Palmer second Black bishop to lead United Methodist’s West Ohio Conference
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer begins his assignment in September as resident bishop of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, which is headquartered in Worthington, Ohio. An installation service is scheduled for Sept. 16, after which the area new Bishop will visit each district.
Bishop Palmer will be just the second African American bishop appointed to head the West Ohio Conference. The first African American bishop of the conference, Bishop Edsel A. Ammons, served from 1984 until he retired in 1992. Ammons died in 2010.
Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer had served as bishop (also called “episcopal leader”) of the Illinois Area of The United Methodist Church from Sept. 1, 2008 to his recent appointment to the lead the West Ohio Conference.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., Bishop Palmer is a “child of the church,” the son of the Rev. and Mrs. Herbert E. and Charlotte Sue Hewitt Palmer. Bishop Palmer’s father is a retired United Methodist pastor; his mother (now deceased) was a school teacher in the Philadelphia Public School system.
Bishop Palmer received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and his master’s of divinity degree from Duke Divinity School, Durham, N.C. Baldwin-Wallace College, Iowa Wesleyan College and Simpson College have all awarded him honorary degrees.
Ordained a deacon and probationary member in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference in 1977, Palmer was ordained an elder in full connection in the East Ohio Conference in 1981.
His pastoral career includes pastorates at Granville-Vance UMC’s and Durham Asbury Temple UMC in North Caro lina; East Glennville UMC and Werner UMC in Cleveland, Ohio; James S. Thomas UMC in Canton, Ohio and the United Methodist Church of Berea, Berea, Ohio. Palmer also served as district superintendent of the Youngstown District of the East Ohio Conference.
In 2000, Palmer was elected to the episcopacy by the North Central Jurisdictional Conference and became a bishop for the first time. He was assigned to the Iowa Area where he served until assuming responsibilities in the Illinois Area. Bishop Palmer served as president of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry from 2004 to 2008, and president of the Council of Bishops from April 2008 to May 2010.
Bishop Palmer and his wife, Cynthia, are the parents of two grown children – Monica, a middle school special education teacher in the Charlotte, N.C. and Aaron, who is employed at Impact Technologies in Charlotte, N.C.
Mrs. Palmer is an honors graduate in religion of Duke University. She is a Senior Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics. She has served as a Director of Christian Education, as staff of several Community Action Agencies focused on Welfare to Work projects. She is an outstanding student and teacher of the scriptures and has a strong interest in women’s leadership development.