Gregory Vaughn Palmer serves as the episcopal leader of the Ohio West Area of The United Methodist Church. He was assigned there on September 1, 2012.
Born and reared in Philadelphia, he is the son of the Rev. Herbert E. and Mrs. Charlotte Sue Hewitt Palmer. Palmer’s father (now deceased) was a United Methodist pastor; his mother (now deceased) was a schoolteacher in the Philadelphia Public School system.
Bishop Palmer received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and the Master 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 and United Theological Seminary have awarded him honorary degrees.
He was ordained a deacon and elected a probationary member in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference in 1977. In 1981, he was elected into 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 and OhioHealth, a family of nonprofit hospitals and health care facilities, Ohio Northern University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Mount Union University and Emory University.
Married for 46 years to his wife Cynthia, they 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.
Cynthia Palmer is an honors graduate in religion from 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 strong competencies in leadership development.
Elected to the Duke University Board of Trustees in 2023, Sharon serves on the Undergraduate Education Committee.