The Earl Palmer Collection within Theological Commons represents a collaboration between Earl Palmer Ministries and Princeton Theological Seminary. This collection contains audio and video recordings and selected writings by Rev. Earl Palmer, an alumnus and former member of the Board of Trustees of Princeton Theological Seminary.
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About Earl Palmer Ministries
Earl Palmer Ministries is based on I Thessalonians 5:11, to encourage and build up one another. These words from the Apostle Paul inspire this ministry of teaching, writing and mentoring. The idea for Earl Palmer Ministries was borne from the example of John Stott Ministries, founded in order for the late John Stott to continue doing ministry after he retired from the pulpit. This informational film provides a fuller introduction to Earl Palmer Ministries.
About Earl Palmer
Rev. Earl Palmer has served in pastoral ministries at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Union Church in Manila, First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, and The National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. He has a commitment to expositional preaching of biblical texts. He has a strong interest in pursuing theological themes that are present in classic and contemporary literature, with particular focus on such authors as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth. He is one of the most gifted teachers of the Bible, with a unique style that unfolds the text and allows the listener to make great discoveries. Earl Palmer Ministries exists so that this teacher can keep sharing his gift with the world.
Earl Frank Palmer was born to Lewis Ward Palmer and Myrtle Elizabeth Hovey on November 26, 1931 in Mccloud, California. Earl was the second of four children, following his older brother Lewis Ward Jr., and preceding his two sisters, Nancy Elizabeth and Marian Lee. Earl was baptized in the Episcopalian Church as an infant in Yreka, California, but was raised attending Mccloud Community Presbyterian Church. His parents were incredibly loving and supportive, and Earl claims that it was the fact that his home environment had a “‘let’s go for it’ edge” that he was able to undertake the adventures which allowed him to have a wide array of experiences in his life. Due to the encouragement of a high school teacher, Earl applied to University of California, Berkeley. During his sophomore year at Berkeley, he was invited to a men’s Bible Study in his dorm building. After considering the Bible during their time together, Earl decided to solidify his commitment to Christ. From this point on, Earl became very active in his men’s small group. He was also an active leader in other activities on campus, serving as a member of the University Hiking Club and a coach for the Men’s Swimming Team at Berkeley Cal It was during his late college years that Earl. decided that he wanted to be a minister. After attending Princeton Theological Seminary, Earl moved to Seattle, Washington to serve as the Youth Pastor at University Presbyterian Church (UPC). It was during this time that he was introduced to Shirley, who was soon to become his wife. According to Palmer, “it was love at first sight,” and they were married on June 14, 1958. Soon after Earl and Shirley had their first child, Anne. After serving at UPC for eight years, a friend encouraged him to be a pastor at one of the many Union Churches. After expressing interest, Earl was offered the position as head pastor at the Union Church of Manila. While in Manila, they gave birth to their second and third children, Jonathan and Elizabeth. Earl claims that, “the Manila years were deeply formative for my own ministry as I learned to preach to an international congregation and serve as a solo pastor to a congregation of over five hundred.” Besides serving as the pastor at the Union Church of Manila, Earl also ministered to Navy Chaplains in Saigon and Danang who were serving in the Vietnam War. While Earl was developing his skills as a pastor, Shirley became deeply involved in the Philippine villages, teaching nutrition and cooking classes, encouraging young mothers in their child care, and counseling at the American School of Manila. In 1970, the Palmer family moved back to the United States in response to Earl’s call to be pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley (FPCB). He describes his 21 years at FPCB as “turbulent” due to much political and social unrest amongst Berkeley students, but also says that these years were very formational for his ministry and for the life of his family. In 1991, Earl received the call to return to UPC in Seattle as the Head Pastor. During their years in Seattle, Shirley returned to school, entering the PhD program in Public Policy at University of Washington. She received her PhD in 2002, and soon after Earl retired from UPC to pursue new endeavors. In 2006, Earl founded Earl Palmer Ministries (EPM), an organization aimed at developing future Church leaders to be gifted teachers of the Bible. His entire life, Earl has had a passion for language, literature, preaching, and ideas. Through the study of these four topics, EPM hosts different events which allow for an opportunity for Earl to share his interests and talents with the world for the development of the future leaders of the Church. Among these events is Kindlings Muse, a monthly round-table discussion regarding important topics at the intersection of faith and culture.
Earl lives with his wife Shirley in Seattle, Washington and frequently speaks at churches and universities in the Seattle area and around the world. All quotations and biographical information collected from Stephen R. Yarnall’s book Dialogues with Earl Palmer and from Earl Palmer’s personal website: http://www.earlpalmer.org.