Staff

John Helmiere

Convener of Valley & Mountain - Hillman City

Rev. John Helmiere is our convener at Valley & Mountain in Hillman City. Before rooting his life in South Seattle, he lived in Florida, New Hampshire, Connecticut, San Francisco, and Edinburgh, and travelled the world living out of a backpack and a tent. He still loves hiking, traveling, and eating weird foods, but most of all loves to eat the many combinations of bread and cheese devised by the human mind. 

John studied religion, philosophy, history, and physics at Dartmouth College (B.A) and Yale Divinity School (M.Div). He learned life lessons from mentors, friends, activists, artists, intentional communities, and sidewalk saints. He is constantly being educated by his two daughters, Charis and Juniper, and his wife Freddie, who leads the development of continuing education for spiritual leaders of all faiths at Spiritual Directors International. 

He is the co-founder and Director of the Hillman City Collaboratory, a social change incubator, and is active with many local non-profits and social movements working on racial, economic, and social justice. He was the founding chairperson of the Interfaith Economic Justice Coalition.

John has been a fellow with the Forum for Theological Exploration, The Beatitudes Society, and the Louisville Institute.

Yasmin Ravard-Andresen

Music Minister & Board of Gardeners

Yasmin ushers us into an eclectic musical space to connect with God and gratitude during the 11am Celebration. She joined Valley & Mountain in September 2015 and
lives in the neighborhood with her husband Dave, and their two kids, Kavinder (6) and Anjali (3). 

Born and raised in Los Angeles and Portland, Yasmin grew up with a solid diet of the performing arts, interfaith spirituality, and multiethnic community. She graduated from the
University of Oregon with a degree in theatre and vegan food. She served as a campus minister and worship leader for eight years on college campuses throughout the Northwest and worked as a professional actor in Seattle for a few years.

Now, she spends most of her time learning alongside her children--practicing deep listening, cooking from scratch in the kitchen, making beautiful things at the art table, singing through the forest with friends, and traveling all along their bus route. She likes to mix things that don't often go together, blaze trails and generally live life out of the Box.

Contact her at [email protected]

Neal Sharpe

Convener of Valley & Mountain - Ravenna

Neal Sharpe has been embedded at V&M since July 2016, working with John to lead, help vision, and equip our leaders. Neal will be starting a new church in another neighborhood in Seattle that will be connected to Valley & Mountain. He is currently in the deep listening stage of this process. With over a decade of experience as a professional musician, Neal also helps lead music at the morning Celebration.

Osagyefo Sekou

Theologian-in-Residence

Rev. Sekou joined our team as Theologian-in-Residence in the Fall of 2020. A renowned musician, author, public intellectual, filmmaker, and community organizer, Rev. Sekou's role on staff is leading programs for theological formation, trainings on the theory and tactics of nonviolence civil disobedience, offering pastoral care, and contributing leadership and vision to our community.

Summer Diegel

Children & Youth Minister

Summer Diegel is a full-spectrum doula who has been working in home health care education and spiritual guidance since 2013. As the founder of Sunflower Services, Summer writes and designs resources for building consent, communication boundaries, and spiritual care skills. 

Summer received a B.A. from Seattle University in Theology & Religious Studies, and is currently pursuing a masters degree in education, studying K-12 Advanced Teaching. Currently, they serve as the Youth Ministry Coordinator for Valley and Mountain, volunteer within the National Home Funeral Alliance,  and volunteer as Assistant Director within A Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery and Education.    

Summer feels most at home cozied up with a sci-fi or fantasy novel. They enjoy collaborating in imagination, play, and joyful learning opportunities among small groups.  They are committed to growing and modeling a framework of consent and authenticity in theology, care planning, and death care education.