Vicar: The Rev. Ben 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. >>
Assisting Priest: The Rev. Betsy Porter
Although inspired by her grandfather, an Episcopal priest, Betsy was a late bloomer. Ordained to the priesthood in 2002 under Canon 9, she served as an assistant priest at St. George's Episcopal Church in Bismarck, North Dakota until she and her husband, Clifford, moved to Arkansas in 2004 where she began sharing her ministry at St. James'. In addition to presiding at services and preaching, Betsy has a special interest in outreach. She has served on the board of ECHO
(Eureka Springs Christian Health Organization) and is currently on the board of the Flint Street Fellowship and Food Pantry in Eureka Springs. A volunteer at the ECHO Thrift Store, Betsy also cooks at the local food pantry. Betsy holds degrees from Park University, Harvard University, and the University of Denver. Her secular career included a partnership in an information/research firm, and library reference and management positions at several academic institutions. Sons Miles and Matthew, their wives Tracy and Trixie, and grandchildren Joel and Taylor bring her great joy. >>
Assisting Priest: The Rev. John Burton
Fr. Burton was born and grew up in Central Texas. He graduated from Waco High and attended Texas A&M. He received his BS in Physics with minors in Math and English in 1963. While working as an engineer in the aerospace industry, John taught and attended graduate school at Baylor University. He earned an MS in Mathematics and focused his career on teaching in a community college while consulting in the rocket propellant industry.
John and his wife, Gloria, have four children between them, scattered from Texas to Michigan, with twelve grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Gloria is an LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker). They live in The Old Residence at Hillspeak where John serves as SPEAK's assistant manager and is the Managing Editor for The Anglican Digest
Raised in the Methodist Church, John became an Episcopalian in 1970 and while practicing ministry in several denominational and non-denominational churches over the years, maintained membership in the Episcopal church, serving on the vestry and as acolyte, lay reader, and LEM.
Immediately prior to coming to THE ANGLICAN DIGEST in January 2001, John was Minister of Pastoral Care at Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church in Waco, Texas where he was also a member of Church of the Holy Spirit. He was also a staff chaplain at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco and attended Truett Theological Seminary.
On Dec. 10, 2006, John was ordained to the diaconate as a transitional deacon by the Rt. Rev. Larry Maze at St. James and to the Sacred Order of Priests by the Rt. Rev. Larry Benfield on Aug. 12, 2007. He serves as Assisting Priest at St. James' in Eureka Springs and regularly supplies in churches in Northwest Arkansas and Western Missouri. >>
Preacher: Laura Shoffner
A cradle Episcopalian, Laura has fulfilled qualifications for licensing as a preacher by the Diocese of Arkansas. She has served on the diocesan ECW board, the Cursillo Secretariat, and currently is a member of the Commission on Ministry and the St. James' vestry. Whether serving at the altar, singing in the choir, or taking communion to homebound members, Laura rejoices in the opportunities for ministry offered at St. James'. Her professional life included twenty-five years as a teacher and school administrator, followed by a career as a romance novelist. She and husband Larry moved to their Beaver Lake home in 1992 and enjoy visits from their five grown children and eleven grandchildren. >>
Administrator: Susan Walter
Susan began work at St. Jamesí in December 2004 and divides her time between Communications, Finance, and Vestry. In addition to her work at St. Jamesí, she and her husband own a coffee roasting business
. They live with their Gordon Setter Brodie in Holiday Island. Susan is from Aurora, Illinois and has lived in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Oregon. She enjoys reading, walking, and swimming.