Remembering Our Founder

Bishop Richard Allen

February 14, 1760 – March 26, 1831
Bishop Richard Allen, born a slave became a minister, educator and writer. Bishop Richard AllenHe had a calling to preach and was licensed to preach in 1782. Allen would travel for many years proclaiming the gospel through the Mid-Atlantic States. In 1794 he founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, first independent black denomination in the United States, His first church was opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He co-founded, the Free Society with Absalom Jones, which was founded in 1787. An organization that held religious services and provided aid for freed African, this was the first Black institution in the city and the first independent Black church in the US. He was ordained a deacon and later an elder in 1799.

First Lady, Sister Flora Allen, his first wife were married for a little over six years. She was a strong supporter of her husband and shared his religious commitment. She was also a community activist and impressed those in the white communities in the way she presented herself.
Both being business minded reached out to get support to practice Methodism and continued to assist fugitive slaves who came to the city. She supported him financially and they would purchase or invest in business ventures. One of them being Bethel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They laid the foundation of the AME church. Sister Flora was called home after a long illness March 14, 1801.

Flora Allen1764-July 16, 1849

First Lady, Sister Sara Bass Allen, born a slave, the second wife of Bishop Richard Allen had four children from this union. Sister Sara was an abolitionist and missionary for the AME church, known as the Founding Mother. They used their home as a refuge to hide those slaves in need, feed and cloth them; earning money to help give them a new start in the north.

She organized the Daughters of Conference, which supported ministers with their clothing, food and material support. The organization continued after her death; she was buried next to Bishop Allen in a tomb in the lower level of Mother Bethel Church.


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