Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer

Kathelen Amos

Resident Bishop, Ohio West Area
North Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church
Worthington, Ohio

Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer serves as the episcopal leader of the Ohio West Area of the United Methodist Church, an assignment he has held since September 1, 2012.

Born and reared in Philadelphia, Palmer is a “child of the church,” the son of the Rev. Herbert E. and Mrs. Charlotte Sue Hewitt Palmer (both deceased). Palmer’s father was a retired United Methodist pastor; his mother was a schoolteacher in the Philadelphia Public School system.

Bishop Palmer received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University and a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Baldwin-Wallace College, Iowa Wesleyan College, Simpson College, Hood Theological Seminary, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and United Theological Seminary.

He was ordained a deacon and elected a probationary member in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference in 1977. In 1981, he was elected to full membership and ordained an elder in the East Ohio Annual Conference.

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 superintendent of the Youngstown District of the East Ohio Conference.

Elected to the episcopacy by the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in 2000, Palmer served the Iowa Area until assuming responsibilities in the Illinois Area in 2008. 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. Palmer served on the Commission on a Way Forward. Currently, he is a member of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters and chair of the Comprehensive Africa Plan. He also is a board member of several organizations, including The United Methodist Publishing House, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, United Theological Seminary, Ohio Wesleyan University, Ohio Northern University, and OhioHealth, a family of nonprofit hospitals and health care facilities.

Palmer and his wife, Cynthia, are the parents of two adult children. Monica is a public school principal in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Aaron is a senior product owner for an interactive technology company based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He was elected trustee in 2021.