Ben E. Helmer

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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

A Year Ago…, All Saints’ Day (C) – 2010

November 01, 2010

A year ago a young hotel clerk showed up at an All Saints’ Day service. He told the priest as he left that it was the one day he felt obligated to be in church. “I never miss All Saints’ Day,” he said. True to his word, he hasn’t been back since. The Feast of […]

Throughout Pentecost, We…, Proper 19 (C) – 2010

September 12, 2010

[NOTE: Suggested hymn, “Amazing grace”] Throughout Pentecost we have been hearing readings that tell us about the nature of God. Today’s readings follow that theme with an in-depth look at God’s merciful nature. A closer reading reveals to us how God works in a covenant relationship with His people. In the Exodus passage we find […]

The Collect for Today Asks…, Easter 5 (C) – 2010

May 02, 2010

The Collect for today asks for us to be able to know Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life that we may follow in the way that leads to eternal life. Once there was a church that had the phrase “I am the way, the truth and the life” on a sign above […]

Remembering Refugees, Christmas 1 – 2009

December 27, 2009

[NOTE TO READER: The word Chuuk is pronounced to rhyme with “look.”] On the island of Guam, a U.S. territory in the western Pacific, there are many people who have come seeking a better life for their children. One of them is a man we’ll call Andrew. Andrew is from Chuuk State, a chain of […]

Have You Noticed…, Easter 3 (B) – 2009

April 26, 2009

Have you noticed that many of the post-Easter stories about the resurrected Jesus are centered on meals? The disciples knew the Lord in the breaking of the bread at Emmaus, as we recall in today’s collect; and Jesus comes among the disciples and shows his risen humanity by eating a piece of broiled fish in […]

Full of Grace and Truth, Christmas 1 – 2008

December 28, 2008

“Fast away the old year passes.” So goes the last verse of the old Christmas carol, “Deck the Halls.” For Christians, our celebration of Christmas is but three days old. We have nine more days, and would that we could have all the world join in; some will, but for many, once the tree is […]

Today We Read a Story…, Proper 8 (A) – 2008

June 29, 2008

Today we read a story that can chill one’s soul, especially a parent’s. However, if we focus only on the topic of parent and child, and the emotional and precious quality of that relationship, we lose the profound heart of what the story of Abraham and Isaac is really about. The Book of Genesis contains […]

One Could Summarize…, Lent 2 (A) – 2008

February 17, 2008

One could summarize the past two Sundays and today with a three-word theme: Transfiguration, Temptation, and Trust. On the last Sunday of Epiphany we went to the mountaintop with Jesus and witnessed the Transfiguration. On the first Sunday in Lent we reflected on his temptation in the wilderness at the start of his public ministry, […]

Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending…, Advent 1 (A) – 2007

December 02, 2007

[RCL]: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44 “Lo, He comes with clouds, descending,” are the words of a favorite Advent hymn. “Clouds descending” may have a majestic tone or sound like a terrible storm about to strike. Today, the first day of the Christian year, begins with a contrast: the Light of the […]

Over the Past Few Sundays…, Proper 12 (C) – 2007

July 29, 2007

Over the past few Sundays, the lessons have focused on what it means to be a disciple and a follower of Jesus. Today we look at the depth of that discipleship in relationships: between Abraham and God, between Paul and Jesus, and then Jesus teaches us how that relationship works through prayer. People who claim […]

The Origins of This Great Feast, Great Vigil of Easter (C) – 2007

April 07, 2007

(If you are fortunate enough to be in a faith community that does the Great Vigil as part of its Easter liturgies, you are blessed indeed. This liturgy takes a lot of preparation and is best done when a number of people are involved in getting ready for it. In many congregations there is a […]

A Roadmap for Our Lenten Journey…, Lent 1 (C) – 2007

February 25, 2007

The lessons for the first Sunday in Lent can be viewed as a roadmap for our Lenten journey. They embody the theme of journeying: travel, protection, and longing for a destination. If we look at each of them as Lenten guides, they will richly serve us through this season. Deuteronomy talks about our heritage as […]

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Christopher Sikkema


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