Distinguished Alum Awards

Distinguished Alums 2012

Tom Goodell

Image of Tom Goodell, winner of Garrett-Evangelical's 2012 Distinguished Alum award
Tom Goodell

Thomas D. Goodell is the oldest child of the late Rev. David and Nan Goodell.  He is a third generation pastor and a third generation Garrett-Evangelical graduate (paternal grandfather Roy Goodell is a Garrett alum). He spent most of his growing up years in the Peoria and Dunlap, Illinois, areas.

Goodell did his undergraduate studies at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, where he studied history.  He was accepted as a Dunn Intern in the office of Governor Jim Thompson following graduation.  He later worked two years in the Illinois Department of Insurance.  While at Blackburn, Goodell met his wife, Sherry. They have been married for 25 years and have two sons, Andrew and Nicholas. 

Goodell received the call to the ministry and graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary with a master of divinity degree in 1991. His first appointment was serving the Cropsey-Strawn United Methodist Churches (1989-1992). Subsequently, he served as associate pastor at Normal First United Methodist Church in Normal, Illinois (1992-1996); directing pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Maryville, Illinois (1996-2003); and director of the Wesley Foundation at Eastern Illinois University (2003-2004).  

Goodell currently serves as the directing pastor at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Washington, Illinois (2004-present). Now in his eighth year, he has overseen the rapid growth of the congregation from 400 members to a total of 930 members, with an average worship attendance of 800. Evidence of his strong ministry is that there are currently several young adults in the congregation who are considering their call to ministry.

Rich Brown chair of the pastor-parish relations committee says, “Tom has brought many gifts to Crossroads, including his great desire for members to truly desire to become disciples of Jesus, not just church attendees. This shows in the way that Tom preaches, teaches, leads, and loves his congregation.”  Brown praises the new program Tom has spearheaded called, “Learn, Grow, Live.” He says, “We first learn more about the church and who Christ is and accept Him as Savior, if that has not happened previously. Then we learn to live as disciples of Christ through Bible study, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines. Finally we grow more like Christ as we continue to learn his plans for us through Alpha, Walk to Emmaus, and other spiritual growth opportunities.”

In partnership with other area churches, Goodell is a key organizer for Threads of Love, a center providing access to clothing for families and individuals in need of assistance in the Washington community. The center rotates between nine local churches. The partnership between the churches grew out of the need of the community and the desire for local churches to work together. 

He has also worked with Habitat for Humanity, the McLean County AIDS Task Force, the efforts of Bloomington-Normal churches to promote cross-cultural awareness, the Maryville Ministerial Alliance, and the Illinois Rivers Annual Conference Board of Higher Education (past chairperson).  He is a past recipient of the City of Normal Human Relations Commission Award, the City of Bloomington Human Relations Commission Award, the YWCA of McLean County One Imperative Award and the Harry S. Denman Evangelism Award.

Goodell has shown himself to be an outstanding clergy leader in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. In addition to his duties as the directing pastor at Crossroads United Methodist Church, he serves as the Illinois Great Rivers Conference chairman of higher education, as well as serving on the conference Board of Ordained Ministry.”

Goodell is a 2009 recipient of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference Denman Award for Evangelism.

Miley Palmer

Image of Miley Palmer, winner of Garrett-Evangelical's 2012 Distinguished Alum award
Miley Palmer

Miley Palmer was born March 20, 1937, in Fort Worth, Texas, but has spent most of his life in Illinois. He was awarded a bachelor of arts degree in history and social studies from McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois; a master of divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary; and a doctor of ministry degree from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Palmer served United Methodist churches in Central and Southern Illinois for nearly 43 years. His appointments were varied: several in rural and small-town settings; two mission churches which have grown into large congregations today; four successive assignments in university communities; and a larger inner-city congregation with an influential television ministry covering a sizable portion of the state. In one appointment, he served a large number of United States Air Force personnel at a stateside training base, conducting a full-scale program of religious studies, counseling, and recreational activities. For six years, he was designated as a campus minister serving at the oldest and largest Wesley Foundation in the nation. Over the course of his ministry, 36 young adults decided to enter careers of full-time Christian service while he was serving as their pastor.

For six years he was district superintendent in the Peoria District, with 73 charges comprising 95 churches and 104 clergy. A number of new efforts aimed at reaching the un-churched and serving the needy were begun. One result was that the churches of the Peoria District annually showed growth in membership and attendance. It was the only district in the conference that saw no church close during his tenure.

He has served in the conference in a variety of roles. An elected delegate to both General and Jurisdictional Conferences, he served on the Jurisdictional Council on Ministries and Jurisdictional Committee on Ministry. He also was a member of the Conference Boards of Ordained Ministry, Higher Education and Campus Ministry, and Global Ministries. He was a member of the Commissions on Christian Vocation, Religion, and Race and the Status and Role of Women. He chaired the Boards of Discipleship and the Conference Council on Ministries, and currently chairs the Conference Board of Church and Society. He has taken an active role in prison ministry, visiting inmates in state prisons for more than a dozen years, and was a volunteer chaplain for a local police force. He was a Trustee on the Board of Methodist Medical Center in Peoria for 25 years, chairing several of its committees.

After retiring from the active pastorate at Grace United Methodist Church in Decatur, he served for three years as a chaplain on the staff of Decatur Memorial Hospital, and is now Minister of Visitation for both First Presbyterian Church and First United Methodist Church in Decatur. He preaches at various churches of different denominations in the area, as many as 35 or more times per year. He has chaired of the Human Relations Commission of the City of Decatur, served as a consultant to the campus ministry committee at Millikin University, been President of the Decatur Rotary Club and an Assistant District Governor for Rotary, chaired the Board of the Decatur Choral Society, and has led weekly study groups of lay people and clergy from a variety of denominations. He regularly leads study groups at First United Methodist and First Presbyterian Churches, and serves on several committees at Decatur Memorial Hospital.

Palmer serves on the board of trustees, executive committee, and alumni board at McKendree College and is chair of its Student Affairs Committee. He has served as a development associate for Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Palmer is married to Janet, and they are the parents of four adult children and have five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.