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Church member, dedicated to service, celebrates 100th birthday

Helen Frebel Kerr doesn't let age stop her from working to serve and "glorify God."

On a recent Saturday morning in Miami Lakes, Florida, members of Hialeah Church of Christ were busy making and packing sandwiches to deliver to the homeless in downtown Miami. Among the busy workers was Helen Frebel Kerr, soon to celebrate her 100th birthday.

Helen Frebel Kerr

Helen Frebel Kerr

If there is work to be done to glorify God and spread His Word, Helen is there. 

Helen was born on September 25, 1919, in New Site, Mississippi. Baptized in a creek after a gospel meeting when she was 13, Helen began her life of service to God, which continues to this day. 

After moving to South Florida with her young family in 1951, she started going to the Hialeah Church of Christ when some family friends had come down to South Florida for a visit and asked her to go to church with them.

If there is work to be done to glorify God and spread His Word, Helen is there. 

It wasnʼt long before her husband, Al, who had been driving her to church but not attending, read in the church bulletin “If you donʼt need us, we need you.” That statement affected him and he was baptized. Her example definitely played a part in his conversion. 

Through the years Helen seamlessly combined her roles as wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother with her work of the church. When she became a widow, she continued to seek ways to serve. Helen married Ed Kerr in 2002. When Ed became a deacon at age 89, Helen, now a deaconʼs wife at age 91, supported her husband in all of his works of the church. 

Helenʼs good works, both past and present, are numerous and varied. She served as a chaperone for the youth group in the 1970ʼs. In the mid 1980ʼs she and Jimmie Ruth Songer started Thursday School, as a Motherʼs Day Out, for the preschoolers of the church and the grateful mothers. Helen also sent and graded Bible correspondence courses to prisoners.

She began writing poems at age 80 and has contributed poems for special occasions at church such as members moving or ladiesʻ day activities. Two of her poems have been published by Christian Woman magazine. 

Perhaps the most notable of Helenʼs church works was her position as church secretary.

She was church secretary from 1964 to 1984. After taking some time off to care for her grandchildren, she returned to the role of church secretary without pay. Over those years, she worked for 13 different full-time and/or part-time preachers.

Willie Hamblen, a former minister of the Hialeah church and currently the minister at Emporia Avenue Church of Christ, Wichita, Kansas, said this concerning Helen: “Helen Frebel Kerr is one of the finest ladies Iʼve ever known. When I went to work with the Hialeah church in mid 1972, she had already been church secretary for years and knew everyone, everything, and all the history. She took me underwing and offered guidance that was invaluable. I soon adopted her as my ‘second mother’ and so it still is. I could never explain the wisdom she has shared. We have one more appointment on earth, but the date is unknown. God bless her always.” 

Today, Helen is still active in attending worship services and a Tuesday morning Ladiesʼ Bible class.

She sends cards out weekly to those who are sick or bereaved. She also sends postcards each week to the men of the church reminding them of their assigned duty during worship service. 

Helen loves to cook and has made many meals for those who are sick or bereaved. She also makes meals for people for no reason. Chicken and dumplings and pecan pie with homemade crust are two of her many specialties. 

Helen writes, “Iʼve had the best jobs I could have in raising a family and working for the church. The pay hasnʼt been the greatest but the retirement is out of this world.” 

Happy 100th birthday to Helen Frebel Kerr, a truly worthy woman! 

Filed under: 100 years Helen Frebel Kerr Hialeah Church of Christ National News serving Top Stories

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