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Presbytery of Santa Fe to host online remembrance of Rev. Richard Avery on Aug. 30

Dick Avery, half of the famed Avery and Marsh songwriting duo, died March 15

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Richard Avery

LOUISVILLE — At 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, Aug. 30, the Presbytery of Santa Fe will host an online memorial service for the Rev. Richard Avery, half of the Avery and Marsh songwriting duo who published more than 150 hymns, carols and anthems.

Avery died at age 85 on March 15 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

At the appointed hour, Avery’s memorial service will be available here. The memorial service, which promises to feature plenty of memorable music, can also be viewed anytime afterward.

Marsh, a longtime church musician and arts director, died on April 10, 2010.

According to Avery’s obituary, he’d been a resident of Santa Fe since his retirement in 2000.

For more than four decades, Avery was pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Port Jervis, New York, about 80 miles northwest of Manhattan. Marsh served the same church.

Avery and Marsh began their collaboration with a small songbook called “Hymns Hot and Carols Cool,” published in 1967 — the same year they founded the publishing company Proclamation Productions. Hope Publishing Company took over the sales of their works in later years. Among their most well-known are “We Are the Church” and “Every Morning is Easter Morning.”

At the Port Jervis church, Avery founded a ministry to poor people called Hope Center. Decades later, in 2003, he founded a small magazine, Santa Fe Theologians, and was editor and later manager of Santa Fe Theologian Institutes, public forums on contemporary issues.

During the late 1960s and over the ensuing decades, Avery and Marsh began sharing their music and creative ideas for worship at church conferences and regional and national assemblies, including 30 summers leading contemporary religious music seminars at Ghost Ranch Education & Retreat Center in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

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