Around the Island

Union Chapel to salute volunteers: Tribute to Ambulance Foundation

Union Chapel in the Grove will host its first annual Shelter Island Volunteer Sunday, honoring the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation on July 25 at 10:30 a.m. Jim Preston will speak on behalf of the Ambulance Corps. Fr. Charles McCarron of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church will preach about “No One Has Greater Love.” Guest musicians include Heather Reylek and Andy Norton.

Since volunteers are such an important part of our island, Union Chapel wanted to honor them with a special service. “The Chapel trustees recognize that volunteerism is critical to the uniqueness and well-being of the Island,” Chairman Jay Sterling said.

The three Island churches — St. Mary’s, Our Lady of the Isle and the Presbyterian Church — have outreach programs to support community groups. Union Chapel does as well, with a program funded through an endowment established in 1978 with the understanding that a portion will be used to support Island non-profit organizations.

The Chapel’s relationship with the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation is partially due to Ben and Betty Jones. Ben was a legendary EMT who spent every summer on the Island until his death in 2016. He faithfully attended Union Chapel and was frequently interrupted during worship services to take an ambulance call. Betty coordinated weddings for many years, and the Chapel’s donations to the Ambulance Foundation’s annual fund are in thanks for her tireless efforts. Their daughter, Susan, has taken up where her mother left off, guiding young couples in their marriages at the Chapel.

Jim Preston, chairman of the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation, will speak during the service. Raised on the North Fork, Jim ran a successful accounting practice before retiring. He is a sailor, a fleet captain of the Yacht Club, and before becoming a paramedic, he was an avid ski patroller.

Canon Charles McCarron — known as Fr. Charlie — was born and raised in the Bronx and ordained in 1986. His degrees include a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University, a Master of Divinity from Maryknoll School of Theology, and a Master’s from the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University. Following his graduation from the CUNY School of Law, he received a Master of Sacred Theology from the General Theological Seminary and completed the program at The Living School of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, N.M.

After working to help people with AIDS on Long Island and chairing a national AIDS conference, Canon McCarron created parish-based immigration services and is involved with local agricultural workers. Before coming to Shelter Island, he served as Executive Director of Episcopal Community Services Long Island for 10 years. During that time he also served as vicar of the churches of St. Lawrence of Canterbury in Dix Hills, Resurrection in Richmond Hill and Great Neck Episcopal Ministries.

As a member of the Anglican Third Order of the Society of St. Francis, he taught the friars at Little Portion Friary and conducted retreats in Franciscan Spirituality, methods of prayer and vestry retreats. He currently serves the Order as the Assistant Provincial of the 550-member American Province.

He loves walking, bike riding, visiting museums and spending time with friends and his two Yorkies, Bogart and Kate.

“Zoom.” That was Fr. Charlie’s quick answer as one of the “gifts” of the pandemic. Zoom is a platform that people have learned to love or hate since the pandemic made it a necessity. The Order’s Provincial Council, of which he is a member, used to hold one meeting annually. Members from all over the world traveled to one location. They now meet monthly on Zoom. “My Peconic Landing people,” he said, “who may not be able to attend Sunday service in person, can attend on Zoom and feel like they’re part of the congregation.” 

Guest musician Heather Reylek will sing and play guitar. She is a member of Island Folk, and is a local singer/songwriter with a traditional folk repertoire. Andy Norton will join her, playing an Octave mandolin. Andy is a Chicago resident who summers on the Island and is a member of “3rd Sunday String Band.” Both musicians have played at Union Chapel in previous summers.

Please join us at Union Chapel in the Grove on July 25 at 10:30 a.m. for Shelter Island Volunteer Sunday, honoring the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation.

Next week: Reverend Sam Clover from the Reformed Church of Bronxville will preach for Choir Sunday.