Link Diocese Stories: Revd Travis Helms

Week 4 – Diocese of Wyoming

The Revd Travis Helms 
St John’s Jackson 

What is your ministry? 
One of my working definitions for the priesthood has always involved a mode of trafficking in transcendence. In the normal elements of life and sacrament – bread and wine and water, a story, a joy, a celebration, a broken heart – we help translate the ways in which our tangible reality discloses something deeper of the Reality that undergirds and is woven into all we see and touch and taste. In my daily work — both in children’s', youth, and family ministry; and in hosting liturgically-inflected community-facing events for those who might identify as 'spiritual but not religious' – I seek to imagine new ways of faithfully framing, narrating, and translating the ways in which God is always already present as goodness, truth, and beauty in our midst.  

What in creation reminds you of God? 
I've always loved the way in which the early church mothers and fathers spoke of the 'two books': that of sacred scripture and that of nature. In the Tetons (a mountain range in Wyoming), it feels as if there are a number of aspects of creation that shew forth God's handiwork. Since the Tetons are a relatively young portion of the Rocky Mountain range, they are characterized by a jagged drama that often overwhelms with its sublimity. In this Valley — from avalanches, extreme temperature and storms to moose and grizzly bears — it can often feel as if one is living in a perpetual memento mori. Such staggering beauty puts me in touch with my mortality — and the fragility, and thus preciousness, of the gift that life is.  

What passage from scripture inspires you in your life as a Christian? 
Of all the Hebrew Scripture, the great creation poem that begins the Book of Genesis, when God speaks creation into being — sun and moon and other stars and whale and peacock and narwhal — and calls them good, and its culmination in human creatures' being made in God's image and pronounced very good, has always resonated with me. I love the anthropology and sense in which we carry an aspect of the Divine within us, imperfect creatures that we are. The moments in the Gospels and Epistles that most stir and inspire me are those that emphasize the ways in which Christ dwells in us, and we in Christ, in God. Jesus' prayer for his disciples in the farewell discourse (Jn. 14-17) always move me; and perhaps the single verse that most informs my way of living theologically is 1 John 4:16: "God is love, and those who dwell in love dwell in God, and God in them." The fact that by loving we abide in God, and God makes God's abode in us is such beautiful invitation and instigation for me in my work and ministry. 

How can we pray for you? 
As a relatively new member of my church staff and community, I am seeking ways to reimagine the ways in which our children’s' / youth / family ministries live out our aim of being 'love-spreading difference-makers' in this valley, and 'covering it in love the way the snow covers the mountains in the wintertime.' I'm also launching a new missional, community-facing project and would welcome prayers for the Holy Spirit's guiding wisdom to be manifest in both of these undertakings. My partner and I also have a one and a half year old daughter; and we would welcome prayers for her health and flourishing, as well! 


First published on: 20th March 2023
Powered by Church Edit