Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the WNCC: Karen Kagiyama

May 17, 2022

By: Jim Pyatt, WNCC Archivist & Historian

Rev. Karen Miyoshi Kagiyama

Rev. Karen Miyoshi Kagiyama was the first Asian-American woman to be ordained an Elder and be received into Full Connection as a clergy member of the WNC Conference. 

Born in Misawa, Japan, Rev. Kagiyama received her B.A. from Emory University and her Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology. 

She was received as a Probationary Member and ordained Deacon in 1991, and received into Full Connection and ordained Elder in 1994.  From 1991 to 1994 she served as pastor of the Table Rock Charge in the Marion District, then was appointed to serve as pastor at St. Andrew UMC in Carrollton, GA.

She transferred her membership to the North Georgia Conference on January 1, 1996.

Be sure to read the other biographies written by WNCC Archivist & Historian Jim Pyatt:
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.

#BeUMC Personal Reflections