Shoaler Voices

Star Island Calling by Rev. Wendy Bartel

This piece is an excerpt from It Is Time Now: Offerings from the Beloved Community Project, an educational resource produced in 2019 as part of Star Island’s Beloved Community Project. The Star Island Beloved Community Project is a journey SIC has begun as an organization to create a more inclusive and intentional community, to help spread more empathy and understanding in the world, and to become a more welcoming place for all people. We recognize and affirm that many have been on this journey for a long time, and we are excited to listen and learn as we continue on this important journey.

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,”
Excuse me, who, is ‘we’?
and what do you mean when you say truths…and these…?

Ministry and majesty

condoning supremacy

throughout millennia, see,

in manifest destiny

and colonizing from the redwoods

to the gulf stream

whose land can this really be?

Unlearning centuries of practices of domination
invading and making ministrations
with lots of condemnation of those who otherwise
may make an oblation to the ancestors and the Earth
and the rhythm nation,
for generations and so-called civilizations.

g and f
n            a
i                   l
s                      l
i                          i
R                             n
.                                      g

so rarely calling us
to our better selves
even as we sought a better life.

Instead, a replication
of systems of subjugation
leading to the ruination of all.
As if we had to ration
all our sources rather than set a new course for the
distribution of soul force where they are actually needed.

Our norms are not normal if they leave some out.
If our aim is to normalize honesty and integrity,
sustainability and voluntary complexity,
island or mainland multiplicity,
covenants of accountability,
let’s make explicit our agreements
so we might all get free.
The delicacy of the taste of fresh joy on our lips
dripping with beloved community.

Speaking our heart’s deepest longings,
received by ears and hearts that
inspire a sense of belonging;
packing up our sorrows, not to hide them
rather to move with and through them
for we are not only our grief
or the hard things that happen to us.

Our habit may be to weaponize
long held habits that demonize
Perhaps this changing could be part of the resistance

the persistence
and insistence
for interdependence.

Practices and rituals building resilience.
Each of our gifts used to make a difference,
that we might just choose, once and for all,
to answer Love’s call,
offer a faithful hand when we fall,
especially if we’re in it for the long haul.

It is time now that we thrive.
Let us choose to pick up the best of our hearts.

Conference Updates

We Will Come Back in 2021!

Here’s a special message from Star Island’s 2020 Conference Leaders. We will come back! Thank you to The Oshy Annas for providing the music with their first public release of their song “Northbound”.

On the Island

A Process of Beloved Community by Rev. Lynn Gardner

We gathered in a circle and spoke of our tender, brave, and painful truths, with faith in the Holy to help us find the words, and with a growing trust in one another. The rocks, the sea, the sunlight and rain, and even the gulls helped shape a container to hold the experiences of relationships and communities constricted and shredded by a culture of white supremacy.

And, rising up through our songs, tears, prayers, laughter, sharing and yearning was the sweet smell of hope, whispers of possibility, and the grounding strength of our commitments.

In process theology the Divine and all existence is always becoming. Our collective attention, actions, and thoughts impact the present, and what is possible in the next moment. Poet and professor Christina Hutchins describes how she chooses a broad vocabulary, not just because it makes current language more interesting and specific, but because she wants to expand, rather than limit, word choices in the future. Our living is a series of potential endings and beginnings, and our choices affect what will and can unfold.

Oppression constricts, silences, and destroys, not just humanity, not just all ecosystems on Earth, but the Mystery that moves in and among us.

As we gathered on that rocky island, I imagined the possibilities of God expanding. I felt connected to all those who have yearned and worked for collective liberation.

Buoyed by the inspiration and strength of our time together, I move through my small fears and self-doubt. Who am I to keep God smaller than God is possible of becoming?

The Beloved Community Project is a journey Star Island has begun as an organization, to open minds and hearts, to be deeply inclusive, and to bring more justice and peace into the world. We recognize and affirm that others have been on this journey for a long time, and we are excited to learn from them as we continue on this important journey. We hope to inspire readers to be part of our journey toward becoming a more welcoming and intentional community, and to help spread more empathy and understanding in the world.

On the Island

Island Historian Ann Beattie Returns

If you’ve ever run into Ann Beattie on Star Island, you’ll know she’s got a lot to share. Last year, Ann took up residency on Star Island as Island Historian, and we’re excited to announce that she’ll be returning for summer 2020. Here’s a look at the programming she’ll be offering this season:

Wondrous Isles: Explore four centuries of life on the nine stark and hauntingly beautiful Isles of Shoals through a series of fascinating historical images.

Infamous Isles of Shoals: Investigate the lore and legends of Shoals and determine the truth behind stories of pirates, treasure, ghosts and murder just 10 miles off the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire.

Notorious Shoals Dunfish: Discover how cod fueled the settlement of New England and go back in time to the era when the Isles of Shoals was the busiest spot in the New World.

Isles of Shoals Resorts: Find out why hundreds of people packed their trucks and spent the summer at one of the Isles of Shoals resort hotels in the 19th century and why hundreds of people continue to explore the natural beauty of the Shoals today

The Oceanic – 140 Years at Sea: Investigate the legacy of the Isles of Shoals’ grand Oceanic Hotel, one of New England’s few remaining Victorian resort hotels. Discover how flames destroyed the hotels, and learn of the ingenious effort in creating a second grand Oceanic Hotel.

Oceanic Regatta: One-hundred and fifty years ago, Gosport Harbor was filled with hundreds of sails unfurled in the wind as the Oceanic Regatta drew national attention to the Shoals. Hear about the yachts, the races, the amazing prizes and the characters that dominated the contests.

Celia Thaxter’s Salon: The Isles of Shoals have inspired writers, musicians and artists for centuries. Explore the lives and work of the famous visitors to poet Celia Thaxter’s salon and discover how they collaborated to produce some of their finest pieces.

Poetic Isles: Living on the storm-tossed Isles of Shoals inspired poet Celia Thaxter to write countless poems, some of them surprisingly relevant today. Explore Thaxter’s experiences at the Isles and discover the meaning behind her work.

Murder at the Shoals: Over 125 years ago, two women were murdered on an isolated island at the Isles of Shoals. One woman survived and the story she told scandalized the nation. Revisit the crime and decide for yourself who was really responsible for the tragic deaths on Smuttynose Island.

We hope you’ll get to hear one of Ann’s famous talks during your visit this summer. By the way, it’s time to register!

On the Island

A Whale of a Tale: 7th Annual Veterans Raffle Winner

Have you heard the news? Our 7th annual veterans raffle winner has been chosen! 32 year old Travis Moss became fascinated with Star Island from afar – all the way from Alaska, where he lives with his adorable family (see photo below). Travis was honorably discharged last year after serving eight years in the Marines and the Army and has since been working on a degree in environmental science, which involved a research project on whale migration. Reading about whales led to reading about islands in New England, and one special island in particular… Travis seems to have immediately captured the magic of Star Island, without having ever experienced it in person:

“…I had fallen in love with Star Island from a distance and began regularly following events online. I imagined myself standing there apart from the world yet somehow more deeply connected than ever. I promised myself that I would someday take my family there. I am so grateful that the Veterans’ Raffle is enabling me to take the first step in what I hope will become a continuing journey to Star.”

We’re so grateful for the dedicated service Travis has given our country, and we are thrilled with the opportunity to give him and his family the experience of a lifetime on Star Island. We hope they will experience the deep connection with nature the island offers as well as the connections with other people and themselves. And, we hope they might even catch a glimpse of a whale on the way!

On the Island

Star Island Registration Opens


Your first steps on Star Island this summer are one step closer now that registration is open. From those first moments of conversation on the boat, to workshop discussions budging into lunch — your favorite Star Island moments are a handful of months away. We invite you to register now to help those volunteers planning and leading conferences prepare for you.

Our season opens in June with opportunities for people looking to deepen their knowledge about topics like natural history and the arts. You’ll find time to learn coupled with time to connect. All the while you’ll discover, maybe for the first time or the fiftieth time, that the simplicity of the island’s time, kept by lapping waves, provides the warmth you need to recharge.

As we move further into summer our traditional family conferences blossom on the island with playful energy. Theme talks about world issues entertain the minds of those gathered in rooms like Elliott Hall, while youth groups engage with Island staff to learn about history, the environment, and sustainability. The island community comes together for intergenerational activities like softball games on the front lawn, meals in the dining hall, and chapel services.

When September arrives with its earlier setting sun, Star Island plays host to a large number of conferences with varied topics. You can find yourself learning a new yoga position, or uncovering a new historical fact about New England, or delighting in the simple pleasures of a musical performance.

No matter your connection to the island, you belong here. We have a few months to get ready, but know that your arrival is meaningful to us. Registering today helps make our community stronger because you will be part of it.

Discover for yourself what conferences to attend by visiting our program list. We look forward to seeing you on Star Island this summer.

On the Island

Star Island Holiday Gift Guide

‘Tis the season to get all flustered by wrapping gifts and matching tissue paper to gift bags. Such a pain, right? Problem solved. ‘Tis the gift of Star Island.

This exquisitely curated gift catalog highlights the most sought after and hard to find gifts alongside classic gifts suitable for nearly anyone.

Once you’ve viewed the catalog, you can purchase your gift here.

Star Island Holiday Gift Guide

Click on the cover below to see the Star Island Gift Guide.

StarIslandHolidayGiftGuideCover

Purchase a Star Island Gift Certificate

There’s no need to wrap this piece of magic for the holiday season. Star Island is bursting with so much energy we’re surprised we can even contain that energy within a gift certificate. Yet contain it we have.

Need help purchasing a gift certificate? Here are some pointers:

With a Computer

  • Open your preferred web browser (even if you’re still using a dial-up connection — we don’t judge)
  • Type the following link into the address bar: https://starisland.thankyou4caring.org/star-island-corporation-gift-certificates (or copy and paste the link depending on your computer skill level). Alternatively, you may also click here and skip the next step.
  • Click enter
  • When the page loads type in the number of gift certificates you would like in the boxes next to the value(s) you would like.
  • Click on the “continue” button.
  • Enter your information into the appropriate boxes.
  • Click on the “continue” button.
  • Enter your credit card infomration into the appropriate boxes.
  • Click on the “pay now” button.
  • Wait by your mailbox until the gift certificate arrives (make sure to bring some hot coco or mulled cider with you, though).

With a Homing Pigeon

  • Acquire a homing pigeon if you do not already have one and provide it with directions to 30 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
  • Write a note on parchment in your finest handwriting expressing your desire to procure a gift certificate. Please include the amount the gift certificate should be. Notes should be written in iambic pentameter.
  • The note should also include your credit card information including expiration date and the 3-digit number on the reverse of the card. You can alternatively write a phone number down for us to call you to receive the credit card information.
  • Place the note in the pigeon’s carrying case.
  • Set the pigeon on its course to the Star Island office.
  • Wait for the homing pigeon to return with the requested gift certificate.

Gift certifcates should be ordered by December 18 to be in the mail before Christmas.

On the Island

Starry Night 2019: a “How To” guide

Purchase your Starry Night tickets today

So you’ve heard that Star Island is holding an event called Starry Night on Saturday, November 23 at the Discover Portsmouth Center, but maybe you’re wondering, what exactly is Starry Night? Certainly you can look up at the sky during the evening and see your own starry night; why would you attend Star’s Starry Night? Here’s a brief description and suggested itinerary for how to spend your Starry Night with us.

Starry Night is, very simply, a fundraiser for Star Island. Through ticket sales and a silent auction, Star Island raises money to support our non-profit mission. Silent Auction? Yes, we have a number of outstanding offerings for Starry Night. Items include amazing pieces of art, gift certificates to local businesses and tickets to concerts and sporting events. You can even win yourself a night on the town with Star’s beloved CEO Joe Watts.

Suggested Itinerary

First thing: come to Portsmouth! Portsmouth will be buzzing this weekend, so thanks for choosing Starry Night. Now that you’re in Portsmouth:

Saturday, November 23

 

  • 9:00 AM – Enjoy breakfast at Colby’s Restaurant. There will probably be a line, but the food is delicious.
  • 10:30 AM – Take a drive along US RT 1-A through the town of Rye, NH and take a glimpse of the Isles of Shoals. Our winter caretaker is on-island tending to matters, so know that everything is safe. Stop at one of the turn-offs and take a picture. If you strike a pose just right, it could even look like you’re holding Star Island.
  • 11:30 AM – The Seacoast Science Center is open for visitors. Stop by and play in the touch tank to learn more about the Gulf of Maine — just as if you were visiting our Rutledge Marine Lab during the summer.
  • 1:00 PM – There are so many places to eat in Portsmouth you may want to explore a few. Then you’ll know a great place or two to return to before or after your summer 2020 Star Island visit.
  • 2:30 PM – Stroll the streets of Portsmouth. From independent booksellers to locally owned galleries, Portsmouth has a number of interesting and unique shops to pique your interest. And if you’re in need of something sweet, we suggest a stroll down the far end of State Street to visit either our favorite chocolate shop or ice cream parlor.
  • 5:00 PM – Stroll into Starry Night and schmooze, eat and drink while perusing the auction. You’ll be entertained by the music of local musician Seth Gooby. Eat some delicious food provided by our friends at the Kitchen. Peter Paul is donating wine for the event, and Chapel and Main is donating the beer.
  • 5:30 PM – Enjoy a brief fascinating talk by Eric Masterson about his adventures following the migration of the Broad-winged Hawk by bicycle to South America.
  • 6:00 PM – Continue to mingle, eat, drink and bid. The auction closes at 7!
  • 7:00 PM – Starry Night concludes until next year and you’re free to gallivant around Portsmouth. Go grab some dinner!

 

 

Thank you for spending the day with us!

Purchase your Starry Night tickets today

 

Thanks to our event sponsors!

Five Maples Development Communications

On the Island

7th Annual Veterans Raffle

Enter the Raffle!

We are inviting US military veterans to enter the 7th annual raffle for a chance to win a free Star Island getaway during the summer of 2020. The winning veteran is invited to bring along his or her family for the week-long stay. The raffle winner, along with members of his or her household, receives a free seven-night stay on Star Island during the summer of 2020. Boat transportation, meals, lodging, and tipping are all included. There is no charge to enter the raffle for valid US military veterans. The raffle opens on Veterans Day, Monday Nov. 11, 2019. 

“We see this raffle as a way to show our appreciation to those who have sacrificed so much to serve our country,” said Joe Watts, Star Island’s CEO. “Offering a wonderful respite on our unique island off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine is a way to say thank you. We also feel that it’s important to include the winning veteran’s immediate family.  A service member’s relatives feel the impact of duty and sacrifice heavily – we want to make sure our gratitude extends to them as well.” 

Last year’s winner was Pennsylvania veteran Lavonne Black, who spent eight years in the Army as a German linguist. She heard about the raffle from a friend who had spent time on Star Island as a child. Says Black, “I live in Pennsylvania with my husband of 29 years and have two grown children. I work at a factory for a major corporation and my husband is a nurse for the VA. My daughter and I were lucky enough to spend a week on Star Island last summer after winning the raffle. Since we are landlubbers, it was a brand new experience for us. We were enthralled with all the lighthouses and the history of the island. We loved being so close to nature in a non-commercial environment.  We were served three meals a day and my daughter said she would come back for the food alone! The people on the island were very friendly and accepting. It is now one of my favorite places, too.”

Enter the Raffle!

On the Island

Our 2019 Starry Night Theme Speaker – Eric Masterson

Register For Starry Night Here

We are pleased to announce Eric Masterson as our theme speaker, talking about “the one bird you won’t see on Star Island”.

Of more than 400 species of birds recorded in New Hampshire, 258 have been sighted from Star Island. That a 46-acre island boasts such a record is testament to the marvel of migration – Star, and other islands in the Gulf of Maine are migrant traps. And yet the Broad-winged Hawk, one of New Hampshire’s best known migrants, is almost unknown on Star Island. Despite a journey that spans two continents and delivers birds to winter quarters deep into South America, the seven mile journey to Star Island is a bridge too far. Eric will talk about their epic voyage through the perspective that he gained cycling a bicycle to the Panama Canal in 2016, following in the wake of several satellite-tagged birds, and his future plans involving a hang glider.

Eric Masterson studied zoology at University College Dublin before moving to the US in 1999. He works for the Harris Center in Hancock NH, where he manages the organization’s 23,000 acres of conservation land.

He is the author of Birdwatching in New Hampshire, a best-selling guide to birding in the Granite State, and is working on a second book about bird migration, as told through the journey of the Broad-winged Hawk.

Eric is a regular guest on New Hampshire Public Radio, serves on the New Hampshire Rare Bird Committee and is a seasonal editor for the quarterly journal New Hampshire Bird Records. He runs the spring and fall birding conferences to Star Island.

Please join us on Saturday, November 23 for another exciting gathering at this year’s Starry Night, Star Island’s annual fall fundraiser! 

Food & Drink – Live Music – Silent Auction