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Rev, Jill Vogt to speak at Union Chapel: Preacher returns to Island roots

Union Chapel in the Grove will host guest preacher Rev. Jill Vogt on Sunday, Aug. 15 at 10:30 a.m. Her sermon is titled “The Good Life.”  Guest musicians are The Cottage Trio. All are welcome to the interdenominational service.

Rev. Jill was raised in Longmeadow, Mass. and spent her summers growing up on Shelter Island at the family cottage on Summerfield Place, just up from the North Ferry. She is the daughter of the late Jackie and Fred Staples and the house, one of the original camp meeting houses, has been in her family for over 100 years.

Jill and her brother were avid sailors and spent much of their time on the water with the Junior Sailing Program. Because of her Shelter Island background and her sailing experience, she is regularly sought by the Yacht Club to speak at the Shelter Island Yacht Club Memorial Service at Union Chapel in July. Due to scheduling problems and the pandemic, she’s missed that service for the past couple of years. Chairman Jay Sterling said, “Jill truly has Shelter Island in her blood.”

Rev. Jill was raised a Congregationalist — now the United Church of Christ — where she was ordained. While she was going to seminary, she did an unpaid internship at Union Chapel. She has a B.A from Denison University, a Master’s of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Acadia Divinity School in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Her research included writing and sharing spiritual autobiographies to encourage people to talk about faith.

She also attended the Graduate School of Ecumenism at the Ecumenical Institute of Bosse in Geneva, Switzerland, where she met her husband, Dr. Peter Vogt. They serve as co-pastors of the Moravian Church in Herrnhut, Germany, birthplace of the Moravian Church. She is part of the pastoral care team at the Zinzendorf Moravian High School and represents the Moravian Church on the German Council of Churches.

When asked how her church survived the pandemic, Rev. Jill mentioned that they learned to be flexible, to think outside the box and come up with new ways to connect with each other and the community. For herself and her husband, she said, “We found the joy of hiking and discovered the beauty of our area through weekly hikes and mountain climbing.” The couple has two children, Anna and Christian.

The Moravian Church is one of the oldest Protestant churches in the world. It originated in ancient Bohemia and Moravia, which is the present-day Czech Republic. According to their website, even though the Moravians played an important role in colonial America, there are only about 60,000 members in the United States, much less than the rest of the world. Interestingly, Staten Island was settled by Moravians.

Members of the church place a strong focus on missionary work: “Moravians saw their distinct calling as bringing the good news of God’s infinite love to the poorest and most despised people of the world.” Music will be performed by Chapel Organist Linda Betjeman and The Cottage Trio. The trio consists of Anne-Marie Chubet on violin, Jeannie Woelker, cello, and James Chubet on keyboard. Next week: Poetry Sunday featuring the work of poet Amanda Gorman, read and discussed by Emma Martinez Majdisova, Shelter Island High School Class of 2021.