Keaton assigned to Illinois Area


Bishop Jonathan KeatonAKRON, Ohio -- Bishop Jonathan Keaton has been assigned as episcopal leader of the Illinois Area, effective Sept. 1.

Keaton, currently bishop of the Michigan Area, will succeed Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, who has been assigned to West Ohio after a single term in Illinois.

Bishops Michael Coyner and John Hopkins were assigned for a third four-year term to Indiana and East Ohio respectively.  Both have completed eight years in their areas.

Bishop Bruce Ough, who has completed 12 years as episcopal leader in West Ohio, will be going to the new episcopal area formed by the joining of the Dakotas and Minnesota conferences. Although remaining separate conferences, Ough will have presidential responsibilities over both conferences.

The complete listing of assignments are as follows:

  • Indiana Area: Bishop Michael Coyner (3rd term)
  • Iowa Area: Bishop Julius Trimble
  • Dakotas/Minnesota Area: Bishop Bruce Ough
  • Michigan Area: Bishop Deborah Kiesey
  • West Ohio: Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
  • Chicago Area: Bishop Sally Dyck
  • Ohio East: Bishop John Hopkins (3rd term)
  • Illinois Area: Bishop Jonathan Keaton
  • Wisconsin Area: Bishop Hee-Soo Jung

Keaton was elected to the episcopacy in 1996. Prior to that, he served as a District Superintendent in the Northern Illinois Conference.

He was a member of the conference staff responsible for monitoring the church's stand on social issues, providing support and encouragement for ethnic local churches and promoting spiritual formation. Keaton also has served churches in Chicago and Rockford and was a teaching assistant at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, where he earned a Master's of Divinity and Doctorate in Sacred Theology. Keaton teaches in numerous conference Schools of Christian Mission. Currently, Bishop Keaton chairs the denomination's Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century Committee.

He has traveled extensively in support of world missions.

In 1967 he received the Outstanding Service Award from Philander Smith College, Little Rock Ark., where he did his undergraduate work. Also, Garrett Evangelical presented Bishop Keaton with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001.

Keaton and his wife, Beverly, have three children: Jonathan II, Tandreka and Anaya. They have one grandchild, Maliah Hope Keaton.