Staff

John Helmiere

Co-Convener

John Helmiere is our Founder and Co-convener. Before moving to Seattle, he lived in Florida, New Hampshire, Connecticut, San Francisco, and Edinburgh, and traveled the world living out of a backpack. He loves hiking, writing, and eating strange foods, but most of all loves to eat the nearly endless combinations of bread and cheese devised by the human mind. 

John studied religion, philosophy, history, and physics at Dartmouth College and Yale University. 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 directs a training program for wellness professionals seeking to become certified psychedelic guides.

He is the co-founder and The Collaboratories, a network of social change incubators. John  is active with many local non-profits and social movements working on racial, economic, and social justice. John was the founding chairperson of the Interfaith Economic Justice Coalition. He has been awarded the Tweedy Prize from Yale, and fellowships from the Forum for Theological Exploration, The Beatitudes Society, and the Louisville Institute.

Yasmin Ravard-Andresen

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]

Osagyefo Sekou

Co-Convener

Rev. Sekou joined our team as Theologian-in-Residence in the Fall of 2020, and now serves as our Co-Convener. 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

Director of Education & Family Ministries

Summer Gail Diegel is V&M's director of education & family ministry. They are a full-spectrum doula and care worker committed to teaching through modeling consent and compassion in learning, and practicing intergenerational community care. Summer graduated with a B.A. in comparative religion through the Theology & Religious Studies program at Seattle University in 2019.

Summer loves fantasy, and especially enjoys collaborating with people of all-ages in imagination, play, and exploring the Divine universe. They hold over a decade of experience in the service of children, elders, & families with diverse needs and embraces playfulness as an ally in embodied companionship. Summer is also a crew member with A Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery and Education.