Around the Island

Union Chapel celebrates Father’s Day and honors those who have been lost

Celebrate Father’s Day and the beginning of the summer season and join us for Homecoming Sunday at Union Chapel in the Grove on June 20 at 10:30 a.m. We will honor members of Shelter Island Heights who passed away last year.

Homecoming Sunday is a tradition at the historic Chapel, typically celebrated on Father’s Day. Last year, due to the pandemic, it was postponed to August. This year, the interfaith worship service has returned to its rightful place, though with a twist. This service, as well as the June 27 Children’s Service with Bill Gordh, will take place in our leafy grove. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, it will move indoors.

Approximately 10 years ago, the Homecoming Service was expanded to include the annual celebration of the founding of Shelter Island Heights and the Chapel in 1872, and to remember Heights residents and North Ferry employees who passed away since last August. Both Union Chapel and Shelter Island Heights celebrate their 150th anniversary next year.

Becky Northy, vice-president of the Shelter Island Heights Property Owners Corporation, will read the names as the Chapel’s antique bell tolls. We remember: Wade Badger and Myra Nissen.

Rabbi Dan Geffen of Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor is the guest preacher. His sermon is titled, “What Fatherhood Taught Me About the Fifth Commandment.” Rabbi Geffen is the father of two: a daughter, Eva and a son, Emet, born last December.

Our guest musicians for Homecoming Sunday are organist Joan Osborne, and William Packard, performing Baroque music on flute.

Rabbi Geffen was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in May 2014 and became the rabbi of Temple Adas Israel in 2019. He holds Master’s degrees in Hebrew Literature and Jewish Education, and earned an undergraduate degree in history. He was born and raised in New York City, where he attended the AJ Heschel School and the Fieldston School.

Before assuming his position at Temple Adas Israel, Rabbi Geffen served as the Rabbinic Intern for Woodlands Community Temple in White Plains and Jewish Home Lifecare of Manhattan. He lives in Sag Harbor with his wife Lu (TAI Director of Community Engagement), their daughter, son, and dog, Stuart.

As we emerge from the pandemic, Rabbi Geffen spoke about what he’s learned: “I think one of the clear lessons of the pandemic is how much we all need each other,” he said. “Not to say that we didn’t know that before, but perhaps the theory was never tested quite as it has been over the last year. In our Temple community, I was truly amazed at how quickly our leadership and members asked, ‘How can we help?’ And really meaning it.

“While these acts of goodness, on their own, could not solve the horrors and sadness and loss, they did provide hope and a sign that our common humanity shines brightest in the darkness. My heart will forever break at the thought of how many and how much was lost because of the pandemic, but this time did show me a glimpse of what is possible when we realize how connected we are. I only hope and pray we remember the lessons learned.”

Join us for interdenominational worship in the Grove on June 20 at 10:30 a.m. Please bring a chair, though we will also have chairs available.

Looking ahead: Children’s Sunday, June 27, with Bill Gordh, storyteller, songwriter and banjo player. This outdoor service is for the young and the young at heart. Please join us, with or without children.