Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer was assigned as episcopal leader of the Illinois Area of The United Methodist Church Sept. 1, 2008.
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. Rev. Herbert Palmer and his wife Peggy reside in Philadelphia.
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 Carolina; 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. 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.