Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer was assigned as Episcopal Leader of the Ohio West Area of The United Methodist Church on September 1, 2012.
Born and reared in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 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 the Master’s of Divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina. Baldwin-Wallace College, Iowa Wesleyan College, Simpson College, Hood Theological Seminary and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary 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 student pastorates in North Carolina and post-seminary appointments in the East Ohio Conference in Cleveland, Canton and Berea. 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 in 2008. 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 has been married to Cynthia for 39 years. They are the parents of two adult children — Monica, who is a Middle School Administrator in Charlotte, North Carolina and Aaron, who is a manager at a technology company in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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 and 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.