Conference Updates

IRAS at Parliament of the World’s Religions

Members of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, which holds an annual conference on Star Island, will be present at this year’s Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto.

IRAS cultivates a community of informed and respectful inquiry and dialogue
the intersections of science with religion, spirituality and philosophy
 in service of global, societal and personal well-being.

The Science & Religion track has been created jointly by the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) and the International Society on Science and Religion (ISSR), specifically addressing the major themes of the 2019 Parliament. The presenters include some experienced academics (including one Nobel Laureate) and representatives of several major religions in the world, all of whom take seriously the latest knowledge developed by sound science. Issues addressed include human origins, cosmology, the nature of evil, genetic manipulation, climate change, food distribution, the brain and human emotion, the search for life in the galaxy, human health and well being. Each session will present latest research with slide illustrations, and each presenter will allow time for questions and discussion. For more information, visit our booth # 425 in the Parliament’s Exhibit Fair.

The Parliament is scheduled to run November 1 through 7, 2018.

All sessions will be held in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

This is the Roster of Science & Religion Sessions sponsored by IRAS & ISSR

Friday, November 2, 2018

Nancy Ellen Abrams

The Unifying Potential of a Real God in the Scientific Universe

12:15pm, Room 706

Grace Wolf-Chase

Understanding Scientific Discovery through Participation

3:15pm, Room 703

Saturday, November 3, 2018:

Paul H. Carr

Climate, Carbon & Ground of All Being

12:15pm, Room 712

Solomon Katz

Food Scarcity, Safety, Imbalance and Population Changes

1:15pm, Room 712

William D. Phillips

Ordinary Faith, Ordinary Science

6:00pm, Room 603

Sunday, November 4, 2018

V. V. Raman

Science & Religion: A Unified Vision

12:15pm, Room 712

Carol Wayne White

Reinvisioning Hope: Anthropogenic Climate Change, Learned Ignorance, and Religious Naturalism

1:15pm, Room 712

Janet Rossant and James Peterson

Gene Editing Our Children and Their Children: Genes, Justice and Future Generations

2:15pm, Room 712

Sol Katz

Implementing a Scientific, Socially Inclusive, Sustainable, Interfaith Food Program in Ethnically Diverse Urban Communities

2:15pm, Room 713B

Anindita Balslev

Pluralism and Peace Making: Contemporary Hindu Perspectives

2:15 pm, Room 107

Andrew Newberg and  Rabbi David Halprin

Neurotheology and Compassion

6:00pm, Room 713A

Tuesday, November 6, 2019

Fraser Watts and  Moez Masoud

Science, Religion & Global Justice

12:15pm, Room 717A

William Shoemaker

The Origin of Evil and the Brain Network

2:15pm, Room 712

Michael Summers

The New Search for Life Beyond our Solar System

3:15pm, Room 712


The Parliament of the World’s Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions
Toronto, ON • November 1 – 7, 2018

The vision of the Parliament of the World’s Religions is of a just, peaceful and sustainable world in which:

  • Religious and spiritual communities live in harmony and contribute to a better world from their riches of wisdom and compassion.
  • Religious and cultural fears and hatreds are replaced with understanding and respect.
  • People everywhere come to know and care for their neighbors.
  • The richness of human and religious diversity is woven into the fabric of communal, civil, societal and global life.
  • The world’s most powerful and influential institutions move beyond narrow self-interest to realize common good.
  • The Earth and all life are cherished, protected, healed and restored.
  • All people commit to living out their highest values and aspirations

On the Island

Tom Chapin Live – Folk Concert on Star Island

Grammy Award-winning artist Tom Chapin is performing live on Star Island on July 29, at 1:30 pm! We hope you’ll join us for this special event.


Check out the event page here for more information on how to attend this FREE performance!


On the Island

Star Island Hosts AmeriCorps Volunteers

We are thrilled to share the following press release about the outstanding AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps team that helped us with special facilities projects this spring on Star Island, including compost system improvements and grounds work.

An AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps team is wrapping up a three-week stay on Star Island.

The volunteers are from all over the country and range in age from 18 to 22. The AmeriCorps team stayed in the historic Ocean Hotel and worked on a range of projects, including infrastructure improvements, energy efficiencies and waste management.

“These are important projects that we would not have been able to complete this year without the help of the AmeriCorps volunteers,” said Star Island Manager John Bynum. “We are so grateful for their contributions and strong work ethic. And we were thrilled to show them some Star Island hospitality.”

Zoe Lufkin, 22, of Tacoma, Washington, was excited by the assignment and called it an experience she will always remember.

“By joining the Star Island community for three weeks our team was able to partake in the fun familial energy that abounds in every building,” Lufkin said. “Getting to know the different crews around the island was an exciting process. We spent most of our time with environmental services working to streamline their composting system. I, personally, don’t have much previous sustainability exposure, which made this time all the more meaningful. It was a great, unforgettable few weeks that was made all the better by the warm staff who included our team in all their traditions.”

Star Island is the second largest of the nine small, rugged islands at the Isles of Shoals. Star Island is owned and managed by the nonprofit Star Island Corporation and hosts weeklong conferences and programs focused on a wide variety of topics including ecology, history, spirituality, arts, along with intergenerational family camps. All are welcome to come for the day, spend the night or attend a conference.

AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps engages up to 2,800 young Americans in a full-time, 10-month commitment to service each year. AmeriCorps NCCC members address critical needs related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, and urban and rural development. The programs are administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and Volunteer Generation Fund programs. For more information, visit

On the Island


2018 Pelican Positions Open!

Due to some recent cancellations, we unexpectedly have a few Pelican job openings on Star this summer. If you know of anyone who is still looking for a summer job and might be interested in this amazing opportunity, please have them get in touch with me as soon as possible to apply.

We seek candidates who will be safecooperative, and respectful, and who can thrive in the close working and living quarters of our remote setting.  Beyond these essential attributes, we will be strongly focused on hiring candidates who will contribute to our mission of hospitality and participate in forming a healthy island-wide community.  If you know of people (age 18 and older) who fit that description and might be looking for a summer job- please encourage them to apply.

The position openings include:

  • Housekeeping Crew
  • Snack Bar/Gosport Grill Crew
  • Truck, Grounds & Waterfront Crew (lifeguard certification required)
  • Waitrae Crew

Ideal candidates will be able to work from June 11 through at least mid-August; preferably longer.


Interested applicants contact Kate Brady, Office Manager at: or 603-430-6272
with questions and to apply.


Remembering the Last Village on Star Island


By Peter Randall

Gosport Remembered, the Last Village at the Isles of Shoals, tells the story of the last years of the little village that existed on Star for many years before the island became a conference center. First published twenty years ago by the Portsmouth Marine Society, a special 20th anniversary paperback edition has been reprinted and copies will be available at the Star Bookstore.

Many years before Star Island was a conference center, it was home to a small village called Gosport. From 1623 until 1872, Star supported fishermen and their families. In the early years when cod were huge and abundant and few settlements were on the mainland, the island’s fishermen were some of the wealthiest people in New England. They dried cod for export to Europe, but as seacoast towns grew and fear of Native American attacks diminished, the more successful families moved to the mainland.

Gosport became an incorporated town in the state of New Hampshire, electing officers and even a member of the legislature. But life on the island was difficult. Imagine having enough drinking water, or fuel for heating and cooking. Dried fish were sold or bartered, but money was in short supply. Ministers were often paid with dried fish they had to sell for income.
At the time of the American Revolution, the villagers were asked to leave the island since their loyalty to the cause was somewhat in doubt. After the war ended those who returned were probably people who had trouble getting established on the mainland and others who just missed the freedom of living on an island.

The quality of life declined and, by 1800, missionaries were assigned to Star to support the few remaining families. It was during the nineteenth century when summers visitors began to arrive, hosted by small inns on Smuttynose and, later, Star, and in 1848 the large Appledore House on Appledore Island. Many visitors such as authors Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles Henry Dana, wrote about the islands and its people.

When a large collection of 1860s photographs of primarily Star became available, Peter Randall and Maryellen Burke decided to put together a book of the pictures and the contemporary works of visitors as well as Celia Thaxter and her brothers.
It is remarkable that so much was written about this little village that no longer exists. This rich literary output forms the heart of the book and brings to life the scenes and the people who were photographed.