Beard appoints Walker, Renner as new DSes, Zimmerman named interim superintendent


Allynn Walker Charliam Renner J. Keith Zimmerman

By Paul Black
SPRINGFIELD – Bishop Frank J. Beard has announced the appointments of Rev. Allynn Walker and Rev. Charliam Renner as conference superintendents, effective July 1. Walker will be assigned to the Mississippi River District and Renner will be assigned to the Embarras River District.

Beard also announced that the Rev. Dr. Keith Zimmerman has been named interim superintendent of the Vermilion River District, effective Feb. 1. Zimmerman will be filling in for the Rev. James Barnett during a convalescent period after Barnett underwent open heart surgery earlier this week.

Allynn Walker

“Rev. Walker has had a fruit-filled ministry,” Beard said in making the appointment to the Mississippi River District. “She has served as a Deacon and as an Elder in the church. She is a gifted leader that has an infectious love for Jesus. She is a prayer warrior, an excellent administrator, and a skilled leader.”

A native of Springfield, Walker said she “experienced the local church at its best” at the Jerome UMC. A graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, the University of Missouri-Columbia and Eden Theological Seminary, Walker taught sociology at the University of Wisconsin and was an academic advisor at the University of Texas before receiving her call to ministry.

In 2002, Walker began candidacy as a deacon and served on the staff of Springfield First UMC. In 2005, she was ordained a deacon in full connection. Sensing a new direction in her ministry, Walker began working on the elder’s track, a process that culminated with her ordination as an elder in 2013.

Beard noted that Walker is part of a clergy couple and “knows how to navigate and negotiate ministry complexities.” Walker’s husband, David Blackburn serves as associate pastor of a non-denominational church.

In addition to David, her loves include her two stepchildren, reading, Zumba and her wheaten terrier.

Charliam Renner

“Rev. Charliam Renner comes from a family with a strong heritage of pastoral ministry,” Beard said. “He brings a wide range of experience and diversity to the Cabinet table. He is a man of discipline, principle and a strong prayer warrior. His love for the Conference and his servant leadership will encourage and assist both laity and clergy in accomplishing our task for making disciples for Jesus.”

Parsonages and ministry are almost all Charliam has ever known.  Since the age of 3 he has been a part of a parsonage family, and he has called Illinois home since fifth grade.  Renner graduated from Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School; Olivet Nazarene University and the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He became a probationary elder in 1997 and an elder in full connection in 2001.

He has served Smithfield-Brock, Jacksonville Grace: Associate, West Frankfort Trinity; Peoria Forrest Hill; Sumner-Beulah, and for the past 10 years, Sullivan UMC.
“Charliam will be a great addition to our Cabinet team,” Beard said. “He has a love and passion for The United Methodist Church. He understands what it takes to lead churches into productive and effective ministry. He is a gifted teacher that has gifts in the areas of organization and administration. He is highly respected by his peers.”

Renner is married to the former Lyn Pointer from Rantoul, who is also an Olivet alumnus. For the past seven years, she has taught history and political science at Richland Community College in Decatur.

The couple are the parents of two children – Stephanie, a senior at Olivet Nazarene University, majoring in social work and Joshua, a freshman at Lake Land Community College in Mattoon.

J. Keith Zimmerman

For Zimmerman, the interim appointment returns the retired pastor to the Vermilion River District where he served as district superintendent for 7 ½ years from January 2004 to June 2011, when Zimmerman retired from active ministry.