Church members, family and others gathered Sunday afternoon to honor the Rev. Hattie Mae Allen, 105, pastor of Jesus, the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth Inc., 920 S. 24th St.
Bishop Aaron Toliver of Temple, who oversees her church and seven others, said she’s been a pastor for about 60 years. She came from a family of 12 children, he said.
“Six of them were preachers and her father was a bishop,” he said.
Two of her siblings are still living. A brother in California is 95, and her sister, the Rev. E.J. White, pastor of a church in Phoenix, is 96. Her sister and a nephew, D.L. White, also of Phoenix, accompanied Allen as she entered the sanctuary during a welcoming song by the congregation.
D.L. White, a deacon at his home church, opened the program by reading from I John 1:3: “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
Several people said prayers and the congregation sang choruses, accompanied by tambourines. Six generations of Allen’s relatives were represented, and many of them stood and spoke highly of her. Larry Womack, 78, of Temple said he remembered Allen’s parents living nearby in his old neighborhood.
Toliver said Allen believes and obeys the word of God. He read from Romans 10, including verses 13 and 14: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”
Although Allen calls herself a teacher, not a preacher, he said, she’s still going strong.
Allen used a walker to take a chair facing the congregation, but her voice was clear and she repeatedly quoted segments of scripture and gave the reference. Different members of the congregation would read the entire verse, and she would continue talking about it. She titled her remarks: “Where are you and why are you here?”
God’s love is the only thing between human beings and the lake of fire, she said.
“If we don’t obey it, there’s nothing between us and the lake,” she said.
She exhorted the people to be holy.
“We have to be separate from everything that is not him,” she said. “We put Jesus first.”
The love of God makes you love everybody, she said.
“He wants us to be in love,” she said. “Love is something beautiful. I love everybody. I have two daughters, one of them is 84 and the other one is 70. I love them, but I don’t love them enough to put God down and go with them.”