Sunday Message: April 29, 2018

Bishop Richard Allen, Apostle of Freedom

Presented by Leonard Dozier

About Bishop Richard Allen

Richard Allen was born a slave in Delaware in 1760 and became a Methodist at age 17. He was able to purchase his freedom after his master, Stokeley Sturgis, heard the anti-slavery preaching of the Rev. Freeborn Garrettson. Allen was one of two black Methodists licensed to preach by the 1784 Christmas Conference, the inaugural conference of American Methodism. He ministered to free blacks in Philadelphia, growing the congregation of St. George's Church, though he was relegated to preaching in the early mornings. When he, along with other leading African-Americans, including Harry Hosier and Absalom Jones, were forced to get up from prayer to make way for whites, Allen walked out in protest, determined to found his own church. Though he and his followers had to take their fight to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to do so, he succeeded in founding Mother Bethel - the first church of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. He accomplished this while leading ministry to victims of the yellow yever epidemic in Phildelphia during 1793 - and suffering terribly himself. Today, the AME denomination is 2.5 million members strong, and Mother Bethel is still a vital congregation in Philadelphia.

About Leonard Dozier:

A two-time regional Broadway Best Actor nominee for his work in August Wilson's "Fences" and "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," Leonard is a veteran actor who has had principal roles in several films, TV and a number of stage productions, including the films Phaesporia, Turning Point "Legends of Oz" with Dan Akyroyd, Kelsey Grammar and Jim Belushi and as the star and narrator of the first landmark film Apostle of Freedom about the life of Richard Allen. He also starred as Allen in the Emmy-winning TV episode "Fever:1793." An accomplished voice actor as well, he is the official voice of Boomtown Casino where he won an ADDY award in 2012 and is one of the new voices of the NFL, having narrated Super Bowl 51 and 52's recap show for NFL Films Presents. He is also one of the leading voice over coaches in the country, whose workshop was recently highlighted in SAG-AFTRA magazine. A long-time singer-songwriter, he has released four albums (including the popular single "This Thanksgiving") and his new album "Sunday Word" will be released in summer 2018. Learn more at

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