Jim Kelley, who served IVC for over twenty years as a service corps member, regional director and regional council member, and who oversaw the expansion of IVC into Northern Virginia, died November 1 in Fairfax, Va. Below, Jim is remember by colleagues and friends.
Twenty years ago, Jim began his association with IVC. When he went for his initial interview with the Regional Director, Mike O’Donnell, I was present as a spiritual reflector who explained the spirituality aspect of the program after Mike spoke of the service component. It was obvious from the beginning that the combination of service and spirituality was natural for Jim. It was the way he was already living his life.
When Jim became Regional Director, we conducted the interviews and information sessions together. It was my privilege to witness his ability to recognize and call forth the tremendous gifts of the women and men who joined the Corps. He was always able to guide the new members in finding the most suitable service placement and spiritual reflector. Jim cared deeply about the mission of IVC. The way he led and nurtured the members assured that the mission was carried out.
Jim knew his own gifts and generously shared them for the good of IVC and those who were served by its volunteers. After getting to know Jim and observing his inspirational leadership, a member of the National Board said this: “If Jim Kelley could be cloned, the quality and success of IVC as it grows would be assured.”
When the pandemic struck and we were all worried about so many things, Jim was concerned about IVC. He called to talk about how the work of IVC would continue. The fact that it did survive and thrive because of creative leadership and cooperation of its members brought him great joy. Jim never stopped caring about IVC. Through the twenty years a volunteer, Regional Director, Regional Council member and an honoree twice at IVC Evenings of Gratitude, Jim remained the perfect example of what it means to be part of the IVC community. As a member of that community, one of the greatest gifts I received was being a friend and colleague of Jim Kelley.
Jim made an impact on all of us early day IVCers as he expanded the D.C. region into Northern Virginia.
He so loved his own volunteer time at the Lamb Center, he wanted it for all: the inspiration, the service, the mutually with all God’s people.
As a new spiritual reflector in the area, he asked me to join him in building up the base, through orientations and recruitments for volunteers, and formation and sharings for reflectors. We happily drove to many places to share the vision of IVC.
Jim was God’s friend and therefore a friend to all, empowering others and loving them. I’m grateful to have known him. My condolences to Margo and his family.
Jim Kelley is a legend at The Lamb Center, a homeless shelter in Fairfax City where I volunteer. He came there as an IVC volunteer in 2002 and did such a great job that he was asked to become a staff member. He continued his volunteer activities and in addition was Director of Volunteers and started a men’s group.
When I came into contact with Jim in 2007, I had no idea he knew the Lamb Center so well, and, of course, Jim didn’t tell me. Following an introductory phone conversation, Jim suggested I visit The Lamb Center.
Somewhat reluctantly I did, and that was the beginning of the most significant spiritual journey in my life. Jim obviously knew The Lamb Center well. From one phone call he got to know me well. He knew where I needed to be. Jim didn’t let his guidance end with that phone call. He knew what had happened to me, and he nourished that connection until this past All Saints Day.