Darlene Hopkins was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. Though she felt the call to the ministry as early as her teenage years, life took her in a different direction. After earning her BA in English and MA in Elementary Education at Austin College and teaching for a short time, she pursued a long career in technology that included entrepreneurship, web development, application programing and data analysis, and even a two-year stay in Sydney, Australia. While she remained active at Trinity Lutheran Church, doing everything from teaching Sunday school, coordinating weddings and serving as an assistant minister to performing in choir, handbell choir, and a Zimbabwean marimba band, her career remained secular. However, when it came time for retirement, she didn’t feel that her professional—or spiritual—journey was over.
That call that she’d felt for so many years was even stronger now. She whetted her appetite for ministry at her synod’s Parish Lay Ministry Academy, but it only inspired her to learn more. When the Luther Seminary offered her the Jubilee Scholarship that would cover her tuition as she pursued her next degree, she took it as a message that it was time to make her teenage dreams a reality.
She has recently completed her Master of Divinity at Luther Seminary, which included an internship at Atonement Lutheran Church in Overland Park, Kansas. From writing papers to sharing comfort with those in need as a chaplain during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, her continued education has given her opportunities for personal growth and outreach that she never could have imagined.
“I am energized and enlivened by doing and learning new things,” says Darlene. “The world is too vast and too diverse to not keep learning and growing.”
Darlene has been married to husband Johnny for 39 years, and is a loving and supportive mother to her only child, Elise, and her grandchildren, Danté and Ezzy. Her favorite colors are purple and blue, and her hobbies include, reading, sewing, cross-stitch and seeking out adventure, whether it be wilderness hiking through White Pocket National Monument in Arizona, fly-fishing in Colorado, or driving up to Kansas in her convertible with just a suitcase in her trunk and God’s love in her heart.
She can’t wait to continue to learn and grow with Grace in the coming months.
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SAWL Darlene Hopkins