Keisha Lance Bottoms — White House senior advisor and former mayor of Atlanta — used scripture, life experiences, poetry and her career as a public official to uplift and inspire a full sanctuary at Union Chapel this past Sunday. Her very first introduction to the Vineyard was from reading The Wedding written by Island icon Dorothy West.

Using the poem We Wear The Mask by legendary poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Mayor Bottoms spent considerable time defining her sermon titled The Imposter Syndrome, which she has battled throughout her life. Mr. Dunbar pens:

“We wear the mask that grins and lies

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes

This debt we pay to human guile

With torn and bleeding hearts we smile

And mouth with myriad subtleties.”

Bottoms explained that she has doubted her own success and capabilities in spite of a stellar track record and her own performance. Am I good enough? Should I really be here? Is this my time?

The mask hides these insecurities and self doubts. She urges us all to take off the mask and believe in our strengths, rely on family, faith and seize the times.

Her message and the service was punctuated with America the Beautiful, For the Healing of the Nations, My Country ‘Tis of Thee and other songs, all displaying a fervent tribute to Independence Day, veterans and patriotism. Soloist Laura Ramos was joined by Martha Hudson, David Behnke and Brad Austin who sang a stirring rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing. All were under the masterful direction of Bill Peek Jr., organist and director of music at Union Chapel.

Union Chapel president Rev. Dr. Aliya Browne reminded all present that next Sunday’s service featuring Sen. Raphael Warnock will be held at the Tabernacle, not Union Chapel. The service is sponsored by First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, Union Chapel and the Tabernacle.

All three churches are also joining forces to organize a Day of Service working at the Island Food Pantry on July 23 and August 6. The Free Noon Concert Series at Union Chapel began on July 6. Free and all ages are welcome! Rev. Warnock will also share readings over the weekend from his newly minted book A Way Out of No Way.

Family and friends gathered on July 4 to pay tribute to the life of Matthew Goode, longtime resident of Oak Bluffs and Roxbury. There was testimony from Judge Ed Redd and Caroline Hunter spoke on behalf of the Polar Bears. In addition to being a longtime member Matt did the legal legwork to trademark the Polar Bear name so that the Oak Bluffs organization could own the rights to it. Others spoke of Matt’s professional assistance as a real estate broker working on the sale of the condo units in the Seaview residences across from Inkwell Beach. Family, community and friendships characterized the life of one of the most well-liked and respected members of the Highlands. He will be missed!

The East Chop Tennis Club is in full swing with a range of club tournaments, Round Robins, the very popular Breakfast at Wimbledon, and more. Lessons with the pros are open to the public.

On July 3 and 4, Inkwell Beach was full of a bevy of young adults having the best of fun playing cards, enjoying music, catching up with classmates and talking Greek talk. The Kappa red was dominant as they clearly had the “yard“ this weekend. The good times stretched all the way from the jetty up to the Steamship dock.

Oak Bluffs has clearly transitioned from the Age of Brooke to the Age of Obama. This bodes well for the balance of the summer and generations to come.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting!