African American Female Preacher
Sunday Memoirs takes a look back in the past to find inspiration for the future. We will take time to share great inspiring accounts and building moments of the Black Church and others, depicting religious traditions and spiritual awakenings that contributed to the foundation of the church and our faith today. At times we will share inspirational words to educate and encourage individuals on their journey of faith in God.
This Sunday we will introduce a series called "Preachers from the Past", focusing on the preachers that risk their lives in many cases during enslavement to spread the message of the gospel and start some of our greatest churches and traditions of the day. Our journey takes to view the first female preacher in the A.M.E. Church and the first African American woman to have her autobiography published in the U.S. A trailblazer for women in ministry then and now today.
Minister Jarena Lee was the first authorized female preacher in the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church. Lee, whose family or maiden name is unknown, was born to a poor but free black family on February 11, 1783, in Cape May, New Jersey.
Born into a free black family, Lee noted the immorality of slavery. At a time period of segregation and unequal privilege, Richard Allen (Richard Allen, the African Methodist Episcopal Church founder and denomination bishop and pastor of Mother Bethel’s AME Church) gave her the opportunity for her voice to be heard. Going up against racial and gender issues, she found her home and ability to let her voice be heard at the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1819. She was part of the Second Great Awakening. A leader in the Wesleyan-Holiness movement, Jarena Lee preached the doctrine of entire sanctification throughout pulpits of the African Methodist Episcopal connexon. She was also the first African American woman to have an autobiography published in the United States. In Lee's two autobiographical memoirs, The Life and Religious Experience of Jarena Lee and its expanded version, Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee. Extensive archival research by Dr. Frederick Knight has revealed that Jarena Lee died penniless in Philadelphia sometime in early 1864; despite this inauspicious end, her fight for women and religion inspired African American women and men then and today. Lee's work as a preacher broke a social barrier that had excluded women, especially black women, from religious leadership.
This Sunday We Ponder:
Preachers from the Past: Jarena Lee
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Music By: Kirk Whalum, Title Song: Wade In the Water
Edited by: Juels N. Evans, Sound Engineer
Picture/Resources: WP, christianitytoday.com