Bishops Pass Leadership Gavel During 2008 General Conference;

Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
Bishop Roy I. Sano, Executive Secretary
100 Maryland Ave. NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

Contact: Diane Denton 615.483.1765
or Stephen Drachler 615.417.9284

April 26, 2008

Bishops Pass Leadership Gavel During 2008 General Conference;
Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer Moves into President's Chair

FORT WORTH Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer was installed today as president of The United Methodist Church's Council of Bishops.

The outgoing president, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, passed the gavel to Bishop Palmer during a 30-minute worship service. The Council is meeting during the denomination's General Conference in Fort Worth.

Bishop Palmer, of Des Moines, Iowa, will serve a two-year term as leader of 69 active and 87 retired bishops in the United States, Africa, Europe, and the Philippines. He is the 39th president of the Council of Bishops and its fifth African-American president.

"The church owes me nothing. I owe the church and the Lord of the church everything," Bishop Palmer told bishops during his installation. "I will, with every fiber of my being make sure your trust is returned tenfold.

"We are in a sense, in enormous chaos, in The United Methodist Church, and in this Council. And that is a good thing," Bishop Palmer said. "We are in the middle of something we can't fully name . . . I pray we will not do anything to stop the momentum that has been created over a period of years."

Bishop Palmer, 54, is a native Philadelphian. He is a graduate of George Washington University and United Methodist-related Duke University School of Theology. He was ordained an elder in the Ohio East Annual Conference after beginning his ministry in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. He was elected bishop in 2000. He is bishop of the Iowa Area, based in Des Moines.

Earlier in the meeting, the Council elected Bishop Larry Goodpaster of the Alabama-West Florida Area as its president-designate. He will become president in 2010 when Palmer's term expires. He will be the presiding bishop at the opening of the 2012 General Conference in Tampa, Fla.

Bishop Goodpaster, 50, is a graduate of Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss., and Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, both United Methodist-related schools. He was ordained elder in the former North Mississippi Annual Conference and served as a pastor and district superintendent before his 2000 election as bishop.

The outgoing president, Bishop Huie, 62, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. She earned a doctorate in ministry at Candler School of Theology, Atlanta. She was elected bishop in 1996 and presided over the Arkansas Area until 2004, when she was assigned to the Houston Area.

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