Three outstanding women take top honors
From left: Rebekah Belase, Ginny Walker, and Shannon Rodenberg.
Virginia “Ginny” Walker was selected by OCU trustees as the recipient of this year’s Bishop Paul W. Milhouse Award. The honor was established in 1982 to recognize laity who symbolize outstanding support and communication between the university and local congregations.
Ginny, an active member of Haikey Chapel United Methodist Church in Bixby, a congregation of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, and of Living Water UMC in Glenpool, also serves in a number of roles in support of both the Church and higher education, and continues to be a strong advocate of OCU, where she served as first lady alongside her husband, President Jerald Walker, from 1979 to 1997.
For 16 of the last 21 years she has served in numerous capacities as a fundraiser for Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa. Ginny has also served on several boards and committees with Oklahoma Methodist Manor, the OIMC, and her local churches.
Part of the Walkers’ legacy to OCU is a charitable remainder trust that provides scholarships for Native American students.
Rev. Rebekah Belase was selected by the Wimberly School of Religion as its 2017-18 Distinguished Alumna. A 1999 graduate of the School of Religion and a graduate of Saint Paul School of Theology, Rebekah is an ordained deacon in The United Methodist Church.
She serves as the director of Funds Development for Church World Service, a partnership organization of 37 denominations that oversees food, water, and justice ministries in more than 30 countries. She is married to Rev. Derrek Belase, the Oklahoma Conference’s director of Discipleship.
Rev. Shannon Rodenberg was selected by the Wimberly School of Religion to receive its first-ever Rising Star Award, given to a recent graduate in recognition of outstanding promise in that person’s chosen career field.
A 2010 alumna of OCU and 2013 graduate of Saint Paul School of Theology at OCU, Shannon is now a provisional elder in the Oklahoma Conference and serves as pastor of Fairland-First UMC. In her short time in ministry, she has followed her passion and been instrumental in starting new programs for children and youth in Fairland.
In addition to the awards, the dinner gave students in the Wimberly School of Religion an opportunity to meet and thank donors who have contributed to their scholarships.
OCU University-Church Relations and the Wimberly School of Religion welcome nominations for next year’s awards. Please submit your recommendations for lay persons or alumni to consider to Rita Himes at firstname.lastname@example.org.