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 Commemoration of September 11, Various Occasions – 2002

September 11, 2002

[Note to the reader: This sermon is designed to accompany a service of remembrance. It could follow the reading of the Great Litany from the Book of Common Prayer, or the Gospel lesson.] Suggested Proper for Peace, lessons on page 930, Book of Common Prayer Collect: Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the […]

Growing Churches Know…, Easter 5 (A) – 2002

April 28, 2002

Growing churches know that people respond best to clearly defined terms of membership. When people come to a church family they want to know what it takes to be a member. What are the standards? What is expected of members? In American culture we have a hard time separating the church’s boundaries from those of […]

Principles of Christmas, Christmas 1 – 2001

December 30, 2001

This is the Sunday of Christmastide when we begin to consider what God has done in the birth of Jesus. In some homes by now the tree has been taken down, perhaps decorations put away. Stores are advertising year-end sales. Some people have already bought presents and cards for next year at significant savings. In […]

But Be Doers Of the Word…, Thanksgiving Day (C) – 2001

November 22, 2001

But be doers of the word, not merely hearers who deceive themselves (Jas. 1:22) But strive first for the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well (Matt.6:33) The two verses from Scripture appointed for Thanksgiving in the Episcopal Church’s lectionary are at first glance not very […]

As We Approach Two Months…, All Saints’ Sunday (C) – 2001

November 04, 2001

Note: This sermon is written with the intention that the entire passage from Luke (6:20-36) will be read as the Gospel lesson for the day. As we approach two months since the attacks on our nation that began September 11 we are still sorting out what has changed in America, and what will need to. […]

This Is the Time of Year…, Proper 20 (C) – 2001

September 23, 2001

This is the time of the year when congregations begin to think about the annual stewardship Sunday, or, as one colleague calls it, “The Fall Begathon!” In most congregations, this season is dreaded by the leadership-but someone has to do it. If everything goes well, the budget is met by pledges and promises, and if […]

Ethics Are Something…, Epiphany 7 (C) – 2001

February 18, 2001

Ethics are something most people don’t know much about today. The subject is reserved for religious academics or for people studying, for instance, philosophy or medicine. But there is a Christian ethic that Jesus spells out for us in the Gospel, and it is at least as old as Genesis, where we heard about Joseph’s […]

Mark Is a Farmer, Epiphany 6 (C) – 2001

February 11, 2001

Mark is a farmer in the Midwest. He moved there from Michigan with his family several years ago, bought some acreage, and began farming. Within six months a large hog confinement operation began on land bordering his farm. The dream of a family farm and a quiet rural life soon became a nightmare of unrelenting […]

Hope-Bringers, Advent 2 (C) – 2000

December 10, 2000

A person quoting from the tradition of Isaiah delivers the majestic passages in today’s Gospel. The message breaks into history, quoted by a preacher, John the Baptist, who is himself “one crying in the wilderness.” How does it sound to you? Is it a message of hope? Does the phrase, Every valley shall be filled, […]

The Two Verses from Scripture…, Thanksgiving Day (B) – 2000

November 23, 2000

But be doers of the word, not merely hearers who deceive themselves (Jas. 1:22) But strive first for the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well (Matt.6:33) The two verses from Scripture appointed for Thanksgiving in the Episcopal Church’s Lectionary are at first glance not very […]

In Churches throughout…, Maundy Thursday – 2000

April 20, 2000

In churches throughout the world people will gather today to remember. Memory is something we seldom invoke in our culture. We are occupied with the now and the not yet, but we are viewed with suspicion if we recall the past. Yet, the lesson from Exodus recalls the foundation of our Eucharistic life, the Passover […]

The Season of Epiphany…, Last Sunday in Epiphany (B) – 2000

February 27, 2000

The season of Epiphany has been long and instructive this year. The church has had time to hear many of the great works of Jesus’ ministry, and there has been time for us to reflect on how God is at work through them. This Sunday the message focuses on God at work through Jesus outside […]

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Christopher Sikkema


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