Speaker Bios

Rev. Dr. Zan Wesley Holmes, Jr.
Opening Worship with Communion and Memorial Service - Sunday, June 3 at 7:30 pm; Worship Service with Missional Offering - Tuesday, June 5 at 9:00 am.

Dr. Holmes is Pastor Emeritus of  St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, where he served for 28 years. He was Adjunct Professor of Preaching at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University for 24 years. Known as much for his community activism as his preaching and teaching, Dr. Holmes having been elected to the Texas House of Representatives from 1968-1972, also served as United Methodist District Superintendent. He is the author of Reaching for Renewal (1991), Encountering Jesus (1992), and When Trouble Comes (1996). Dr. Holmes has also written chapters in Our Time Under God Is Now (1993) and Power in the Pulpit: How America’s Most Effective Black Preachers Prepare Their Sermons (2002). He is widely known for his role as narrator and host of the well-known Disciple I Bible Study video series produced by Abingdon Press.

In 1991, his was appointed to be the first African-American to serve on the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, a position he held from 1991 to 1997.  In 1971, he was appointed to serve as chairperson of the Tri-Ethnic Committee, which oversaw implementing public school desegregation in the Dallas Independent School District.  In 2001, the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Alabama recognized him as one of the civil rights movement’s “Invisible Giants.” He is the founding president of the Dallas African-American Pastors Coalition during which the coalition was the primary developer of  Unity Estates, a community consisting of 300 affordable homes, and is a national model for a major inter-denominational economic initiative.

He is a graduate of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas and has two graduate degrees from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  He has honorary degrees from Huston-Tillotson University, Dillard University, and Rust College.  Zan and his wife Carrie and their great-granddaughter, Savannah, live in Dallas, Texas and Los Angeles, California.

Rev. Lou Seipel
Worship Service - Wednesday, June 6, 8:30 am

Rev. Lou Seipel is the Head Pastor at Stonybrook United Methodist Church in Gahanna, near Columbus. Originally from North Carolina, Lou graduated from Greensboro College before completing her seminary training at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Her first appointment was a six-point charge in Washington County, OH. In her 38 years of ministry, Lou has served in multiple contexts, including campus ministry, rural, urban and suburban churches, and ministry with the poor in inner-city Columbus. "A good pastor is called to serve folks where they are, not where you are," Seipel remarked.

Lou and her husband, Craig, have two sons - Zach, a captain in the U.S. Army, and Sam, who works for OhioHealth. They also have two grandchildren. "Preaching is the greatest opportunity that any clergy person has, because how often do you have that many people together in one room?" Seipel commented. "It's a high privilege to speak at Annual Conference."

Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer
Episcopal Address - Monday, June 4 at 7:45 pm; Celebration of Ministry Service - Tuesday, June 5 at 4:30 pm

Bishop 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 the son of the Rev. Herbert E. Palmer, a retired United Methodist pastor and Charlotte Sue Hewitt Palmer (now deceased) who was a school teacher in the Philadelphia Public School system.

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 0ver 40 years. They are the parents of two adult children -- Monica, who is a High School Administrator in Charlotte, North Carolina and Aaron, who is a project manager for a multi-national company.

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