The Oakland Pentecostal Women Who Defied Convention to Change Their Churches and Their Communities

In the World's Fastest Growing Christian Movement, a Rare Local Tradition of Female Leadership Remains Unbroken

When I was 17, God put it in my heart to attend Patten Bible College (now Patten University)—and thus brought me into contact with Willa Bebe Patten, a Pentecostal minister who founded the Oakland school.

Arriving there, I felt a sense of déjà vu—because I had been born in Oakland and because, as I would later learn, many members of my family rode the bus on Mission Boulevard from Niles (now a district of Fremont) to Oakland to hear the famed woman evangelist Bebe Patten during her early revival services …