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12 Rounds with Terra Allen


In our new weekly feature 12 Rounds, leaders will answer 12 questions — some light, some heavy — from our Publisher and CEO Henry Sanders to help the community understand them, what they do, and why. Today: Mt Zion Baptist Church First Lady Terra Allen.

Terra Allen was pre-school director at One City Schools before moving on to American Family Insurance where she works as an administrative assistant. She is the wife of Mt. Zion Baptist Church pastor Marcus Allen.

What advice would you give someone who is a person of color not from Wisconsin who is thinking about moving to Madison? Prior to moving to Wisconsin, we read lots of articles about how Madison had great schools and that it was a great place to raise a family. However, once we moved here, we quickly realized it was a much different narrative for Blacks and especially those with children.  So, I would say when doing your research be sure to include specifics on people of color… and pack a snow suit!

Name 3 songs that accurately reflect how you’re feeling. 1) Better Days- Le’ Andria Johnson 2) Brown Skin Girl- Beyoncé 3) Love like there’s no tomorrow- The War and Treaty 

If you could go back in time to any point of life to tell yourself something, what age would you go back to and what would you tell yourself? There are so many places I would stick a pin in, but I’d have to say I’d go back to my 18-year-old self to her to accept the performing arts scholarship to get vocal training. One of my biggest regrets. 

What did you learn about yourself in 2020? I learned that I really don’t mind being in the house all day every day, that I can literally order ANYTHNG online, that I not only love but I really like my husband. I realized how much I missed reading, that giving up coffee is extremely hard for me to do. But most of all I learned that I’m much stronger than I gave myself credit. 

At this point of your life do you feel you have found your purpose? If so, how did you figure out your purpose? Yes, I’ve found my purpose.  I believe your purpose changes based on the season of life you’re in- as you grow and change so does our purpose. But I believe at my core, my purpose has always been to serve in some capacity but at each chapter of my life it’s looked very different. I’ve served my country, my family, my community and of course the Lord. I knew it was my purpose because it’s that thing that I can do without anyone asking, no one has to pay me to do it. I don’t need recognition and it’s in line with God’s will for my life. It brings me joy. 

There is a lot of division around the issues of race in politics. What can we do to lessen those divisions? Unfortunately, this issue has been around for generations. Even the greatest of leaders struggle with this one. I think we can become so loyal to a particular political party that we stop seeing each other as people. We need to work at understanding our differences rather than fight against them. 

Sugar or salt in your grits? Salt and cheese!

How has your faith helped you in your marriage? My faith is very important to me. The Bible gives many practical lessons on how to have a successful marriage. Some of my favorite scriptures are Ephesians 5 and Proverbs 31. Not to say that every day is sunshine and roses. I love my husband dearly, but sometimes he can get on my last nerves lol. One thing that my husband and I learned early on in our marriage is how to pray for and with each other. We know that our marriage is nothing without God at the center. We understood that before we could ever have a true horizontal connection between the two of us, we needed a true vertical relationship with Christ. So, it’s never just the two of us. It’s the three of us. We are nothing without Him. He keeps us connected.  My husband often teaches that a strong marriage is like the cord of three strands. It symbolizes the unity of husband, wife, and Christ. And a cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Yolanda Adams or Tamela Mann? Tamela Mann. 

What advice would you give members of the Black community who might be skeptical about church? There is a church home for everyone. Just try one until you find one that your soul can find rest in. You have your favorite restaurant, hair salon, barber shop- why not have your favorite church?

Who is Terra Allen?  I am a Black woman, born and raised in Alabama. Family is everything to me. I am an introvert who loves people. I seek joy. I love to serve. I’m a creative. I love to laugh. I’m kind and supportive. Music is my sanctuary and Jesus is my Lord. 

What’s your favorite holiday and why? My favorite holiday is Christmas. I love everything about it: the food, the family time, shopping, gifts. Not to mention two great people were born during this season- Jesus and me.