Founder & President - The Rev. Dr. Helen Appelberg

The youngest of three girls, Helen grew up in Tyler, Texas. After many years of education, marriage and owning a business in Houston, Helen was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1990. She then served as Assistant Director of Pastoral Care for St. Luke’s Episcopal and Texas Children’s Hospitals. In 1994 Helen founded Community of Hope, and from 1996 until retirement was the full time director. Today, Helen is Board president of the Community of Hope International.

Helen has served on the Diocese of Texas Executive Board, Clergy Pastoral Care and Standing Committee. She is a graduate of Seminary of the Southwest and in 1995 received a Doctorate of Ministry from the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She is a graduate of the Pecos Benedictine Monastery School for Spiritual Directors and an oblate in the World Community for Christian Meditation. 

After retiring in 2002, Helen moved to Galveston where she became a Visiting Scholar in the Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Now a Fellow, she is Director of the Center for Spirituality of Aging. She also serves as Associate Rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Galveston and co-facilitates their Community of Hope training center.

Every day Helen is grateful for God’s amazing gift of grace and blessing, especially for her daughter Katrina, husband Scott, three delightful grand children, devoted friends and community.

Board Members

Rev. Micki Rios, Board Chaplain

Hello, my name is LaJunta Rios but I go by Micki (I’m sure you can understand why).  I am a retired teacher, a licensed professional counselor and a deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.  I really do not remember when I became involved in COHI, except that it was early on.  The teachers for my class were in the classes that were being held at St Luke’s in Houston.  I was involved in prison ministry to young offenders in the maximum-security prison in Lake Jackson (Clemens Unit) and the Community of Hope seemed like a natural progression to learn how to listen and how to set boundaries.  I have been using what I have learned in Community of Hope so long ago even now.

I love the role of Chaplain because it says, “I will listen and I will pray”.  Chaplains are the ones who are willing to listen to what anyone says, without judgement, and to pray without ceasing for healing, for discernment (although I think that might be a prayer that only gets answered over time), for guidance and for great faith.  I think Community of Hope embodies all those areas.

Thank you for the opportunity you have given me to give back to Community of Hope

Rev LaJunta M Rios, MA, LPC

Jude Arceneaux, our new Parliamentarian!

I began developing a desire to follow the Lord by serving others in the early 1970’s.  I have long felt a deep 'calling' in my heart, soul, and mind to serve.  When I was introduced to COHI at Saint Mark Episcopal Church in Beaumont Texas and participated in the program, I immediately knew it was a perfect fit for where I was in my faith journey. As I continued to minister and serve in a church community and as chaplain at an Acute Care Unit of a local hospital, I understood that this COHI program would only enhance my understanding at serving those people placed in my life.  Although I realized this was my calling, i personally benefited more from my experiences than those I served. Today, the desire and drive to serve is still alive and thriving even as the aging process creeps into my life.

Thank you for allowing me to serve on the board of COHI.   Deacon Jude




The Rev. Dr. Helen Appelberg           President and Founding Director of COHI  (Galveston, TX)

Br. Michael Gallagher OSB                Member-at-Large                            (Beaumont, TX)

Pam Heidt                                                        Vice President and Regional Rep. Coordinator   (Rockport, TX) 

Cynthia Oliphant                                      New Center Start-up Coordinator   (Highlands, TX)

Michael Patton                                    Treasurer                                           (Rockport, TX)

Jude Arceneaux                          Parliamentarian                                   (Lakeland, FL)

Rev. Micki Rios                                       Chaplain                                                 (Baytown, Texas)

Jennifer Sassin                                           COHI Executive Director