Bishop Leeland Announces Cabinet Changes

April 5, 2021

Rev. Linda Kelly has announced her retirement effective July 1, 2021. Linda has served as the District Superintendent of the Smoky Mountain District since 2018. Linda has served nine local churches in her 30+ years of ministry. “I will forever be grateful for the lessons of faith, grace, and love I learned from these church members and their children,” she said. Prior to her appointment as a District Superintendent, she served as pastor of First UMC in Lenoir, Weaverville UMC, Bradley Memorial UMC and as associate pastor of Matthews UMC and St. Stephen UMC in Charlotte. Linda was also the pastor of Trinity UMC in Gastonia, Asbury UMC in Huntersville and associate at Central UMC in Shelby after transferring from the North Carolina Conference where she had her first pastoral appointment as the associate pastor of Centenary UMC in New Bern. She completed her undergraduate degree at Wake Forest University and earned a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Master of Theology from Duke Divinity School. We celebrate her faithful ministry and wish her well in retirement. She shares, “This is the right time for me to retire. My beach condo is beckoning and it is time for me to travel to Boston and beyond to spend time with my daughter, Kasey, and other family members and friends who have been waiting impatiently for me to retire from my “weekend job.” It has been an unexpected gift of grace to be in ministry with the clergy and laity of the churches in the Smoky Mountain District as their District Superintendent these three years. It is a gift of joy to know that as I am entering the season of retirement, the Rev. Dr. Jae Lee will be the newly appointed District Superintendent of the Smoky Mountain District.”
Rev. Dr. Hyung Jae Lee will succeed Linda as District Superintendent of the Smoky Mountain District. Most recently, Jae has served as pastor of Calvary UMC in Charlotte since 2013. Previously, he was pastor of Wesley UMC and Thrift UMC, both in Charlotte, and associate pastor at First UMC in Brevard.  Jae 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. Jae is married to Kim, a registered pharmacist (PharmD) in North and South Carolinas. Jae and Kim have three children, Jung Woo, Joanna, and James.
“I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to the Rev. Linda Kelly for her faithful service. With her retirement, I’m pleased to welcome the Rev. Dr. Jae Lee as Smoky Mountain District Superintendent. We recognize the vital importance for our Cabinet to reflect the diverse voices of our conference,” Bishop Leeland said.  

Related Announcements: 
Bishop Leeland Announces Cabinet, Staff Changes
Bishop Leeland Welcomes Rev. Dr. Bill White as Director of Equity and Justice Ministries