A Black Man on a Mission Can Do Amazing Things: Remembering The Incredible Life of AME Founder Richard Allen
Bill Federer remembers incredible life of ex-slave Richard Allen
Richard Allen was born to slave parents in Philadelphia and was sold with his family to a plantation in Dover, Delaware. As a young man, Richard’s master, Stokley Sturgis, gave permission for him to attend Methodist religious meetings where he learned to read.
In the year 1777, at the age of 17, Richard Allen was converted and determined to work even harder to prove that Christianity did not make slaves slothful. Richard Allen invited a Methodist minister to visit his master and preach to him. Methodists were against slavery, as founder John Wesley had called it “that execrable sum of all villainies.”
After his master heard that on the Day of Judgment slaveholders would be “weighed in the balance and found wanting,” he converted and made arrangements for Richard to become free. Richard Allen became a licensed exhorter, and in 1783, set out preaching in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, walking so much that his feet became severely blistered.
In the winter of 1784, Richard Allen, and another freedman, Harry Hosier, attended the Methodists “Christmas Conference,” where the Methodist Church officially separated from the Church of England to form its own denomination.
Allen was invited but declined to preach in Southern states with the circuit-riding preacher Francis Asbury, America’s first Methodist Bishop. Instead, Harry Hosier accompanied Francis Asbury as his carriage driver.
Harry Hosier, though illiterate, memorized verbatim entire sermons and long passages of Scripture, resulting in Bishop Asbury letting him preach at his meetings with great effect. Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, exclaimed that Harry Hosier preached the greatest sermon he had ever heard.
Richard Allen and other African-Americans from St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church began their own church. Their first church building was dedicated by Bishop Francis Asbury in 1794. Dr. Benjamin Rush and George Washington contributed to Richard Allen’s church.
In 1816, Richard Allen led in the forming of an entirely new denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was the first African-American denomination organized in the United States.
The main building was in Philadelphia, named Mother Bethel AME Church. It is the oldest parcel of real estate in the United States owned continuously by African-Americans.
Jarena Lee became the first woman to receive “authorization” to preach, with Richard Allen giving his approval.
Richard Allen supported AME missionaries to Haiti. In 1827, the church sent Rev. Scipio Beanes to Haiti. By the date of Richard Allen’s death, March 26, 1831, the African Methodist Episcopal Church had grown to over 10,000 members, and since then, to over 3 million.
SOURCE: World Net Daily – Bill Federer