Service honors the generous heart of Bishop Leontine Kelly
Bishop Young Jin Cho, along with clergy and laity from around the Virginia Conference, paused to remember the life of Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly on Sunday at Asbury United Methodist Church on Church Hill in Richmond, the church Kelly was serving when she was elected as bishop.
A large group came to the service from Gallilee UMC in Edwardsville, the church where Kelly started her pulpit ministry in 1969.
Many stories were shared in the mostly unstructured service, most dealing with the impact on their lives by the small woman who became a very large figure in The United Methodist Church. One attendee told of Kelly enrolling her in college without her knowledge or consent, and paying for her schooling, simply because she knew the young woman was smart enough to complete college-level work but would not get the opportunity otherwise.
Kelly was the first African-American woman elected a bishop in mainline denominations. She was elected in the Western Jurisdiction of the church and served as the episcopal leader in the California-Nevada Annual Conference. She retired in the San Francisco area. Bishop Kelly died June 28 at age 92.