Ida Bell was the seventh of twelve children born to Robert and Annie Bell in Hazelhurst, Georgia. The family relocated I to Pensacola, Florida, while she was still young. While in her teens, she was converted at an evangelistic street meeting. Shortly after, she began to lead prayer services in homes. In 1909, she married Oliver Robinson. They resided in Pensacola for several years until 1917, when Ida’s sister invited them to move to Philadelphia for better employment opportunities. She did street evangelism in Philadelphia under the auspices of The United Holy Church of America. In 1919, she was ordained an elder and then appointed to a small mission church, where she was successful in pastoral ministry and itinerant evangelism. In Ida’s estimation, however, prospects for women within The United Holy Church were decreasing as male leaders debated issues of ordination and pastoral authority for women. This situation confl icted with a promise from God given to her, “that He would do a great work through the women as time passed on.”1 In January, 1924, she spent ten days in prayer and fasting, and she believed that God was calling her to “Come out on Mount Sinai,”2 so that “I will use you to loose the women.”3 Immediately she set out to establish a charter for a new denomination, The Mount Sinai Holy Church of America.4 The charter was accepted while she was preaching in Burgaw, North Carolina, and the fi rst church of the new denomination was established there with Malinda Cousins as the pastor.
KeywordsReligious Cult Great Work Conscientious Objector Male Leader Sunday Morning
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- 5.“Minerva Bell estimates that between 1924 and 1932 every new church started by Mount Sinai was started by Bishop Robinson herself.” Harold Dean Trulear, “Reshaping Black Pastoral Theology: The Vision of Bishop Ida B. Robinson,” Journal of Religious Thought 46 (1989): 25.Google Scholar
- 19.This transcribed sermon is included in Bettye Collier-Thomas, Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons, 1850–1979 (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998), 201.Google Scholar
- 22.Cited in Dean Trulear, “Ida B. Robinson: The Mother as Symbolic Presence,” in Portraits of a Generation: Early Pentecostal Leaders, eds. James R. Goff and Grant Wacker (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas, 2002), 317.Google Scholar