Southwest District

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Conference Superintendent - South District & Southwest District

Rev. Mitch Gieselman

Conference Assistant - South District

Joy Ahlemeyer

Associate Superintendent

Rev. George Purnell

Conference Superintendent - South District & Southwest District

Rev. Mitch Gieselman

Rev. Mitchell C. (Mitch) Gieselman has served churches across the Indiana Conference in various capacities since 1974; including Evansville Old North, Rushville St. Paul’s, New Castle First, Plainfield, Hanover, Mt. Vernon First, and Evansville Aldersgate UMC. While his energies focus on being the Chief Missional Strategist of the district, he does so through the particular lens of justice, having been intensively engaged in justice ministries and interfaith dialogue over the past decade. When the demands of being a part of the Extended Cabinet team allow, Mitch escapes into his preferred pastimes of golf, fishing, reading, crossword puzzles, watching baseball, and camping. He is also an avid follower of John and Charles Wesley’s footsteps all over the world. Additionally, he is involved in campus life at the University of Evansville and has lectured, taught in adult education courses, and volunteered in numerous capacities, and served as Chapter Counselor for Sigma Phi Epsilon, a social fraternity for male students. Gieselman received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Evansville in 1978 and Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary in 1981. He is married to the Rev. Dr. Tamara K. Gieselman, also an Elder in the Indiana Conference. The couple has three adult children: son, Cory Gieselman; and daughter, Dana (Lucious) Wagner who live in Evansville and both work for Old National Bank; and son, Jordan (Jennifer) Gieselman, a graphic designer who lives in Bowling Green, KY. The Gieselmans also have five grandchildren: Sydney, Rhyan, Sophie, Malik, and Hakeem who reside in Evansville.

Conference Assistant - South District

Joy Ahlemeyer

Knowing the personal pain of not having access to resources, Joy Ahlemeyer has a passion for connecting people to people, people to resources, and ultimately, people to God. Her love for Jesus Christ and His kingdom has found her serving in multiple roles within the United Methodist Church as a camp counselor, camp co-director, supply pastor, youth director, clergy spouse, and Conference Assistant. When not working in her current role as Conference Assistant, you will find her teaching a child piano or harp, taking her grand kids – both biological and the adopted neighborhood kids – on Fun Friday adventures to children’s museums, Sky Zone, Inflatable Factories, orchards, and more. Throughout these unique ministries, Joy leads children towards the excitement of exploring God’s world and learning how much he loves them.

Associate Superintendent

Rev. George Purnell

George A. Purnell was born and raised in Vincennes, Indiana.

George graduated from DePauw University in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts and went on to complete graduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C., earning the degree Master of Public Administration in 1973.

From 1974-1987, George worked for the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. While working full time George attended Christian Theological Seminary part time, from 1981-1986, graduating with the Master of Divinity.

In 1987, George was ordained a United Methodist Deacon and, in 1989, he was ordained a United Methodist Elder.

George served three congregations during his active ministry, all for eight years. He served the Pittsboro UMC from 1987-95, Evansville Aldersgate UMC from 1995-2003, and Bloomington First UMC from 2003-11. George then served as the Superintendent of the Southwest District, from 2011 to his retirement, on June 30, 2016.

During his years as an active clergyman, George was awarded two honorary Doctor of Divinity Degrees: from the University of Indianapolis in May 2005, and from DePauw University in May 2008.

Since July 1, 2021, George has been serving full time in retirement. He is appointed ¾ time to Evansville Centenary UMC, and ¼ time as the Associate DS for the Southwest District.

George lives in Evansville with his wife, Joyce.

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    Our Mission Statement

    As United Methodists of the South and Southwest Districts, we are empowered to cultivate joy and be the hands and feet of Christ as we let all people know they are loved and accepted. We recognize we are children of God, unapologetically Jesus centered, living out our Wesleyan heritage through acts of love and justice. In all these things may we remain faithful to the purpose of The United Methodist Church, to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.