Avery D. Post

Published: 9/10/2020 3:00:29 AM
Modified: 9/10/2020 3:00:19 AM

HANOVER, NH — The Rev. Dr. Avery Denison Post, died peacefully, after a period of declining health, on September 7, 2020 at the Kendal Retirement Community in Hanover NH. Prior to his retirement in 1989, he was General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, serving for 12 years. During his tenure, he traveled widely and worked to solve some of the world’s most difficult political problems including apartheid, dissidents and the Soviet Union, the arms race, and racial tensions in the United States. Avery was a highly respected religious leader of good humor and exceptional kindness.

Born in Norwich, Connecticut on July 29, 1924, Avery was the second son of John Palmer Post and Dorothy Church Post. He was a descendant of John Post, one of the original founders of Norwich. He attended Norwich Free Academy and Middlebury College before entering the Navy in 1943. Preparing for the chaplaincy, he received officer training in the V-12 program at Ohio Wesleyan University, receiving a B.A. in English in 1946. He attended Yale Divinity School, receiving a Bachelor and Master of Divinity degrees in 1949 and 1952. He held honorary degrees from Chicago Theological Seminary, Lakeland College and Middlebury College, among others.

His early ministries took Avery and family to churches in Columbus, OH, Clinton, CT, Norwich, NY, Garden City, NY and Scarsdale NY. Parishioners remember Avery as a natural leader, a gifted and provocative preacher, and a sensitive pastoral counselor. He was involved in outreach ministries promoting action for civil rights, witnessing for peace, refugee resettlement and community theological education.

Leaving the parish ministry in 1970, Avery moved to Boston to serve as Conference Minister of the Massachusetts United Church of Christ (UCC). In 1977 he was installed as General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ (UCC). His ministry as UCC President was marked by nationally and internationally focused visionary leadership for peace, social justice, and ecumenical values.

His influence was significant in the emerging ecumenical movement for disarmament and the easing of east-west tensions and in the maintenance of ecumenical relations in East and West Germany, Central America, the Middle East

and Asia. With other church leaders, he conferred with representatives

of the South African Council of Churches and led actions to end

apartheid. He was a member of the World Council of Churches’ Central

Committee, the National Council of Churches’ Governing Board and led

UCC task force efforts. He was president of the Massachusetts Council of

Churches. His care and nurture of the spiritual life of the church

remained a focus and commitment into his retirement, as a seminar

leader and senior fellow at Hartford Seminary, active member of the

Norwich Congregational Church, UCC, and as a frequent worship and

special service leader at the Kendal Community.

Avery married Middlebury classmate, Margaret “Peg” Rowland on June 8, 1945 in Wellesley, MA. After years serving together in Churches, they enjoyed a full retirement in Norwich, VT and Hanover NH. Avery spent summers at the family mountain home in Randolph, NH reading and collecting poetry, writing for publication or crafting sermons, managing his 9 acre woodland and hiking in the White Mountains. After Peg’s passing in 2010, Avery found a beloved colleague and companion in Louise Parsons Pietsch of Hanover, NH. The Post family is grateful for their care for each other.

Avery is survived by a brother, John E Post, 99 of Coventry, CT; a daughter Susan Post Ross and her husband Robert of Northfield, MA; a daughter, Jennifer Campbell Post of Tucson, AZ; a daughter, Elizabeth Post Elliott of North Andover, MA; a daughter, Anne Post Poole and her husband Matt of South Berwick, ME. He leaves eleven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Interment will be in the Randolph Cemetery. Memorial services will be postponed until summer, 2021. Visit Rand-Wilson Funeral Home (www.rand-wilson.com) in Hanover, NH for an extended obituary and for future notices of services to be held in 2021. To receive notice of future memorial services for Avery in Norwich, VT or Randolph, NH copy and paste this into your browser: https://bit.ly/AveryPostMemorialService .

Arrangements are under the direction of the Rand-Wilson Funeral Home of Hanover, NH.

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