was exacted from all. Rev Solada often says she owes all that she is or expects to be to her mother and this early training.
After finishing the school that this town offered, she began her career in an office. Hoping to become a linguist, she continued with her studies at night school.
One may plan but none can know what God intends. So it was with her, for into her life walked a man named Earl Solada whom she later married.
She had hoped that marriage need not interfere with her chosen work; but again God made His presence felt. Just nine months and eighteen days later, she gave birth to a son. The birth and death of this son reamained a living tragedy with her through her life.
It was her sin and of course payment was exacted. Just two days before this spirit of her son was permitted to enter into it's earth body, she denounced the right for him to walk in this plane of living. She prayed that the body, of which she was giving shelter would be closed against this spirit. Would not a baby stop her from progressing in her chosen work?
On a beautiful Saturday morning, her son was born; the most beautiful baby that ever had lived. When her eyes beheld this marvel, all the dormant mother love welled to the surface and she knew that great emotion that only mothers experience; the love of a mother for her child.
She had not knkown what she later learned, that one does receive just that for which he asks if asked of God in the right way, whether it be good or bad.
If only that child had been denied the right for earth living, she would have been very much satisfied. Instead, it lived. But for such a short time. Just two days.
She learned as all must learn, that God sees that one must learn His lessons.
The agony that she endured! The punishment that is inflicted each succeeding day by her conscience; that ever present voice of God! God had handed her a gift, a precious gift but she tossed it right back at Him.
Still from the valley of Sorrow, Compassion and Love are born in the hearts of Men.
Two children, two little girls, came to help her to forget her sorrow. God, in His great compassion and love compensated to some extent by permitting them to be born of her. The blessings that accompanied them have helped to mold the life of Sarah Solada for His Great Work.
Soon after this, she came to Detroit. She didn't bear transplanting well; illness descended upon her and for several years, her life was threatened.
One night, she faced the fact that upon the morrow she would undergo a very dangerous operation from which she might not survive. She didn't want to leave her children. So in her prayers, she bargained with God; her life until she raised her girls in exchange for what He willed with the rest of her life.
That operation did not cure the disease but it did prolong her life. One day, she met a wise man who taught her how to go to God in prayer and to receive the health that she so sorely needed. She became well.
This demonstrated act intrigued her; and she sought to know more of the Powers that God held ready for our use. One day, she realized that when people with pain approached her, she felt their pains in her body. She began to demonstrate the Power of Prayer and soon learned that others could be healed through her prayers.
TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION
One night, after she and her husband had retired and had fallen into a deep slumber, they were aroused by a voice calling, "Sarah". Again, the voice called, and then again. Unable to tell from where the voice came, she called back, "Yes".
This time, the voice seemed closer and it commanded, "Go forth ye and preach". A quick response of "No" came from her. This time, The Voice said, "Remember your promise".
In a twinkling of an eye, she relived again that night when she bargained for her life with God. What could she do but to obey?
With just a small prayer service, she began her work of praying for the sick. Returning to her studies, she began to prepare for a much greater career than she had ever dreamed possible. The training that she had received at her mother's knees had laid the foundation for this great work.
Soon her home, in which the prayer meetings were held, became too small. Larger quarters were found in a vacant building. On October 9th 1939, she with her band of loyal helpers began a greater work for God.
For five years, they remained in this building which served as a church. It became too small for many earnest seekers came and remained to serve others.
On June tenth, 1945, the doors of their new building opened. Such a grand gift from God in such a short time; just five years and eight months from the date of the opening of the first building!
As little Samuel heard the call of God and did His work, so shall Rev. Solada continue to help others to understand God's Works. She knows that "Knowledge is Power but the Understanding of God's Laws bring Eternal Life".
GOLDEN THOUGHT:"What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with Understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with Understanding."
AND IT SHALL BE CALLED "UNDERSTANDING"
In the year 1939, a small group of church minded people gathered together to decide upon the name of their new Church. It was a momentous question. Just any name wouldn't do.
With such a question, there was but one thing to do. That was to ask God for His help. Kneeling in prayer, they laid their question in the lap of Him from whom all help comes.
While yet kneeling, Rev. Solada asked this question. "What do you expect to get out of this Church?." Somebody answered, "An understanding of God's Laws and how to apply them to everyday use".
Then it seemed as if God spoke in their hearts for in unison they voiced these words, "and it shall be called UNDERSTANDING".
WHY IT BECAME AN INTERDENOMINATIONAL CHURCH
With the name of their Church established, the next question arose. "Should we join a recognized group of religous workers?" They knew that what they had found was Truth but they feared to forge alone.
They joined an established organization but soon found that they had made a mistake. Many of the beliefs were similar but many of the "practices" were highly condemned. Soon they resigned.
This time, they knew that they could walk alone as long as they followed the great "SHEPHERD". They had learned to know that which they had learned at their mother's knees were still a part of them and would, always remain so.
The difference laid in the application of God's lessons. They knew that all churches lead to God if they would but let the Christ dwell within and the Shepherd lead them.
Catholic and Protestant, Jew, and Gentile banded themselves together that through their mutual understanding and love, a greater Truth might live.
That is the end of Rev. Solada's words about the creation of the church.
Eventually, Rev. Solada had to pass the torch of operating the Church on to others. Her daughter Lydia Goings, & her husband Pastor Raymond Goings , Rev. Larry Goings, and Sarah's sister Vivian had always been involved in building the Church & kept the Church going and moving it forward for many years. The Church has since been entrusted to Pastor Melissa Vincent, her husband Jim, Dr. Jack Isaacs, Rose Elya, & Rev. Douglas Knuth to continue the Church doing the work that it has done for the last 75 years!
Photo from August 1962 of Sarah Solada, daughter Lydia Goings, & Raymond Goings (3rd, 4th, & 5th from Left)
An old advertisement for the church.