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Rev. Palmer holds a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a Ph.D. in the field of religion from Columbia University, where he specialized in American religious traditions. He served as pastor of churches in Connecticut and Massachusetts before coming to Rhode Island.
Weldon grew up in Oklahoma and Texas, but moved to New York City in his early twenties to pursue seminary and graduate studies. He was ordained in the Rhode Island Conference of the United Church of Christ (U.C.C.) in 1993 and is married to the Rev. Patricia Hazeltine, who is also an ordained U.C.C. minister. Rev. Hazeltine served as the Associate Pastor of the Peace Dale Congregational Church from 1987 to 1993 and currently serves as Church School Director of the Old South Church in Boston. They have two college age children.
In addition to his longtime interest in American religious traditions, Rev. Palmer has extensive background in Christian ethics, biblical studies, and in other world religious traditions. During his doctoral program he was a research and teaching member of the Project on Issues of Ethics and Values in Health Care, a biomedical ethics curriculum development project at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia, where he co-authored studies in neonatology, geriatrics and gerontology, and medical experimentation.
As a pastor he has maintained his interest in science, reading widely in the areas of cognition, perception, memory and emotion science. In his sermons and teaching at Kingston Congregational Church, he seeks to uplift the profound religious truths of the Scriptures, along with the newer truths of modern science in ways that have practical relevance in our daily lives.
Weldon also draws on his personal experience as a pastor and as a husband and father to explain biblical and theological reflection in everyday human terms. He believes our responsibility as Christians is to bring the great teaching of Jesus about the Kingdom of God into our time and place, extending his message of justice, peace and inclusion. He believes the ancient stories of faith are directly relevant to the stories of our lives, even as we write new chapters of our long, shared story.
Weldon and his wife, Tricia, are avid gardeners and love literature, music and movies. They also love travel, especially in Africa and Central America. He loves spending time with his family and with the people of “KingCong.”