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
Advent, this season on which we embark today, these few short weeks of repentance, preparation, and expectation, begins with a picture of the end of the world. Jesus, already well aware of the likelihood of his own demise, is preaching prophetically about the destruction of the world people knew. And indeed, just a short 40 […]
The giving of the Ten Commandments is read every Lenten season. In some churches the Commandments are read as a preparation for the Confession of Sin during penitential seasons. Recently they have been in the news, as legal battles have been fought over whether they can be displayed in public courthouses without violating the Constitutional […]
The birth of the Messiah in a lowly stable is current news. Just a year ago Newsweek devoted a December issue to the topic. It was quite good! It talked about how modern scholarship attempts to unravel what happened or didnât some 2,000 years ago. It leaves the reader with a lot of unanswered questions, […]
Today is a day to feast on thanksgivings of memory, to recall people who have gone before us, patriarchs, prophets, and pilgrims, who were disciples in their own times. Some we know by name, others remain known only to God. Even so, as the author of Ecclesiasticus reminds us, âTheir posterity will continue for ever, […]
Today in small towns and major cities across the United States there will be celebrations of liberty and freedom. âOld Gloryâ will wave, bands will play Sousa marches, and people will gather with ice cream, fried chicken, watermelon, and fireworks. Independence Day means gathering and celebration in many of the cultures that have come together […]
This passage from the Gospel of Matthew is known commonly as The Beatitudes. They are fondly heard by people of good will, and treasured as words of comfort to the afflicted and distressed. But like many popular passages in Scripture, they need to be placed in the context of their original hearers, and then brought […]
(Note to the reader: This sermon is written for use the Sunday after the tsunami disasters in the Indian Ocean. While it makes reference to the lessons for the Second Sunday after Christmas Day, it is topical in nature). As we gather in worship today we have to remember before God the mounting numbers of […]
[RCL]: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44
There are many challenges to churches today: Some are small and struggling, hoping to grow and not finding their numbers increasing. Others have problems finding qualified clergy or raising enough money in pledges to balance the budget. Others have significant repairs to do on their buildings and lack the funds for the project. And some […]
The Presentation of Christ in the Temple is celebrated today. The characters in Luke’s account are brought together in an event that moves them to a new place. Joseph and Mary are doing merely what is required of them, the ritual presentation of their first-born male child, Jesus, to God, and the sacrifice that accompanies […]
There are no coincidences. Each of us has had times when we have been struck by the oddness of events in our lives. An unexpected visit or a chance meeting connects us with people we haven’t been in touch with for many years; we apply for a job and discover the interviewer knows a mutual […]
Lo, He comes with clouds descendingâ¦are the opening words of a well-known Advent hymn that will be sung in many churches today. Another hymn many will sing is O, Come, O, Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel. The two hymns are bookends for this First Sunday of Advent, one celebrating the coming of Jesus to […]
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