Welcome to Star LRE Week!
This article in Yankee Magazine talked about what it is like to be an afternoon visitor to Star. The author reflects on the beauty of Star Island, the comfort of the dining hall, and the creative ways that the island has found to be self-sufficient. Her photos are lovely, but what was the most striking in the article was the final paragraph:
“I’ve found myself thinking about the simplistic beauty of the Star Island often in the weeks since, its pull going to work on me, urging me back for a longer stay, offering what so few collectively can — community, solitude, nature, mediation, nourishment, peace…and yes, the chance to see seagulls eating peanuts from the view of a comfy rocking chair.
Who could resist?”
One of the biggest questions that a person has when coming to a place like Star Island is “What do you do there?” With that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to bring you through:
A TYPICAL DAY AT LIFESPAN RELIGIOUS EDUCATION WEEK ON STAR ISLAND
On Star Island, your morning begins with the smell of fresh sea air and the sound of the gulls, or if you’re a sound sleeper, with the sweet “music” of the wake-up singers (conference participants who sing silly songs to wake all the rest of us). If you’re a swimmer, you might want to join the Polar Bears for a morning dip at 7:00 a.m. It’s so refreshing; participants are awarded a special certificate at the end of the week! Coffee, tea and hot chocolate are served on the porch at the Oceanic Hotel long before 8:00 a.m. breakfast. The rocking chairs are an early beckon to quietly watch the day begin. A walk around the island might be your preference, or yoga, which is led by conference participants on the porch — whatever feels right.
You might attend morning theme talk and there also may be a separate service for youth. Usually by 9:00 programming for children and youth get underway so that parents have time to get them settled before the theme speaker begins for adults in Elliott, the large meeting room just off the porch or in one of the stone cottages. A stimulating hour with the theme speaker leads to morning workshops. Locations for the various offerings are posted in the hotel lobby so that you can figure out where to go.
The big bell on Oceanic’s porch rings at 12:30 bringing everyone to the dining room. The mid-day meal, besides giving us energy for the afternoon, is a chance to re-connect with family and friends and plan your afternoon. The afternoon activities may include more workshops or activities like softball games, tennis, basketball, art barn, swimming, island wandering, porch chats, or a good long nap.
Social time is at 5:00 and weather-permitting, is held outside so you can watch the sun continue its summer stretch across the ocean. Look west to the mainland, or east to the horizon — it’s all stunning in its simplicity and charm.
Dinner at 6:00 is often followed by optional activities like singing and bonfire, Dance, Musicale, Talent Show, and Pel Show. (“Pel” is short for “Pelican.” They’re the amazing folks who keep the island running, and help take care of our needs while we’re on island.) Maybe, though, you’re just as happy with a lime-rickey or ice cream cone from the snack bar and a rocker on the porch.
The day comes to a close with evening chapel services. Walking in silence up the path to the chapel carrying your lantern is really one of the most special, spiritual moments on Star. If you still have energy at 11 p.m. and beyond, there are late-night social gatherings for grown-ups and raucous games for the young at heart.
A conference week on Star Island has something for everyone, family time, time to be alone, time to build your artistic skills, time to reflect and recharge, and time to relax and have fun. Most of all, it is a chance to be a part of an extraordinary, warm and nurturing community.