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Our History

Since 1972, The Chapel of Awareness has ordained 28 Ministers and 7 Healers. Over 9,000 students have passed through our door to develop their awareness. Many were attracted to the Golden Thread of truth which is woven through all faiths and religions; but exists alone without human dogma.

Our Founders

Our Founders cast a long shadow they did not desire us to be under, they were both dedicated to helping people be in the light. In the light we stand, sharing their story.


Rev. Gene Larr

Founder, Chapel of Awareness

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Rev. Donald Shwartz

Co-Founder, Chapel of Awareness

Rev. Eugene Larr founded Chapel of awareness in 1972; and his dear friend, Rev. Donald Shwartz co-founded Chapel of Awareness.

Rev. Larr was a practicing clairvoyant, clairaudient trance-medium starting in 1949. Early in his life, he began the study and practice of Mahayana Buddhism. A few years later, he was introduced to Spiritualism by Rev. Jean Bradley of St. Michael’s Spiritual Church in Pasadena, California.

Rev. Larr was also a true academic, receiving doctorates in both Micro-Paleontology and Religious Science, and minor degrees in Astronomy and Astrophysics. His academic and spiritual training enabled him to have an open mind, and deep understanding of life. Our members still look back fondly on our charismatic founder.

During a time when Rev. Larr was conducting classes from his home, he received a message from spirit which included names and a phone number of  individuals who would help him start a church.  Upon contacting these strangers, they began attending classes at his home; and eventually gifted him the beautiful property we call home today- The Chapel of Awareness.

Donald was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA in 1931.  From an early age he had a love for animals that began to express itself through art.  Though it was not clear then that he would become an artist, he won a lifetime membership in the Humane Society of America for a picture he composed when in the Fourth grade.  Don said of that experience, “My heart was moved by a picture of a dog which had been injured by a car.  I painted a picture of the dog and entered it in a contest with the title ‘Please Care’ and I won.” He went on to share, “I was always full of love for animals.  They are so vulnerable to the whims of their owners, and yet are so loyal and forgiving.  I wanted to speak for the little animals that need someone to care for them.  I still do.”

While visiting Pasadena one day he saw a ‘Help Wanted’ ad in the office window of an optical firm and stepped inside saying, “I’m here for the position.”  Dr. Eugene C. Larr, owner of Larr Optics, hired him on the spot and their professional relationship became a fast and enduring friendship that lasted until Dr. Larr’s death in 2006.

At Chapel of Awareness,  he focused on healing – helping others to contribute to their own healing and to healing others.   Many a person and wounded critter came his way and he always had time for each.

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