Reverend Gary McCants, Presiding Elder of the South District, Illinois Conference, African Methodist Episcopal Church, supervises 21 churches in the central and southern Illinois. He currently pastor of Wilkerson Chapel AME Church in Collinsville, IL.
Reverend McCants is Chaplain of the Presiding Elder's Council, 4th Episcopal District, AME Church.
He has traveled to Chennai and Hyderabad, India on eight mission trips with the AME Church. He has preached in Chennai and in Nassau, The Bahamas on several occasions.
Reverend McCants serves as Co-Chairman of the Leadership Team, Illinois Conference of Churches (ICC) and previously served as chair of the Public Policy Team, Interim Social Justice Liaison and chief lobbyist to the IL General Assembly.
For more than 19 years, McCants served as Chaplain, of the over 3,000-member, Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts.
He was Legislative Advisor and once Vice President of Government Affairs, Illinois Bankers Association until his retirement in November 2012. McCants lobbied the IL General Assembly and the Governor's office on their behalf; and he was also lobbies for the Illinois Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
Reverend Gary McCants previously served as Senior Legislative Analyst, staff of the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, analyzing banking, financial services and public utility legislation.
He chaired a special Illinois House of Representatives committee that established the prayer room in the Illinois State Capitol building. A resolution authored by Reverend McCants to do so was held unconstitutional in federal district court under the “separation of church and state doctrine.” However, the Lord’s name must be praised, in 1988 the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the federal district court, thus allowing establishment of the prayer room.
Reverend McCants was asked by State Senator and later U. S. Senator, Barack Obama to pray for him on two separate occasions. In 2008, Rev. McCants reminded him of those requests after Mr. Obama became the 44th President of the United States. It happened just prior to McCants offering the invocation at the Abraham Lincoln's 200th Birthday Celebration Gala, in Springfield, IL where President Barack Obama gave the keynote address on his very first visit to the town where he announced his candidacy for president and his VP choice.
McCants earned a Bachelor of Science from Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio in 1971, and a Master of Business Administration from Atlanta University in 1973. He also studied at Midwest Bible College and did course work from the National Baptist Training Institute and under the auspices of the AME Church.
He is a member of the Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity. He and his lovely wife, Reverend Galda McCants, are the proud parents of four wonderful children, Khalilah, Heather, Marissa, and Michael and three grandsons.
Reverend McCants has received several community services awards and recognitions for his dedication to the community of Springfield Community.