Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

OKUMC appoints full-time leader for multi-ethnic initiatives


Rev. Bessie Hamilton

The Oklahoma Conference has appointed Rev. Bessie Hamilton as the new Associate Director of Connectional Ministries for Multi-Ethnic Initiatives effective April 1. She has been serving on the staff part-time since last year.

While she has been working to launch the conference’s new Minority Local Church Concerns Ministry Team, in this new role she will also work with our congregational development area as well as fresh expressions of church, mission, community engagement and revitalization of existing churches.

“Bessie has a church planter’s heart. She also has a background in community development and deepening relationships in so many areas,” said Rev. Derrek Belase, director of Connectional Ministries. “We are delighted this all worked out and that she will be joining the conference’s program staff.”

As Bessie said in an interview earlier this year, she hopes her work helps bring multi-ethnic and multi-cultural initiatives together at the conference level. 

“She is already doing that,” Belase said, reflecting on a recent uptick in crimes against the Asian community. “Her development of our Asian Collaborative is already changing the nature of our work with our brothers and sisters who are currently experiencing a rise in discrimination and harassment,” 

While in Oklahoma, Hamilton has also served at Langston University and OKC-Quayle. She is in the final stages of earning a doctoral degree in interdisciplinary leadership (religion and secular) from Creighton University. 

In addition to her work as an elementary school teacher, motivational speaker and fundraiser, Hamilton is a cancer survivor. She uses her experiences from that time to care for and inspire others who have been diagnosed with life-threatening diagnoses. 

As a leader in this multi-ethnic work, she lives by this Martin Luther King, Jr. quote: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”


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