Michele Shanklin Avery

AveryMichele Shanklin Avery, 67, on October 2, 2018, in West Chester, Pa. Chel was born on April 2, 1951, in Columbia, Mo., the eldest of three children to Laurelle and Milton Shanklin. Her father was a professor at the University of Missouri. She attended high school in Columbia and graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1973 with a degree in communications. She first encountered Quakers in Wisconsin, and she joined Madison (Wis.) Meeting in the 1980s, saying, “I will do my best to stay attentive and true to the sacredness that I find in the world, and I will help others to do the same, and I will accept and rely upon such help from my community.” She transferred her membership twice, first to Central Philadelphia (Pa.) Meeting, and in 1997 to Goshen Meeting in West Chester, Pa. Her own written story of her Friends journey demonstrates her keen mind, her integrity and authenticity, and her marvelous way of reflecting upon truth and responsibility.

She worked for Abington Friends School; American Friends Service Committee; Friends General Conference; Pendle Hill study center in Wallingford, Pa.; and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, where she was director of the Quaker Information Center for several years. She was also an indispensable asset to her home meeting, filling many roles at Goshen.

She and Jay Worrall first met in 1998, when he was on the panel for a conference on Quakers and the Vietnam War that she had organized. They married under the care of Goshen Meeting in 2002 and shared a deep love and respect that has persisted through the remainder of her life and beyond. Through Jay, Chel had five stepchildren and ten step-grandchildren.

She helped many Friends to follow the path she laid out when she joined Madison Meeting. She wrestled with the many possible meanings of truth for years, culminating in the pamphlet Trying to Be Truthful, which was published by Pendle Hill just after her death.

Chel is survived by her husband, Jay Worrall; her extended family; her dog, Bevan; Goshen Meeting; and the larger Quaker community.

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