SPRINGFIELD -- Bishop Gregory V. Palmer has announced the appointment of Rev. Sylvester Weatherall as conference superintendent assigned to the Spoon River District, effective July 1. The announcement was made Feb.26.
Weatherall, 56, said he was humbled by the announcement combined with a "healthy fear of the unknown."
"I am aware that the learning curve of the office of District Superintendent is steep," Weatherall said. "However, I am confident that my colleagues will be great teachers. They are already great examples."
Palmer, in making the announcement noted Weatherall's gifts which he will bring to the superintendency. "He is a strong preacher and has the heart of an evangelist," Palmer noted. "In every community where he has served he has a track record of missional engagement. He is a compassionate pastor and a committed lifelong learner."
Weatherall succeeds the Rev. Janice Griffith who has served as Spoon River District Superintendent for the past six years. Griffith was named Executive Assistant to the Bishop in late January and will assume her new responsibilities July 1.
"I look forward to being a cheerleader of what God is doing in the Spoon River District," Weatherall said. "It is my prayer that together we will have the strength to love one another -- even when the way is not clear to some of us. I seek to find God in each moment we encounter, and I am confident and have faith in the gifts God has given us to serve the Church. And, because God is there, I already feel at home."
The Spoon River District has been a leader in the IGRC campaign for Imagine No Malaria, raising roughly $300,000 of the more than $1.5 million secured in pledges and funds to date. In addition, 79 of the district's 82 churches finished 2011 by paying 100 percent of their apportionments for a conference-leading district remittance of 98.86 percent -- 6 percent above the overall collection rate of 92.21 percent.
Born in St. Louis, Mo., Weatherall graduated from East St. Louis High School, McKendree College and Eden Theological Seminary, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1991. A probationary member with the former Southern Illinois Conference in 1990, Weatherall was ordained into full membership in 1993. He began serving the East St. Louis Metro Ministry, which later became Washington Park Grace UMC in 1989 and was there for 13 years before being appointed to the Springfield East Side Mission Parish (Springfield Grace-Kumler and Trinity UMC's) in 2002. Following the closure of Trinity, Weatherall has continued as pastor of Springfield Grace-Kumler UMC's.
Weatherall is one of six clergy delegates to the 2012 General Conference and was elected as General Conference alternate and jurisdictional delegate in 2008 and jurisdictional delegate in 2004. He is a two-time winner of the Denman Evangelism Award, having been honored by both the former Southern Illinois Conference and the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. He is a former chair of the Conference Commission on Religion & Race and currently chairs the Sangamon River District Commitee on Ministry.
Weatherall is the father of six adult children.