Richard Allen was born to slave parents in Philadelphia and sold with his family to a plantation in Dover, Delaware. With the permission of his master, he began attending the Methodist meetings and learned to read and write. Richard Allen was converted at age 16 and is said to have worked harder to prove that Christianity did not make slaves worse servants. Richard Allen then invited a minister to visit and preach to his master, resulting in his master's conversion after hearing that on the Day of Judgment slaveholders would be "weighed in the balance and found wanting." His repentant master made arrangements for Richard, now 26, to become free. Richard Allen became a licensed exhorter and founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Their first church building was dedicated in 1794 by America's first Methodist Bishop, the circuit-riding preacher Francis Asbury. By the time of Richard Allen's death, MARCH 26, 1831, the African Methodist Episcopal Church had grown to over 10,000 members. Richard Allen stated: "This land, which we have watered with our tears and our blood, is now our mother country, and we are well satisfied to stay where wisdom abounds and Gospel is free."