Winona Helms, an ordained Foursquare minister and the wife of former Foursquare Interim President Harold Helms, went to be with the Lord on Oct. 26, 2022. She was 94 years old. A valued partner of Harold’s who spent more than 50 years in ministry, Winona was a talented musician, teacher and co-pastor.
Born on Feb. 1, 1928, Winona accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of 8 in Spokane, Wash. She received the baptism with the Holy Spirit the same year. After high school, she attended L.I.F.E. Bible College (now called Life Pacific University). She graduated in February 1949 and received her Foursquare credential that June.
“Winona was a beautiful person, inside and out,” remembers Foursquare President Randy Remington. “She glowed with an effervescent love for Jesus and people. Winona profoundly impacted all who knew her through her sincerity, purity of heart, and gracious manner. She also played a crucial role in teaching, training and modeling life in Jesus.
“It’s hard ever to imagine Winona and Harold apart from one another; it seems that every memory and image of them is together,” Randy continues. “It is only fitting that they are rejoicing in their heavenly reunion, and we rejoice with them, even in our sorrow.”
The couple married in 1947, and during their years together had four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. After graduating from L.I.F.E., their first pastorate was in Lexington, N.C. After five years in that state, they moved to Roanoke, Va., and pastored there for nine years.
In 1965, Harold became dean of students at Ohio’s Mount Vernon Bible College, the predecessor to L.I.F.E. Bible College East. He served for a decade in that role, while Winona mentored students and played the organ at the campus church. Through the years, she also taught music. When her husband accepted a call to pastor in Decatur, Ill., Winona assisted him in the church and with operations at a Christian TV station.
Winona served as worship leader at Angelus Temple, which from 1981 to 1998 recorded more than 39,000 decisions for Christ, approximately 6,600 water baptisms and some 3,800 Holy Spirit baptisms.
An experience she had at the UHF channel illustrates her winsome ways. One day, as she directed a program, a church member operating the camera asked if she had a brother. When she replied that she didn’t but had always wanted one, he replied: “I never had a sister and always wanted one. Why don’t we be brother and sister?”
That touched off a long-term friendship. Harold and Winona often visited the family, and stayed with them on return trips after they departed in 1981 to pastor Foursquare’s historic founding church, Angelus Temple in Los Angeles.
Winona served as worship leader at Angelus Temple, which from 1981 to 1998 recorded more than 39,000 decisions for Christ, approximately 6,600 water baptisms and some 3,800 Holy Spirit baptisms. The congregation also gave $4.7 million to missions during the couple’s 18-year-long tenure.
Harold, who passed away earlier this year, departed from the church in February 1999. During his final year at Angelus Temple, he also accepted a one-year appointment as interim president of the denomination, serving as a bridge between the presidencies of John Holland and Paul Risser.
Although originally settling in Bakersfield, Calif., in retirement, Harold and Winona later relocated to a suburb of Nashville, Tenn., to be close to their daughter, Mel. They worshiped and occasionally even spoke at their local Foursquare church.
Sterling Brackett, Foursquare’s former COO and corporate secretary, fondly remembers the couple for their love, laughter and the high value they placed on people.
“She and Harold were incredible,” Sterling shares. “I loved hearing her play the organ when we were in Bible college. She loved everybody and was very, very friendly. The Helms had the unique ability to see the ‘funny side’ in any situation. They are both missed.”