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Star Gathering SPOTLIGHT

Registration for 2017 Conferences is now open!
Plan your 2017 Star Island visit today.

Enjoy a Vacation that is special
Star Island conferences are an escape from the busy days we face the rest of the year. The family will enjoy the activities offered daily or just spending time rocking on the porch. Use the tabs about to Learn more about the Star Gathering Family Conferences and Laity Weekend.

StarGathering Newsletter

2017-Issue 1

Star Island is now hiring for 2017!
If you are interested in season work at Star Island as a Pelican or as a volunteer, get more information from the Star Island Corporation.







Mission  /  Star Gathering Conferences  /  History  /  Working on the Island  /  Organization  /  A Day on Star


Star Island United Church of Christ, Inc. offers a spiritual environment for individuals and families to gather in community through children, youth and adult programs, worship, arts and music, and recreation.  All are welcome.  (Adopted April 17, 2010)

Star Gathering Conferences - Family & Youth.

For over 40 years, people have been coming to attend UCC Star Gathering Conferences. The Family Conferences are open to all – singles with or without children, couples with or without children – with all ages invited and included! Each year there is a Guest Speaker and a Minister of the Week who provide leadership on a topic and during the morning chapel services. There is children’s programming for infants thru 8th grade in the mornings, with lots of activities available in the afternoons and evenings for all. Your time on Star Island can be as filled as you would like it to be or can be completely unscheduled.

The Youth Conferences run separate, but simultaneous to the family conferences, and are open to any youth entering 9th grade through the summer after high school graduation. There are decades-old traditions in all the conferences – candlelit chapel services, softball games, and more, but there are also new elements added each year.

History of Star Island

Star Island is one of nine islands located nearly ten miles southeast of the mouth of the Piscataqua River. Island life is typical to life on a boat, surrounded by the hushing seas and sweeping landscapes of the open ocean. The boundary line between Maine and New Hampshire passes through the islands and ledges so that five of the islands, Appledore, Cedar, Duck, Malaga, and Smuttynose, lie within the State of Maine while four of the islands, Lunging, Seavey, Star and White, lie within New Hampshire. Star Island is in the Town of Rye Historic District and on the National and State of New Hampshire Historic Registers. In 1614, the islands were named “Smyth’s Isles” after John Smith who mapped the seacoast, founded the islands and opened up New England to settlement. The islands are now called the Isles of Shoals, probably named for the “shoaling” or school of fish. The Isles quickly became the busiest commercial port on this side of the ocean and dominated the fish market for over one hundred years. The island is abundant with aquatic and terrestrial life and as recorded by the Cornell University Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore Island, the Shoals include 265 species of invertebrates, 139 species of algae, 49 species of fish and 145 species of birds. Nature is unavoidable on Star Island. Visitors enjoy the colorful vibrancy of morning sunrises, evening sunsets, floral abundances and rich historical buildings. East rock, at the far east corner of Star, is a common visiting place for spectacular views of the crashing waves and cornering islands and the surrounding ingneous rock formations. The Island is an absolute wonder of history for those interested. The small encompassing village is full of past day’s stories from hundreds of years. Vaughan cottage is a wealth of history, books, nooks and crannies for those ready to explore the mysteries of the island.

More about how the island works

     The Star Island Corporation employs a handful of year-round employees who work out of the main office in downtown Portsmouth, NH. The senior staff work tirelessly with conference leadership, dedicated volunteers, and the Board of Directors to ensure wonderful conferences and to maintain the historical, spiritual, and educational integrity of the island. To learn more about the senior staff, visit: http://www.starisland.org/about/staff/

Star Island also employs around 100 summer season employees, affectionately known as Pelicans, who do almost every job on island – maintenance, food service, housekeeping, and more. The Pelicans, generally college-aged young adults, are known for their love of the island, outstanding service and hard work, and commitment to serving the conferees. If you’re interested in being a Pelican or learning more, please visit: http://www.starisland.org/working/seasonal/


Star island United Church of Christ, Inc. is a New Hampshire nonprofit corporation qualified as an exempt organization under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We are managed by a board of directors who are elected at an annual meeting of members of the corporation in November each year. There are currently thirteen members on the board.

A Typical Day on Star.

Peacefully open your eyes to the natural sounds of the seagulls and the pleasant voices of the children who sing morning wake up on each floor of the oceanic hotel. Greet the day with morning coffee and breakfast in the beautiful historic dining hall. Socialize with friends, discuss the day's events, and sit on the porch engulfed by the smells of the sweet ocean air and the rising sun. Attend the first day's workshop, delving into today's important issues and explore different avenues of perspective. Enjoy lunch and an afternoon swim at the waterfront, row over to Smuttynose Island, the Island directly across from Star, or join in the island Lobstrathalon tradition. Watch the infamous Star Island Softball game between the youth and the adults, while rocking on the porch and devouring a delightful ice cream frappe from the Island snack bar. Close your eyes for a late afternoon nap before dinner, or maybe play a tennis match, take a walk or spend some time playing on the front lawn. After dinner, watch the gorgeous, deep red sunset, one that will leave you speechless. Evening chapel is always a soulful experience, in the Stone Chapel, built in 1800 on the highest point of the island. Candlelight chapel services are a cherished Star Island tradition. At the close of each day, chapel goers gather at the foot of the hill carrying only lanterns for light to illuminate the small chapel. Say goodnight to friends and family, rock on the porch, or appreciate the clear night sky full of stars. The day has left you feeling restful, and peacefully excited for tomorrow to begin.

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Copyright 2012 Star Island UCC