In song, sermon and photos, Union Chapel celebrated the life of Rev. Calvin O. Butts 3rd, longtime senior pastor of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. Pastor Butts had spoken in the chapel for some 10 years, with his flock coming from New York to join other Island residents to hear him speak about his faith in God and his mandate to push for social and economic equity in America.

Last Sunday, trustee and deacon board leadership from his church attended to listen to Rev. Dr. D. Darrell Griffin give the sermon. Outstanding music was curated by Bill Peek, played and sung by renowned organist Alcee Chriss 3rd and the Union Chapel choir.

Professor Henry Louis (Skip) Gates Jr. brought his widely-acclaimed public television series Finding Your Roots to a packed house at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center last week. In an extraordinary presentation dissecting the genealogical backgrounds of scholar and political activist Angela Davis and the honorable Jeh Charles Johnson — former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama administration — Mr. Gates used all of his research tools to uncover stunning details of their family histories.

In the case of Angela Davis, he connected the dots to share with her that she was related to William Brewster who came to America on the Mayflower in 1620. Mr. Johnson’s bloodline went back to his fourth great-grandfather Aaron Clore, who had 10 children by Eliza Clore, one of his slaves. After the Civil War Aaron left his wife and their two children and moved in with Eliza. After his death he gifted property and money to Eliza and their children.

Funding for much of the production of this series is provided by individual contributors to the Gates-established Inkwell Society. Prof. Gates named his fundraising vehicle after “my favorite place on the Vineyard.”

Longtime Oak Bluffs resident Walter Lowe from Vineyard avenue was celebrated on August 24 at Union Chapel by many friends from New York, New Jersey, Boston and the Island. Hon. Ewart Brown, the former premier of Bermuda, shared with the crowd how Walter and his father enjoyed the nightclubs and social scene there. Dear friends Michelle Stent, David Edmonds and Nola Whiteman also spoke at the services.

David Critchlow of the Brooklyn chapter of the National Association of Guardsmen spoke about Walter’s longtime membership and extensive travel while in the organization. Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes Jr., senior minister emeritus of Riverside Church in New York City, gave the eulogy. The music was provided by Geoffrey Dana Hicks mending the service by singing Goin Up Yonder.

Kudos to Toni Fay and Stephen Johnson, executor of Walter’s estate, for organizing a wonderful tribute to the life and legacy of Walter Edison Lowe.

Congratulations to the leadership of the East Chop Tennis Club for a very successful and busy season. The last week of round robins, clinics and private lessons is coming up. The Lanterns and Libations End of Summer Celebration takes place Saturday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. The clubhouse and pro shop close on Monday, Sept. 4. All the best for the winter. See you all in 2024.

Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to thank the hundreds of people who provide services to all of us in the restaurants, hotels and retail stores over the summer months. We should appreciate those who provide landscaping, stone work, construction work, hospital and emergency services so that we might have a wonderful summer experience. Without the labor of the service industry — whose workers are often plagued by expensive housing, high food costs and more challenges — so many of our summer enjoyments would not be possible. Thank them this weekend and if you can, give them a token of appreciation.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as time is fleeting. Randall Edward Taylor, rest in peace.