Around the Island

Union Chapel to host Family Service: All welcome on June 25

When you live on an island surrounded by water and wind, it becomes a part of your daily life. This inspired storyteller and songwriter Bill Gordh to choose his theme of “The Water of Life” for Sunday’s Family Service at Union Chapel in the Grove.

Bill and his banjo lend an air of whimsy and playfulness to this outdoor, inclusive service that features children reading parables from Ecuador and South Africa, proverbs from different cultures, a poem, songs and Bible readings. They hold candles and sing “This Little Light of Mine.” Grandparents will smile in recognition at the Scottish ballad, “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.”

Bill writes a song especially for the Union Chapel service and this year, it’s about water. As he was searching for a song about a spring, he was inspired to write the theme song, “Drink From the Spring,” that he said, “became a blessing and seemed perfect as the closing song.”

With all of the summer busyness and commitments — both fun and not always fun — we sometimes need to breathe deep and to drink from that spring. “What if we could just pause and drink from the loving cup of life every so often,” he asks. “What if this service could function as a pause to take a sip?”

About Bill Gordh

Bill Gordh has a BA in Philosophy from Duke University and an MFA in Theatre Directing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He is the director of Expressive Arts and director Of Chapel at the Episcopal School in New York City where he leads weekly gatherings attended by the children and their parents. He is the author of “Building a Children’s Chapel: One Story at a Time,” and “Making Room for Everyone: More Stories for Building a Children’s Chapel,” which includes past Union Chapel programs and the songs that were composed for the services.

He has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, at Tribeca Film Festival Family Day, Clearwater Festival, and for three years, was a featured storyteller at the White House Easter Egg Roll.

Everyone is welcome to the outdoor Family Service with Bill Gordh on Sunday, June 25 at 10:30 a.m. Bring a blanket or chair. Stars CAFÉ caters a reception after the service, which will move indoors in case of inclement weather.

Next week: Shelter Island Historical Society’s Executive Director Nanette Lawrenson will speak about their summer musical, “The Lords of Menantic.”

Visit for photos and more information.

Our commemorative book, “All Are Welcome: 150 years of Shelter Island’s Union Chapel in the Grove,” by Carrie Cooperider, is available at Finley’s Fiction.