She Overcame Obstacles To Earn Her Preaching License

African Americans posed outside of church
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Shonda Buchanan
March 10, 2021

Jarena Lee wondered if she’d ever be able to pursue her calling in this unfair country. She was plagued by the plight of her people, her hard past as a servant, and internal spiritual agony. What she hoped to do? Uplift her people as a preacher. 

But women were forbidden to do so.

As a Black woman in the late 18th century, Lee had immersed herself in her faith as a form of survival. She wanted to share her passion – but sexism stifled her goals

Bishop Allen, founder of the AME church, wouldn’t give her a chance – until something amazing happened.

One fateful Sunday, the visiting preacher was struggling to speak. Lee jumped up, convicted by “supernatural impulse” to stand and deliver.

Words poured out of her mouth – an amazing sermon! Her eloquent words stunned the congregation and changed the Bishop’s mind.

He confirmed her request to preach, helping her become the first woman to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal Church – at a time when slavery held us down, and women couldn’t even own property or vote.

Later, Lee even wrote a powerful “spiritual autobiography,” paving a path for other Black women to preach. 

When we are determined to pursue our goals despite naysayers, we can achieve our dreams and create new, powerful paths for others to follow!

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