Ben E. Helmer
Ben Helmer has been vicar of St. James' since June of 2009. He has been ordained to the priesthood for 38 years. He was raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, graduated from Michigan State University and received his M. Div. from General Theological Seminary in New York. His wife, Jane, is a mostly retired horticultural writer and editor. They have two sons. Richard is a priest in the Diocese of California and Steven is a carrier pilot in the U.S. Navy. Ben has served churches in Northern Michigan, Western Kansas and West Missouri. He was also the staff officer for rural and small community ministries for the Episcopal Church from 1999-2005 when he retired. He and Jane were then invited to work in Louisiana for a year where Ben was a chaplain to clergy, diocesan staff and caregivers and Jane worked as a volunteer following the ravages in Katrina. In June of 2007 Ben and Jane went to Guam for 18 months where Ben served as archdeacon for the Episcopal Church in Micronesia before returning to Missouri. The Helmers now live in Holiday Island about 7 miles north of Eureka Springs with their chocolate lab, Jessie.
Sermons and Bible Studies
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns […]
While it may be hard to imagine what life for Abraham was like, or even whether he was only a patriarchal ideal in the Old Testament, a careful reading of the passage from Genesis connects us to him with a contemporary question: how can we see God’s promises at work in the world and be […]
This sermon is being written the day after the massacre of eleven congregants of the Jewish temple in Pittsburgh. As we approach the end of our Christian year and focus on the reign of Christ the King, we ponder this event and many other events of violence and terror, the mayhem and madness that stalk […]
If you are uncomfortable around snakes, this might not be your Sunday! But, if you can set that discomfort aside, you will be treated to an insight about how the ancient Hebrew Bible reading from Numbers connects with the Gospel reading from John. If you were running from something, brutal slave labor, for example, you […]
“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.” (Matt. 18:15) Congregations are communities of people. They usually function well. Some have very strong central authorities, and others work better with […]
It had been a long, multi-year mission with not much to show for it except threats from the rulers of occupied Israel and the religious authorities. Despite countless healings of the sick, large crowds coming out to hear him, miracles of feeding the hungry, they were still a small band of disciples. They surely wondered […]
Today’s readings and Collect can be seen as a unit teaching us about God’s power and how it works in us. The opening Collect (prayer) in the Episcopal Church says: “Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples…” This […]
The Prodigal Son is a story familiar to all of us and movingly depicted in art, drama and dance. We like stories like this; ones with happy endings where people come to their senses and are restored to the family. But that isn’t how it always happens, is it? We know of many estrangements between […]
One remarkable thing about a lot of Christians is the way they approach the world and one another. There is a quiet reserve, a sense of hospitality and genuine submission to one another. People who observe this often mistake it for weakness, but it is a genuine behavior marked by love and concern for the […]
“Lord, is it time?” How many questions like that do we ask on our journey in faith? In today’s reading from the Book of Acts, while the apostles were still looking for deliverance from political domination and oppression, they asked, “Lord is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” It is […]
We are all familiar with depictions of people coming and going. Many will recall in the 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz,” how Glinda, the good witch, descends upon Dorothy and the Munchkins in a bubble, and after delivering a message and explaining the mystery of the ruby slippers, departs in the same way. And […]
Having a baptism today gives us something to celebrate. Whether the person to be baptized is a child or an adult, a baptism done on this day is more than special, it is triumphant. In a world that celebrates life achievements mostly for celebrities, the church rejoices at the baptism of a person into the […]
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