Posted January 12, 2006

By Jacqueline Sexton - 508-645-2895 -

There is no January thaw this year. One of the rhododendron bushes is in fact trying, again, to bloom, and we're told to expect rain or perhaps little snow flurries and warmer weather later in the week. Which sounds confusing. January seems, rather, to be an interlude, a moment of tranquility in which to make plans/resolutions - to travel, to plant something different in the spring, to paint the big picture, or to write it. It's peaceful.

Chilmark church members voted 27 to 6 on Saturday to approve a motion by the United Methodist Church steering committee to adopt a cooperative ministry for all four Island Methodist churches.

According to the plan, two ministers will lead Sunday services on rotation among all the churches; parishioners will be free to attend services at whichever church they prefer. There are no plans to close any church, and Sunday worship services will continue as usual.

The steering committee has been negotiating the change in direction for more than a year, holding open hearings and soliciting ideas and comments from members of all four churches. The process involved discussions of such issues as staff/pastor relations, pastor compensation, timing of worship services, cooperative church profile, and other financial matters. Drafts of the plan have been mailed to members of all four Methodist churches. As one member of the steering committee pointed out, the vote "will determine the direction of United Methodism on Martha's Vineyard for a long time."

Nancy Aronie, whose "Writing from the Heart" workshops attract writers from both on- and off-Island to her Chilmark studio, has announced that she will be conducting only one winter workshop this year, on January 23, 24, 25 and 26, 7 to 10 pm. Explaining that the workshop is about process, not product, she asks that interested writers or would-be writers call her with questions or to register at 508-645-9085,

Josh and Richard Gamson-Knight have announced the birth of their daughter, Reba Sadie, at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital on Jan. 5. Grandparents Zee and Bill Gamson and Betty Isbell were present at her birth.

And now for Ian Bardwell's word, "lazy jacks," from the current issue of the school's Chilmark Times, that stumped everyone he asked at the school. No, it's not Galen Mayhew's guess, "A lazy person who eats potatoes on a couch," nor Kathy's "Jackie's taking a nap." Ian's answer is, "lines used to gather sails while raising or lowering." As I reported last week, there were numerous references to the 4/5's Shenandoah cruise in this issue of the Times.