Around the Island

Children’s Service at Union Chapel

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTOS The interior of Shelter Island’s Union Chapel.
The interior of Shelter Island’s Union Chapel.

Union Chapel’s annual children’s service, “Colors of Kindness,” will take place at the historic chapel on Sunday, June 24 at 10:30 a.m. The service will be led by Bill Gordh, educator, master storyteller and banjoist.

Bill Gordh designed the service and will lead it for the third year. People of all ages are encouraged to attend with or without children and are encouraged to wear their favorite color. All are invited to a reception in the Grove following the service.

During the service, participants young and old will join together for stories, songs, poetry, scripture and prayer to experience and consider the power of kindness in our lives. Children will be actively involved in the program as readers and singers. A central belief guiding this service is that families singing and listening to stories together enrich each other’s understanding of the ideas and feelings shared.

Music will be performed by Bill, including many familiar audience favorites, and an original song written and composed specifically for this service called “Colors of Kindness.”

There is a substantial “fan club” on Shelter Island for Bill, with many having experienced his powerful storytelling and musicianship with their families during weekly chapel services at The Episcopal School in New York City. This has led him to being invited three years in a row to bring his substantial gifts to Shelter Island at the annual Union Chapel Children’s Service.

Bill is the Director of Expressive Arts at the Episcopal School in New York City. He is also director of the chapel and leads weekly gatherings attended by the children and their parents. Bill is also the author of “Building a Children’s Chapel: One Story at a Time,” (Church Publishing), a copy of which was given by the National Association of Episcopal Schools to each member of the school.

Bill has led classes at both General and Union Seminaries, and has appeared as keynote or featured speaker at numerous conferences. More than 50 stories told by Bill and his banjo can be found on He has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, at the Tribeca Film Festival Family Day, the Clearwater Festival, the Ford Amphitheater in Vail, Colorado, the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum in Houston, Texas, and for three years was a featured storyteller at the White House Easter Egg Roll.