Chilmark: Neighborhood Convention, Kate Feiffer talk, and Beach Befriender kits

—MV Times

Human connection, a sense of belonging, and a community of support create resilience.

The Chilmark Community Church hosts the Neighborhood Convention on Tuesday, June 6, at 11 am. The guest presentation is “From Restriction to Empowerment,” an overview of laws empowering women even when restricting their rights. Deborah Medders, longtime member of the League of Women Voters, will speak. Bring your bag lunch. Desserts and beverages will be supplied.

The Martha’s Vineyard Neighborhood Convention was founded Nov. 13, 1894, as a “neighborly meeting,” in response to interdenominational hostilities. And 126 years later, this Island tradition of peacemaking continues to nurture care, connection, and collaboration among Islanders. The convention supports about 20 Island charities through voluntary donations collected at the close of each meeting. They meet in a different location on the first Tuesday of the month, between October and June, at 11 am. Hosts offer a short service and a program of interest followed by beverages and desserts. My grandmother, Mary Hotchkiss, attended, and at one, AA was introduced to the Island.

Marsha Winsryg invites us to the Aquinnah library on Saturday, June 3, at 2 pm. The talk is a slideshow of the evolution of her nonprofit, the African Artists Community Development Project, which began 24 years ago when she traveled with her daughter to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, where she had a transformational experience. All these years later they have grown into their ambitious name, and the latest project is a communal farm for families in southern Zambia who have children with disabilities.

Oh, how I wish my father was still alive, and we could dive into the expeditionary conversations Teju Cole always sparked between us. The kind of conversations where your understanding expands and deepens simultaneously, and there is no going back. No forgetting. No ignoring. I encourage you to read or listen to Cole’s article “Seeing Beyond the Beauty of Vermeer,” published online on May 25, and in Sunday’s N.Y. Times Magazine. If you don’t subscribe, a Chilmark library card gives you free access.

The Chilmark library will host a talk with Kate Feiffer: “The Lamb Cycle,” Wednesday, June 7, at 5 pm. Feiffer discusses the challenges and delights of illustrating “The Lamb Cycle: What the Great English Poets Would Have Written about Mary and Her Lamb (Had They Thought of It First),” by David R. Ewbank.

In “The Lamb Cycle,” Ewbank convincingly captures the imagination, heart, and style of the great English poets. D.H. Lawrence’s Mary longs for her lamb as any woman longing for her lover, whilst T.S. Eliot’s Mary is recollected by an old man looking back on his life. Alexander Pope writes “An Essay on Lambs,” and Tennyson’s lotus eaters become “The Clover Eater.” This is just the kind of brilliant, sophisticated, and funny work my father loved. I will soak up Kate’s words, and as I drive home, imagine the conversation we might have had.

Thanks to a welcome collaboration with Island libraries, Island DWPs, and the M.V. Refuse District, there is now a community of Beach BeFrienders dedicated to tending our beloved Island beaches. Tend a beach anytime and anywhere you can, with the official Beach BeFriender cleanup kits available at your local library. Disposal is free, at any Island transfer station!

We are encouraged to send photos of our finds to, or tag them on Instagram

May this week bring you at least some moments where you realize you are fully aware and present.

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Claire Ganz,