Even though she came to the Diocese nearly 20 years ago straight from working numbers at a boisterous solar plant, Ursula Hinkson knew she was right at home in the comparatively quieter atmosphere of diocesan financial ministry.
“I remember walking into the Pastoral Center around 2000 or 2001. I saw a picture of Bishop Barnes and I said, ‘I want to work for this guy. I want to offer my financial skills,” she recalled. “I couldn’t believe I took such a daring move.”
Hinkson got the job, hired as Associate Director of Financial Affairs. She retires June 30 after nearly two decades in financial affairs ministry for the Diocese. Though accounting and finance work is technical in nature, Hinkson, a longtime active parishioner at Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Adelanto, always saw its connection to the mission of the Church.
“It’s not just me plugging numbers,” she said. “I could see the service to the community at large. It will enrich the community to make wise decisions in the financial area.”
Hinkson served as Associate Director of Financial Affairs from 2003 to 2016, when she was named Director of the Diocesan Office of Parish Assistance. Last July Hinkson was appointed to the newly created position of Internal Auditor. In that role, she audits selected parishes and Catholic schools for compliance with Diocesan Financial Procedures.
“She always tries to balance what happened financially [in the parish or school] with our mindset as a non-profit,” said current Diocesan Chief Financial Officer Jorge Montenegro. “It’s her passion, linking the accounting world with her faith.”
Hinkson’s passion and knowledge of the Catholic faith led her to serve in a number of diocesan arenas outside of finance. She has served as an instructor for the Parish Ministers Formation Program (PMFP) and for the Building Intercultural Competencies for Ministers (BICM) program. She also chaired the Diocesan Women’s Commission for several years and was a longtime member of the Diocesan Staff Advisory Committee, planning many events and days of prayer at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. She received the St. Bernardine Award in 2017 for her faithful service to the Diocese.
In the early months of her retirement Hinkson will join the pilgrimage to the Holy Land that is being led by Bishop Emeritus Gerald Barnes. She’d like to “do nothing” for six months but acknowledges that she will actually be busy at Christ the Good Shepherd coordinating the parish lectors and running the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program there.