INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner announced Oct. 18, the appointment of the Rev. George Purnell, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church of Bloomington, to be Superintendent of the Southwest District effective Feb. 1, 2011.

Upon this announcement Coyner said, “George Purnell is a gifted leader in the Indiana Conference, who will bring great skills to the role of District Superintendent and to the Cabinet table. He is a native of Vincennes, and he has previously served in Evansville, so he is familiar with the Southwest District and personally knows many of the pastors and churches in that district. I look forward to having George’s help in leading the Southwest District and the Indiana Conference as a whole.”

Purnell was baptized, confirmed and reared in the Christian faith at First United Methodist Church in Vincennes. He graduated from Lincoln High School at Vincennes in 1967. He graduated from United Methodist-related DePauw University in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree with a political science major. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1973) and a Master of Divinity Degree (summa cum laude) from Christian Theological Seminary at Indianapolis (1986). He also holds honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from the University of Indianapolis (2005) and DePauw University (2008).

Purnell was ordained an Elder in the former South Indiana Conference in 1989. He has served his current appointment since 2003 and also has served Pittsboro UMC (1987 to 1995) and Evansville Aldersgate UMC (1995 to 2003). Before entering the ordained ministry, he served the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

He is married to Diane Purnell. They have four grown children.

Bishop Coyner previously announced on Oct. 4 the appointment of the Rev. Glenn Howell, current superintendent of the Southwest District, to serve the Zionsville United Methodist Church in the Central District effective Feb. 1, 2011.