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Today your visit to this web site is hosted by Melissa M. During his early school years he studied Latin, played in the band and enjoyed sports. He was an active member of the United Methodist Church in Mendota.
He was also active in campus politics and worked with Eva Jefferson Paterson who became the first African-American president of the student government. Jim earned a B. He then enrolled in seminary at the Yale Divinity School. He returned to Northwestern to serve an internship at Millar Chapel with Dunlop. His enormous talent, energy and brilliance shone through that year as he shuttled back and forth between Evanston and New Haven.
After interviewing several candidates for the Northwestern chaplaincy, the search committee determined that they preferred what they already had in Avery who, until the very end of the process, had not been under consideration.
He was offered the permanent position which he accepted with the condition he get a one-year leave of absence to finish his degree at Yale. He became one of the youngest-known chaplains of a major U. A Chicago Tribune story that year described him as a "long-haired, blue-eyed former farm boy from Mendota. Jim Avery, Ralph Dunlop, Tim Stevens, Northwestern University Chaplains College campuses and university chaplains played prominent roles in the political world of that day. He participated with students and other members of the Northwestern community in the political protests of the era.
Avery spoke for the equal rights of women and gays and lesbians. He was active in the campaign against apartheid in South Africa. Popular with students, faculty, and staff, Avery often spoke at or presided over receptions, convocations, and religious gatherings.
He was a very gifted preacher. Under his leadership the worshipping community at Millar Chapel grew ificantly, drawing from both the campus and the surrounding community. His sermons were carefully constructed on biblical exegesis yet strongly proclaimed equal rights and justice. Avery provided compassionate counseling and guidance to many students and also modeled and espoused the relevance of religious vocation. The university reported that Avery inspired more than 40 students to pursue theological education and enter religious vocations during his tenure.
He also believed that being public about his own sexual identity would seriously compromise his influence and effectiveness. Jim and David were visible as a couple on campus and in the community. Avery walked the fine line of Was james avery gay denying his gay identity while also not self-identifying publicly. He circulated in gay religious circles and served as confidant and supporter of a of openly gay Christian activists, including Rick Huskey and Paul Abels.
While Avery thrived publicly in his leadership role as university chaplain, he was suffering privately. His alcohol addiction grew more severe and began interfering with his work and his life. After a long struggle, he decided to re the chaplaincy in to try to find balance and solace in his personal life. Avery earned a Master of Sacred Theology in liturgical studies in and started working on a Ph. Jim excelled in this academic work but the alcohol addiction continued to take a toll on his personal life and relationships. InDavid moved back to Illinois to serve as senior pastor of St.
On his own, without participating in a recovery program, without support services, Jim stopped drinking and mounted a courageous effort to rebuild his life. Inhe loaded up his few possessions and moved back to Chicago where he lived in a small apartment on the North Side. He worked retail and settled into simple routines. He renewed friendship with David and others, and reconnected with family, enjoying a time of relative peace and contentment in his life.
Jim did not yet have health insurance in his new circumstances, he had a long-standing aversion to seeing the doctor, and he remained a heavy smoker. During a severe heat wave in early summerhe developed serious asthmatic symptoms, which induced a heart attack. He died on June 6, This biographical statement written by Mark Bowman from an interview with David Pattee, biographical information in the finding aid to the James Edward Avery Papers at the Northwestern Library and a Chicago Tribune obituary dated June 19, We had our own little dining room in the dorm reserved for us and Jim would regularly dine there.
I was in the marching band and would have my uniform on when scrambling in for the evening meal after practice fall quarter.
Jim was a good friend throughout my time at NU and inspired me to pursue my passions for producing student theater and making different kinds of friendships with different religiously affiliated students, which I will always appreciate. Jim inspired me to write for the Chapel magazine while at NU. Know James Edward Avery?
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