Workshops, Ministers, Activities And Speakers

The following is a list of people who have offered to be programmatic resources for conferences on Star. Feel free to reach out to them directly if you are interested in bringing them to your conference. If you have a name you would recommend adding to this list, please email Justina Maji,

Speakers & Presenters Ministers Workshops & ActivitiesSocial Justice Speakers

Speakers and Presenters

Ann Beattie

Ann is an educator with a fascination for the Isles of Shoals and its rich history. She combs through historical records, salt cod recipes, and journals of Shoalers in an effort to capture and revive the unique stories that bring Shoals history to life. Ann is a former president of the Isles of Shoals Historical and Research Association and has served as a Board member of the Portsmouth Athenaeum. She leads tours of the Shoals and hosts several week-long history programs on Star Island. Ann always has an intriguing tale to tell about a place so magical it will steal your heart.

Jim Curtis, PHD

Jim Curtis, PHD

Jim Curtis offers a number of presentations on various topics. He is most interested in offering a five-part series on Russian history. Other presentations he has prepared include early to modern European history, Chinese history, rock ‘n roll, and digital photography.

Jackson Gillman

Jackson Gillman has been performing for over forty years with an enormous repertoire of spiritual, nature-related songs and stories. While themes vary, his participatory programs are all highly visual, energetic and interactive.

M.E. Kemp

M.E. Kemp

M.E. Kemp offers either a five day workshop or a one-day a.m.-p.m. workshop on mystery writing from creating a detective to villain to synopsis of plot. Participants are actively involved in this workshop. I have taught this workshop at the Racquet Lake Women’s Writers Retreat for the past two summers and done one day workshops for libraries and for the Romance Writers of America.

Jim Scott

Jim Scott

Over the past 27 years Jim Scott has visited more than 500 UU Churches across the US, Canada and UK, leading services, concerts, and workshops. Jim’s hymn “Gather the Spirit” has become one of the most loved hymns across the denomination.


Rev. Susan Chorley

Minister at First Parish of Norwell, before which she focused primarily on issues related to domestic violence as well as restorative and reproductive justice, including serving for 13 years with the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry in Roxbury, MA, as well as congregations in Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA and Durham, NC. Rev. Chorley cofounded both the Massachusetts Restorative Justice Collaborative and Exhale, a national post-abortion counseling talk and textline, as well as personally founding “Partners in Faith,” a roundtable for those engaged in faith-based organizing around intimate partner violence.

Rev. Peggy Clarke

Rev. Peggy Clarke

Minister at First Unitarian Society of Westchester. Rev. Clarke is the co-founder of InterGenerate, a local non-profit dedicated to food justice and the encouragement of local resourcing. Peggy is currently a member of the Board of the Westchester Anti-Racism Alliance and is a GreenFaith Fellow. Having served on the Ethical Eating Core Team that wrote the Unitarian Universalist Statement of Conscience on Ethical Eating which passed with a strong majority during General Assembly, 2011, she currently chairs PACE (the President’s Advisory Committee for Ethical Eating), working to implement our stated values. In addition, Rev. Clarke is the Social Justice Consultant for the NY Metro and Saint Lawrence Districts.

Rev. Jason Donnelly

Rev. Jason Donnelly

Minister at Roslindale Community Church. Pastor Jason graduated from Andover Newton Theological School in 2002, earned his Ph.D. in Theology from Boston College in 2009 and was ordained here at Roslindale Congregational Church, UCC in 2013. Jason is an active theologian and teacher in the United Church of Christ, a part-time professor, and everyday dad who has discovered his love of pastoral ministry.

Rev. Susan J. Foster

Rev. Susan J. Foster

Pastor at East Woodstock Congregational Church, UCC. Her particular areas of interest include helping others explore their personal relationship with God, approaching God through many forms of prayer, worshiping God through music, and interfaith dialogue.

Rev. Darcey Laine

Rev. Darcey Laine

UU Church of Athens and Sheshequin

Workshops and Activities

Ted Blank

Ted Blank


In keeping with this happy event and to honor the long tradition of astronomical observing on Star Island, local amateur astronomer Ted Blank is offering an educational presentation entitled “Welcome Home – An Introduction to Your Universe” which you may choose to incorporate into an evening portion of your conference program. This presentation has received very positive feedback from the many libraries and school groups around the Seacoast where it has been shown. The program is offered without charge except for the cost of ferry transportation and a room overnight. The presentation consists of a 60-90 minute slide presentation on topics including “The Scale of the Universe”, “The Tools of an Amateur Astronomer” and “How You Can Get Started Observing”. Attendees will be given an opportunity make their own planisphere (star map) to use outdoors. One or more telescopes and/or binoculars will be set up outside for viewing for the remainder of the evening after the presentation. Attendees who have binoculars or portable telescopes are encouraged to bring them along. Red cellophane will be provided to cover attendee’s flashlights to avoid impacting night-adapted vision.

John S. Gianforte

Astronomy |

By night, John is an active Astronomer and by day, he is the Director of the University of New Hampshire Observatory and an Astronomy Instructor for the University System of New Hampshire. John teaches Astronomy and Experimental Physics for the Physics Department at the University of New Hampshire, Granite State College and for the Global Student Success Program (Navitas at UNH). His main astronomical research interests are: observing transits of extrasolar planets and studying cataclysmic variable stars (CVs). John also has “appeared” on New Hampshire Public Radio’s (NHPR) Exchange, a live, morning talk show as well as on New Hampshire Public Television’s (NHPTV) NH Outlook, NH Skies and Windows To the Wild. John has published more than 250 articles and astronomical images in magazines, newspapers, and scientific websites. He is also the Co-founder of the Astronomical Society of Northern New England (ASNNE) which he helped form in 1983.
John offers a variety of astronomy and space science presentations that have inspired hundreds of interested students and members of the community. A few of John’s most popular talks are: Is Astronomy Really Relevant to Our Lives, The Search for Life in the Universe, Journey through the Solar System and beyond, and Observing Transits of Extrasolar Planets. John’s talks are geared for those who may be interested in astronomy and space exploration, but no science background is necessary. John’s programs include evening stargazing with telescopes and binoculars with an emphasis on how to observe and find your way around the sky all by yourself.


Hunt and Allison Smith

Traditional American music and dance, music history, songs and stories
(603) 431-0260

Hunt and Allison Smith are multi-talented musicians. Fiddle, guitar, mandolin, accordion, concertina, songs, stories, dances, and unexpected participatory musical adventures are just part of our programming. Our combined experiences in teaching and performing, together with their love of bringing tradition to life, create joyful and satisfying presentations. We can develop programs that are especially suited to your conference theme.Dances range from simple circle and long dances to squares, contras, English country dance and historic American dances. All are taught, and are for all levels of experience.

In addition, Allison is a song leader of many years’ experience, and Hunt is a noted maritime artist and teacher of watercolor painting.

Blue Ocean Society

Blue Ocean Society

Island Cleanups
(603) 431-0260

Blue Ocean Society has been conducting conferee cleanups on Star since 2013. They partner with NH Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension on the Marine Debris to Energy Project – an effort to track and clean up marine debris on land and offshore. Litter can be harmful to wildlife and humans, and removing it from the island will make the island a prettier place and keep the litter from washing out to sea. The project is suitable for all ages. Would you like to do a cleanup as part of your conference? Blue Ocean Society will provide all supplies, and can also provide an engaging presentation/slide show about Gulf of Maine marine life and marine debris before, after, or even instead of a cleanup. All they would need is an hour or two of your time, although this could also be extended into a longer project if you wish.

Valerie Fagin

Valerie Fagin

Movement Workshops

Valerie Fagin provides a number of movement based workshops including restorative yoga and creative movement. She is a certified teacher of Kirpalu Restorative Yoga and is active in her local UU church. Valerie also conducts couple’s retreats with her husband Dr. Gary Fagin.

Jacqueline and Dudley Laufman

Jacqueline and Dudley Laufman

Contradancing and Square Dancing

Musicians and callers for virginia reels, circle dances, square and contre dances, and dances from the colonial period to the present. Everyone is able to join in the dances; no experience needed. Have played and called for many Star Island conferences over the years.

Noreen Owens, M. Ed.

Noreen Owens, M. Ed.

Somatics Workshops

Experiential workshops in Somatics – an alternative self-treatment method that reduces chronic stress, anxiety, stiffness and pain. Participants learn how to relax tight back, neck, and shoulders muscles; improve breathing, balance and posture. Accessible and beneficial to all ages and fitness levels. Workshops can be geared towards specific needs (i.e. Low back pain, shallow breathing, imbalance, aging posture, stress, anxiety, carpal tunnel…)

Nanette Tummers

Dr. Nanette Tummers

Yoga and Mindfulness

Registered yoga teacher with certification in Holistic Stress Management and in extensive
training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans,
Yoga and the 12 Step program, Koru Mindfulness for Emerging Adults.

Granite State

Peter Reynolds

Granite State Whale Watch

Go on a whale watch aboard the M/V Granite State – can hold up to 90 passengers

Madeline Gielow


JourneyDance is a conscious dance practice which leads participants on a journey through evocative music, expressive movement, ritual, play and affirmations. There are no rules, it is fun, uplifting, energizing and any body can do it.
An artist and expressive arts therapist I became a JourneyDance Guide to share with others this life affirming, transformative, and fun dance practice.
JourneyDance can be offered as a one-time special event during your retreat; as a bonding experience at the start, just for fun in the middle, or as a celebratory, and meaningful conclusion.

Seacoast Sailing

Dan Ramus

Offers charter sailing on 40 passenger boat. HQ’d out of NYC, but makes Portsmouth area trips.


Martha L. Spruce

Reiki Master Teacher

Katherine Minott

Workshops in creativity–expressed through the medium of collage or photography or 2D design (among other forms of visual art).

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