Union Presbyterian Seminary Grateful for the Life of Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly

It is with great sadness yet deep appreciation for her life, that Union Presbyterian Seminary remembers Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly who passed away June 28, in Oakland, California at age 92.  The Black Alumni/ae Association of Union Presbyterian Seminary honored Bishop Kelly at the Trailblazers award banquet held on February 15, 2012, as part of the “Ministry on the Ground” conference and UPSem bicentennial.  Bishop Kelly was appreciative of her recognition as a “Trailblazer” and, as President Blount has said, the “enduring affection” of Union Presbyterian Seminary.

Bishop Kelly graduated with a Masters of Divinity from the then Union Theological Seminary in 1976 and went on to be the first African American woman bishop in the United Methodist Church.

The impact of her witness to the love and boldness of ministry in the name of Jesus Christ cannot be adequately measured.

The following link from the United Methodist Church website provides notice of her death and a celebration of her life:


“I know we all join together in affirmation of the joy and promise of resurrection in Jesus Christ of this tremendously faithful and inspirational leader,” said Director of Alumni/ae Development Lynn McClintock (D.Min. ’87), “as well as in prayer for Bishop Kelly’s friends, family and colleagues in the face of such tremendous loss."

A service for Bishop Kelly will take place on Thursday, July 5 at 10 a.m. at Jones Memorial UMC in San Francisco, with Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. and the Rev. Staci Current officiating.