Rev. Debra Hopkins


A native New Yorker and a proud Trans Woman of Color, Debra Hopkins is a licensed non-denominational minister who has been actively involved in ministry through pastoral care, writing, and activism for over four decades. She is the Founding Pastor of Essentials for Life Ministries, a non-denominational online ministry focused on spiritual renewal and wholeness in a fragmented world.

Reverend Hopkins serves as Founding Director of There's Still Hope, a non-profit organization that helps provide temporary shelter in the Charlotte, NC area for Transgender adults and individuals who have experienced domestic violence. She also spends time traveling around the country advocating for the underserved people of our LGBTQIA communities, facilitating workshops as an inspirational-motivational speaker & teacher, and participating in educational conferences and Town Hall discussions. She is a frequent speaker at colleges & universities.


Reverend Hopkins also finds time to volunteer her services with several local organizations fighting discrimination and hate She remains quite passionate about communicating the Truths of God's Word in a creative, highly-relevant way that continues to actively promote the power of the human spirit, and the ability of each of us have to define and manage our lives in a positive, productive manner. She serves as a board member for Ministries Beyond Welcome. She is the recipient of the Freedom Center for Social Justice - Builder of Bridges award {December 2018}, the Human Rights Campaign's Pioneer award {February 2019}, and the inaugural Minister Bobbie Jean Baker Memorial Award (2019).

Reverend Hopkins has been a resident of Mecklenburg County for the past 9 years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management, Christian Education, and Personal Evangelism. She also earned her Masters of Theology degree from New York Theological Seminary. She is proud parent of three adult children and eight beautiful grandchildren. Debra is the author of three books.

As an activist, Debra believes “words have POWER” and she believes we can all be a real “Voice for Change” through action, activism, and community involvement that will help put an end to the social and economic discrimination that's ever present in this country.

Rev Hopkins considers herself a
"Voice for Change"