Rita (Reed) Bennett: Founder of Christian Renewal Association, author, speaker

Rita Bennett with her husband, the Rev. Dennis Bennett.

Dr. Rita (Reed) Bennett: 1934-2021

(For an audio version of this obituary, scroll to the bottom)

Rita (Reed) Bennett was born in Lake Huron, Michi­gan, in 1934, and was the third child of William and Lo­retta Reed. She was very fond of her brothers, Dr. William Standish Reed and Robert Reed, DDS, now deceased, and her surviving sister, Georgia Reed Danahy.

The family moved to Tampa, Florida, in 1936, where she spent her childhood and teenage years. Rita gained a bachelor of arts in education at the University of Florida in 1958, and went on to work in the Florida State Department of Education in child welfare. This work equipped her well for her calling to heal the bro­ken in heart and soul.

In 1966, she married The Rev. Canon Dennis J. Bennett, a well-known Charismatic Episcopal Priest, and they be­gan a wonderful marriage of service to the Lord. In 1968 they founded Christian Renewal Association Inc. (CRA) to minster worldwide and across denominations in Evange­lization, Healing and Church Renewal.

Rita made her mark as a writer when she co-authored with Dennis their classic book, “The Holy Spirit and You” (1971). Dennis passed away in 1991, leaving Rita to carry the torch on her own. Rita has gone on to write numerous other books and teaching syllabuses.

She co-founded, with Shade O’Driscoll, the Emotionally Free In­ner Healing Ministry, which is now international.

In 2008 Rita earned her master’s of arts degree in Ap­plied Behavioral Science, with an emphasis in Family and Marriage Therapy, from Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. She specialized in Counselling with Compas­sion and Spiritual Wisdom to many in leadership, as well as individual care to families.

Oral Roberts University conferred a Honorary Doctoral degree, which recognized with distinction Rita’s extensive work in emotional and spiritual healing, saying, “We thank God for what He has accomplished through you, and we want to honor you as a person, for what you have done in His name.”

Rita was pleased to also receive an Honorary Doc­toral degree for Dennis that day.

Rita was in frequent demand as a speaker, TBN tele­vision host for 11 years, an Edmonds Beacon worship columnist for six years, and a teacher and Bible study leader for retreats and seminars, in many different de­nominations in the U.S. and overseas.

Tens of thousands of people’s lives have been trans­formed through her ministry.

Although Rita did not have any natural-born children, she leaves behind two stepsons, Steve and Conrad Ben­nett, numerous nieces and nephews, thousands of spiri­tual children, and friends and co-workers in the Vineyard.

Rita and Dennis’s spiritual legacy will live on through these people and through the ongoing work of their min­istry of Christian Renewal Association Inc.

If you would like to register to attend Rita’s Celebration of Life Service to be held on June 4 at 10:30 a.m. in Ed­monds, Washington, or to send your personal tributes and donations in lieu of flowers, go to Rita’s website at www.emotionallyfree.org, or contact CRA at 425-775-2965 or P.O. Box 576, Edmonds, WA 98020.


  1. What a powerhouse Rita is! I feel sure her strength and faith will continue to influence us who knew her. Shine on bright spirit!

  2. What a sweetheart. She led a retreat for my church women years ago. She was a wonderful women. She and Dennis are enjoying the fruits of their labors.
    RIP dear Rita!

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