Reverend John Helgeson

Who is John F. Helgeson, our interim minister? Well, he was a Navy brat, meaning his father was in the Navy for 20 years, and many of those years John traveled around with his father and mother. He remembers stays in Virginia and California, in between stops in New York City, where he had been born in a Naval hospital.
 
Eventually, he spent three years in the Caribbean on the island of Trinidad, before returning to the states and eventually settling in Asheville, North Carolina. From there he went to high school and a college nearby (Western Carolina University). After a year at law school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, he went to seminary at Union Seminary of Richmond, Virginia. From there he went to Wyoming, PA as an installed pastor.
 
His eventual wife was stated clerk of her church and came to several presbytery meetings before he asked her pastor to introduce her. Nancy Loushay-Helgeson is from Athens, PA, which is literally on the border between New York and PA, and she regularly went back and forth between the two states growing up. She graduated from Mansfield State University in PA as a vocalist.. She would later study at the famous Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. That happened because John’s second pastorate was in Shortsville, New York, close to Rochester.
 
John would later serve installed pastorates in New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania again, before beginning his interim ministry at the Brockway, PA church. He took training for interim work at Pittsburgh Seminary. While John was in Wyoming, he had completed his Th. M at Princeton Theological Seminary. He had been accepted into a Ph.D. program at Drew University in New Jersey, but their first two children, Rachel and Sarah came along and that prevented his following through on a doctoral degree. He served interims at Martins Ferry, Ohio (on the border between West Virginia and Ohio), Gaylord, Michigan (northern Michigan just below the upper peninsula), Chambersburg, PA (close to Gettysburg), Mattoon, Illinois, southern part of Illinois near the University of Illinois and if you go more southerly near Southern Illinois University and in the twin town of Charleston, Illinois, is Eastern Illinois University, then to Lawton, Oklahoma, home of Ft.Sill, one of the three bases used for basic training for the army and the home of the artillery training for the army and for many international troops. Finally, he came here to Perry, FL.
 
He has written a book on interim ministry, Freedom and Interim Ministry 12 Freedoms of the Interim, which of course he will be glad to sell you a copy. He wrote the book, because he felt there was very little or virtually nothing out there about the actual practice of interim ministry. It has been well received. He is a member of the interdenominational Interim Ministry Network, which brings interims of many denominations together at least yearly to conference and to further develop skills needed in interim ministry. He has led workshops at the annual conference for interim ministers and will be doing so again in 2018.
 
He has three daughters, Rachel the oldest who is a pastor in upstate New York, near Binghamton, and has two children, Sophie the oldest and Isaac the youngest; Sarah, the middle daughter, who is both a chef and a human relations director, living outside Pittsburgh, PA, and has two sons, Zayne, the oldest, and Declan, the youngest; and finally Noelle, born literally on Christmas Day. She is the New York National Guard and has faced several significant deployments. She lives near Albany, New York. She and Rachel are married. I have sisters living in California and North Carolina, relatives around the country and one in Australia.

    John believes in interim ministry,and he knows his book helped influence the Perry church to invite him to serve as their interim. I believe in you, and I believe I am called to serve you in Perry. God is present and God is working to make a difference. May God bless our interim ministry together in Jesus Christ under the influence of the Holy Spirit.