Chilmark: Sam Carroll, Halloween activities, Befriending Our Grief, and wellness retreat

—MV Times

Our lives can be lived in ways where we are blessings to one another. Because it was raining, the community gathered in the Chilmark Church to honor Sam Carroll. Pastor John Wesley Taylor from the United Methodist Church in Osterville opened with a warm remembrance of meeting Sam and his mother at Bette’s Sunday dinners at their homestead overlooking Menemsha Harbor. There was always enough food, and room for one more. Wesley came to Chilmark as a student pastor in 1986, and after graduation stayed as a full pastor from 1990 to 1992.

Sam deeply touched many. It was very moving to see the Brotherhood of the Oriental–Martha’s Vineyard Masonic Lodge offer their loving service, followed by other friends and family. Clearly Sam had deep bonds.

Wesley noted Chilmarkers aren’t ones to rush toward a microphone, but quietly honor their deep connections.

As the service ended, we were encouraged to shake hands and wish peace to those seated nearby. It was a pleasure to connect with the quiet and elegant James Athearn, who as he left mentioned he’d attended my parents’ wedding as a young child. I have admired James and his family from afar most of my life, and his memory felt like a stitch connecting me to the community my ancestors knew and the one we continue to build. Wesley encouraged us to remember that we are blessed.

I’m deep-diving into the lives of dressmakers and fashionistas who lived in Boston between 1865 and 1930. Reading newspapers, diaries, and autobiographies, and combing through photographs and collections of paper dolls, I keep my eye out for references to Chilmark. Last week I stumbled across this in the Jan 10, 1874, Boston Globe: The vital statistics of Chilmark, with a population of only 700, show more than 20 persons between 80 and 100 years old.

Jane Slater responded, “It is the good Chilmark air that keeps us going.”

There will be a Halloween Spectacular! On Oct. 28th, at 7 pm at the Milokan Cultural Center, 94 North Road in Chilmark. Haitian recording artist Cesar Jean-Rony, formerly with RAM; Dan Butterworth, a master puppeteer; the Mighty Mighty Sliptime Band, and Rick Bausman, will appear. Admission is $15, or $50 cap for a family.

Native Earth Teaching Farm is offering a community ceremony to honor our losses: “Befriending Our Grief” will take place at Milokan Cultural Center, 94 North Road in Chilmark, on Saturday, Nov. 4, from noon to 5 pm.

Halloween trick-or-treating is one of my favorite off-season Chilmark community activities. Sunday, Oct. 29, after the 9 am service at Chilmark Community Church, at 10:15 am, we will carve pumpkins. All are invited to bring their own, an extra for the church if you can, and help the church with its own. Come draw or carve jack-o’-lanterns. The church will have some supplies, and extra pumpkins, if you forget.

The jack-o’-lanterns will welcome trick-or-treaters on Halloween. I am thinking about costumes. My mini poodle and I and a friend or two will be setting up next to the stone wall across the street from Chilmark Church. Katie Carroll is a true mensch, putting together a trick-or-treating map, and reminding us, “If you’re a little too far off the beaten path but would still like to dish out candy, please consider setting up a ‘trunk or treat’ station in Menemsha! The Chilmark Fire Department will be hosting its annual Halloween party from 5 to 5:45ish at the Crossroad Station, so one would assume you’d see visitors around this time.”

Since Halloween is on a Tuesday, there is also the Chilmark Church’s pizza night, starting at 6 pm.

Despite clouds and wind, the rain held off for the 33rd Martha’s Vineyard CROP Hunger Walk. Over 100 hunger fighters from all over the Island, more than a few with their dogs, walked the three-mile round-trip from St Augustine’s Church to the drawbridge and back. I am proud that our Chilmark Church team, captained by Emily Broderick, exceeded our goal of $1,500 by raising $2,400. Well done to our team walkers, volunteers, and fundraisers: Hal and Ann Noyes, Shirley Kennedy, Kathie Carroll, David and Mary Lundgren, the Rev. Charlotte Wright, Sarah and Andy Carr, Marie Wise, and Pam and Clark Goff. Our lead fundraiser, Shirley Kennedy, is an inspiring nonagenarian who remembers babysitting my mother. We started early, and walked at a brisk pace. It was a privilege to walk with Shirley, who never lost her breath and remarked as we neared the end, “While I was training for this, I found the more I walked, the more energy I had.” $25,000 has been raised toward the Island-wide goal of $30,000, and donation checks to support our team can still be made out to Church World Services (CWS) and dropped off or mailed to Chilmark Church, 9 Menemsha Crossroad, Chilmark, MA 02535.

Rachel Elion Baird, RYT, CH, is offering a weekend “Winter 2023 Women’s Wellness Retreat,” from 5 pm Friday, Nov. 3, to 9 pm Sunday, Nov. 5. The cost is $375. (Note, lodging is not included.) The retreat is designed to help harmonize and align your body, mind, and spirit for the coming months of winter, and includes three balanced, light, vegan-cleanse-program meals a day. Peaceful, silent walks through the forest, guided journeys, a beach fire circle, Reiki, Flower Essence Therapy, group meditations, self-care suggestions, nutritional consults, Yoga, Kirtan, and other events. For the full schedule, go to, scroll down the main page, and fill out the contact form. Register at Contact 802-989-9992 for more information.

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