Lee, Jarena 
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Time Period
1783  - 1855
Description
Jarena Lee was born to poor black parents and had very little religious training. However, a sermon in 1804 by Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, eventually led to a conversion experience. A few months later, she experienced sanctification.

In 1809, a call from God told her, “Go preach the Gospel!” Yet, Richard Allen initially denied her permission to preach due to Methodist bylaws until she gave a powerful testimony that captivated the entire congregation at Bethel Church AME in 1819. He then allowed her to be preach on the itinerary circuit, which she did for more than 30 years to both blacks and whites. In 1827 alone, she traveled 2,325 miles and gave 178 sermons. Her experiences were chronicled in her autobiography entitled Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee (1836).

As one of the first black female preachers in America, she was a pioneer for female leadership.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Women and Religion
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Race/Ethnicity and Religion in American History
Women and Religion in American History
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Methodist/Pietist Family: Other ARDA Links

Events
Publication of Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee
Photographs

Jarena Lee portrait- Internet Archive- from Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee
Book/Journal Source(s)
Murphy, Larry, J. Gordon Melton, and Gary Ward, 1993. Encyclopedia of African American Religions. New York: Garland.
Reid, Daniel, Robert Linder, Bruce Shelley, and Harry Stout, 1990. Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL.
Web Source(s)
http://www.pbs.org/godinamerica/people/jarena-lee.html
Jarena Lee entry in PBS' "God In America" series
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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