Bishop Richard Allen helped shape American history. Known as the founder and first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, he was also a successful businessman, civic leader and social activist and a preacher.
Born a slave in 1760, Allen bought his freedom while in his 20s. He was ordained as a minister in 1784 and later united with St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. His association with St. George’s ended after Black worshippers were pulled from their knees while praying.
In 1787, Allen and fellow preacher, Absalom Jones, established the Free African Society to assist freed slaves and migrants. Twenty-nine years later, Allen and other Black Methodist leaders founded the AME Church. The U.S. Postal Service issued the Richard Allen stamp in 2016, the 200th anniversary of the founding of the AME Church.
The denomination designates the second Sunday in February as Founder’s Day, which pays tribute to Allen’s legacy. On Sunday, Feb. 10, the Southern California AME Ministerial Alliance will host a Founder’s Day service at 4 p.m., at First AME Church, 2270 S. Harvard Blvd., in Los Angeles.
Alliance President John E. Cager III, FAME Pastor J. Edgar Boyd and other ministers will lead the spirited celebration, which will also launch the group’s campaign to outreach and engage millennials. Several young people will participate in the worship.
The youth speakers include Kennedy Cofield of Rose of Sharon AME in Norwalk, Jeremiah Riggins of Cain Memorial AME in Bakersfield and Coral Pongsuwan of Holy Trinity AME in Long Beach. Choirs and soloists representing the Southern California Conference, Holy Trinity AME, Christ Our Redeemer AME and Cain Memorial AME will provide music.