Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the WNCC: Rev. Dr. Hyung Jae Lee
By: Jim Pyatt, WNCC Archivist & Historian
Rev. Dr. Hyung Jae Lee
Rev. Dr. Hyung Jae Lee became the first Asian-American to be appointed as a District Superintendent in the WNC Conference in 2021 when he was appointed as the District Superintendent of the Smoky Mountain District. This year at Annual Conference he will become another “first” for the WNC Conference when he is appointed to serve as the conference’s Director of Connectional Ministries (as the first Asian-American to serve in this capacity), in addition to his serving as a District Superintendent. Rev. Dr. Lee has a distinguished 20 year history of ministry in the WNC Conference, having served previously at First UMC, Brevard (Associate) 2002-2005; Thrift UMC, Charlotte 2005-2008; Wesley UMC, Charlotte 2008-2013; and Calvary UMC, Charlotte 2013-2021. Born in Asan, South Korea, Rev. Dr. Lee completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea. He earned a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a Doctor of Ministry at Duke Divinity School. Rev. Dr. Lee is married to Kim, a registered pharmacist (PharmD) in North and South Carolinas. Jae and Kim have three children, Jung Woo, Joanna, and James.
Be sure to read the other biographies written by WNCC Archivist & Historian Jim Pyatt:
Rev. Dr. Abraham Kim, the first Asian-American to be elected as a clergy delegate to Jurisdictional Conference from the WNC Conference.
Rev. Karen Miyoshi Kagiyama, the first Asian-American women to be ordained an Elder in the WNCC.
In Muk Kim, the first Asian-American to be elected as a delegate (clergy or lay) to Jurisdictional Conference from the WNC Conference.
Rev. M. B. Lee McCrary, the first woman to become a full clergy member of the Western North Carolina Conference.
Rev. Dolores Barus Queen, the first woman to serve as District Superintendent in the Western NC Conference.
Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer, the first (and to date, the only) woman to serve as Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference.
Mrs. Jettie Morrison, a key figure in the Women's Society of Christian Service and the integration of The United Methodist Church in 1968.
Bishop L. Scott Allen (May 4, 1918-September 18, 2004), the first (and to date, the only) African-American to serve as Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference.
Mrs. Effie Miller (September 17, 1930-September 1, 2008), a leader in the Western North Carolina Conference and the United Methodist Church, especially with regard to the United Methodist Women.
The Rev. Dr. J. C. Peters (July 10, 1925- July 2, 1998), the first African-American to serve as a District Superintendent in the Western North Carolina Conference.
Mr. Clarence Winchester, a leader in the North Carolina Conference (Central Jurisdiction) and in the WNC Conference.
Dr. Isaac Miller (September 26, 1920-November 1, 2008), a leader in Higher Education and in the United Methodist Church.
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