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

New in 2018!

Carolyn Cockroft New Center Startup Coordinator


Carolyn is a member of Pohick Episcopal Church in Lorton, VA, which was the first church to establish a Community of Hope center in Virginia. Since completing her training with the first COH class held at Pohick in 2005, Carolyn continued as part of the facilitator team that assists the COH director with coordinating COH training and Circle of Care meetings. During her term on the Pohick vestry, she headed the Pastoral Care Commission. In 2016, she became the COH representative for the Atlantic Region. In addition to her involvement with her church’s COH, she serves as a Lay Eucharistic Minister.  As a musician, she participates in the Pohick Adult Choir, the Bell Choir and Pohick Pickers church band, and plays at a weekly Eucharist held at The Fairfax Retirement Community. She also volunteers at a no-kill cat shelter.

Carolyn was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, where she attended St. Mary’s Episcopal School and graduated from Rhodes College with a degree in English. For 10 years, Carolyn taught at Holy Souls School in Little Rock before moving to the Washington, DC, area in 1987. For 28 years she was staff member of an international law enforcement non-profit association, during which time she edited several publications, developed training materials, and managed a certification program in highway safety.

Laura Masterson | Chaplain

Laura Masterson picture 2016.jpg

Laura is a New England native that has spent the majority of her adult life in Atlanta, GA, with her husband, Greg, and two children- Zachary (15) and Lydia (12). She became interested in The Community of Hope, International after completing a diocesan certification program on Spiritual Formation in 2012. Becoming trained as a lay chaplain through a rare model in which participants gather from all over the diocese, she then, having great support from the clergy, opened up a CoHI center at Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville, GA. Laura's internship before commissioning was through in-patient Hospice and an assisted living/memory care facility near her home. The center at Grace grew and embarked on a variety of new ministries, including chaplaincy in an accountability court for State Superior Court and a reading program for the youngest population of underserved school children. Simultaneously, Laura worked in EfM and continued her own ministries. Community of Hope became an emerging call in her life simultaneous to her becoming a postulant in the Diocese of Atlanta for Holy Orders. Currently, she and her family reside in Austin, TX where she is attending The Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest for her formation for the priesthood. 

At seminary, Laura spreads the news about Community of Hope and has gained interest in how she can continue to serve this community who is so close to her heart. She is excited to continue to be formed as a holy listener and to be joined with others in the Body of Christ in the role of board member and chaplain to Community of Hope. Lauraleads a contemplative service each week as she holds fast to the blessed Theresa of Calcutta's words, "The fruit of silence is prayer; The fruit of prayer is faith, The fruit of faith is love; The fruit of love is service; The fruit of service is peace."

In the role of chaplain, Laura seeks to bring an awareness of the whole community to regions through collective and individual prayer, pastoral care, and effective communication on the board and within center conversations. There is much good news to share!

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

Cynthia Oliphant 
New Center Startup Coordinator
(Highlands, TX)

Br. Michael Gallagher OSB                Member-at-Large
(409) 504-5283 (cell)                            (Beaumont, TX)

Pam Heidt                                                        Secretary and Interim Regional Representative for West/Northwest Region
(361) 727-7058
(Rockport, TX) 

Carolyn Cockroft                                       New Center Start-up Coordinator
(Lorton, Virginia)

Carrie Watson                                             Vice President
(512) 627-6623 (cell)                                      (Huntsville, TX)

Michael Patton                                    Treasurer
(361) 790-7775 (home)                                   (Rockport, TX)

Jude Arceneaux                          Parliamentarian
409.273.1732 (cell)                                   (Lakeland, FL)

Laura Masterson                                 Chaplain                                                 (Austin, TX)

Maria Wellisch                                      Member-at-Large
(210) 859-0783 (cell)                                         (San Antonio) 

Jennifer Sassin                                           
713-569-4546 (cell)