TEMPLE — Pastor Hattie Mae Jimmerson Allen is celebrating 100 years of teaching God’s word.
Allen pastors a small but unique group of seven to 10 people who make up the Jesus church, located in downtown Temple.
She has pastored the church since the 1960s, but her Bible teaching ministry started years before that at one Church of the Living God.
She said that at the time, she and a few others came to realize the church was repeating what was in God’s word, but not doing it, and that there were other doctrinal differences she found between the church’s teachings and Scripture.
On Aug. 13, 1961, she and a handful of others left the church and were baptized into a new group.
Their launching verse was Hosea 6:3: “Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” (NIV version)
But for a while, they didn’t really have a place to go.
The group of nine people rented a house that September. Allen said that on Sept. 3, she and the others received the Holy Ghost.
“But we didn’t know the name and body we should be baptized into,” she said. Looking at certain Scriptures, Allen came to the realization they shouldn’t be an organized church in the traditional sense because the body was not a church, but the believers themselves.
“We put on Jesus’ name,” she said. “Like a son honors his father.”
For a while the new church was called Church of the Living God BJN (Baptized in Jesus’ Name.)
“We had to find out that the people were the church,” Allen said.
The church chose and still wears its name Jesus: the church of the living God and ground of the truth, inc. Allen said Jesus is who they are and the rest is just a description of what they are.
In recognition of Allen’s 100th birthday Sunday, the church, at 24th Street and Avenue J, held a special service in her honor.