Church Staff Bio

Church Leadership
Rev. Gary L. Meekins, M. Div

Rev. Gary L. Meekins, M. Div

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Rev. Meekins, a native of Cambridge, Maryland, is a 1970 graduate of Livingstone College, Salisbury, North Carolina, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree. He began his ministry as a member of the Peninsula Conference of the United Methodist Church. Ordained a Deacon in 1971, Rev. Meekins received his Masters of Divinity in 1974 from Wesley Theological Seminary. He was ordained an Elder at Annual Conference in 1974.

While a member of the Peninsula Conference, Rev. Meekins served as pastor of various churches on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and in Delaware. During his tenure, Rev. Meekins achieved several accomplishments. During his first appointment of Janes and Emmanuel UMC, he played an instrumental role in having a new church erected, Emmanuel UMC, Chestertown, MD. Rev. Meekins went on to serve the Lewes Charge, Lewes, DE. and the Bridgeville Charge, Bridgeville, DE. In 1980 while serving the Berlin Charge in Berlin, MD., he helped to erect an educational facility at St. Paul's UMC which bears his portrait and plaque acknowledging his leadership. He served as Campus Minister at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 1984 while also serving as Pastor of Metropolitan UMC, Princess Anne, MD. In 1985, he was named to a cross-racial appointment as the first African American to serve as Senior Pastor in the history of Silverbrook UMC in Wilmington, DE.

In 1988, Rev. Meekins transferred to the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and served in Philadelphia as Associate Pastor at the nationally known Tindley Temple United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, PA. From 1989-1995 Rev. Meekins was appointed Senior Pastor of Mt. Zion UMC; 1995 - 1999 Wharton Wesley UMC; 1999 - 2004 Camphor Memorial UMC. In 2004, Rev. Meekins was appointed by Bishop Peter Weaver to Pocono Lake UMC in Pocono Lake, PA., where he was the first African American to serve this congregation.

In 1990, Rev. Meekins received the Liberty Bell and Freedom Bowl from former Mayor W. Wilson Goode for his work in North Philadelphia while serving as Pastor of Mt. Zion UMC. In 1997, He was named "Preacher of the Year" by the Black United Methodist Preachers (BUMP) in Philadelphia.

Outside the local church, Rev. Meekins served six years (1992-1998) as President of the Black United Methodist Preachers (BUMP) of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference (EPA). He also served as Vice Chairperson of the Commission on Religion and Race of the EPA Conference; Secretary of Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity. Rev. Meekins served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Simpson House (Philadelphia, PA.) and on the Harry Hosier District Connectional Ministry Fund Team. He served as a member of the Black Methodist for Church Renewal (BMCR); a member of the Bishop's Day Apart Planning Committee and member of the Bishop's Mid-Winter Retreat Committee. Rev. Meekins served as co-chair of CTT (Congregational Transformation Team) of the EPA Conference and as a member of the Northeast District Board of Ordained Ministry.

In 2008, Rev. Meekins returned to the Peninsula Delaware Conference where he served until 2010 as the first African American pastor at Chester Bethel UMC, Wilmington, DE. He also served as secretary of the Methodist Action Program (MAP), secretary of the Vision Team for the conference and was a member of the Wilmington District Committee on Urban Ministries. Rev. Meekins served as pastor of Coleman Memorial UMC and Brandywine Community UMC in Wilmington, DE. from July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011. On July 1, 2011 he was appointed to Coleman Memorial United Methodist Church.

On October 1, 2012 Rev. Meekins officially retired from full time ministry. Also on October 1, 2012, Rev. Meekins was asked by the Dover District Superintendent if he would agree to Pastor Mt. Calvary and Bethel on the Bridgeville Charge. Rev. Meekins agreed and was assigned as Pastor of Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church in Bridgeville and Bethel United Methodist Church in Federalsburg MD. This would be his second time as Pastor of the Bridgeville Charge, as he was previously assigned to the Charge from 1978 to 1980.

He is married to the former Fonda L. Burton of Lewes, DE and they are the proud parents of two sons, Sean and Mark, four grandchildren - Shyrain, Rita, Shatir, and Taylen; and two great-grandchildren, Sarai and Torian.