Texas pastor Hattie Mae Allen lived through the Great Depression, two world wars, and has been preaching for more than half a century.
Last Sunday, the 105-year-old was honored at her Temple, Texas church, simply named “Jesus,” for devoting the last 57 years of her life to teaching the message of “love.”
It’s a tradition that runs in her family, going back six generations. Born the daughter of a bishop, Allen was one of 12 children in her family. She is also one of six who became preachers. Now, Allen has dozens of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren of her own.
They affectionately call her “Grammer.”
Pastor Hattie Mae Allen just turned 105 but that doesn't stop her from getting up and sharing the Word of God.
She is simply known as “teacher” at Jesus church.
“We put Jesus first,” explained Allen via the Temple Daily Telegram.
Allen’s daughter Ruth Freeman summed up her mother’s life as living out a particular scripture of Luke: “For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” The sometimes-verbose preacher certainly has words to spare, not to mention wisdom; she tells the Telegram she has a “PhD” in Jesus, despite not actually having a formal degree.
“I have a pure heart’s desire, and that is what God will honor in the end,” said Allen.
Growing up, Allen was raised to read the bible every day.
“As a child, I was sent to the bedroom to study and then went into the living room to speak them to my mother. Because of that and more, I learned to live as an example of a member of the Body of Christ,” Allen said. “I was raised with love, respect and good virtues.”
“He wants us to be in love,” she said. “Love is something beautiful. I love everybody. I have two daughters, one of them…
She was ordained in 1962, and has been with congregations in Marlin, Calvert, Forth, Athens, Austin, and now Temple.
She continues preaching right up to today, hosting services on Tuesday and Thursday, and most Sundays when she’s feeling well enough. Worship starts at 2:30 p.m. at the corner of 24th Street and Avenue J. She will teach for all who come. The centenarian minister still lives on her own, just “me and Jesus,” she says.
“For her to still be able to do that, and honor her at 105 and she still has that desire. That was just wonderful. That’s a blessing!” said Freeman.
Assistant pastor Aaron Toliver, who has been a preacher for over 30 years, says Allen has taught him a lot throughout his ministry, describing her as “full of wisdom and knowledge.”
“I believe she was sent by God to help me. She is a wonderful woman of God,” Toliver adds.