The Isles of Shoals Association has been part of Star Island since Thomas Elliot left the Isles in 1896, after negotiating to fill all the rooms for a religious retreat in the 1897 season. Thus began the Summer Meetings Association (SMA), now the Isles of Shoals Association, (Unitarian Universalist), Inc.
Since its inception in 1896 the ISA(UU) has maintained its focus on the strength and well begin of the conferences and the experience of conferees at the Isles of Shoals. For the first half-century the ISA(UU) served as the administrative and executive arm of the Shoals endeavor, in the role of conference committee for all the Unitarian conferences. The ISA(UU) set the summer calendar, organized both program and registration for the conferences, arranged for publicity and insurance, and raised funds to promote The Shoals Movement which was believed to be significant within the larger Unitarian movement.
Articles of association were filed in Massachusetts in 1896 and the organization was fully incorporated 100 years later. We are currently incorporated in the state of New Hampshire as the ISA, (UU), Inc. In 1915, when Appledore House had burned and the mortgage to Star Island was to be foreclosed, associations were prohibited by law from holding property. The ISA(UU) partnered with its Congregational constituent organization to create The Star Island Congregation "to hold and maintain Star Island for religious, educational and kindred purposes." The ISA(UU) funded the purchase. Members of the boards of both associations served on the Star Island Corporation Board and still do.
Professional hotel management was secured by the new SIC which provided seasonal services from 1916 until the mid 1940s. The M/V Sightseer was purchased and captains' services arranged for the summer seasons. The ISA(UU) continued to organize, promote, and support the Unitarian summer conferences and advocate master planning.
World War II was a critical event at the Shoals which were closed but he federal government for five years. During that time many key Shoals leaders died and the island buildings fell into disrepair. In the post-war years the ISA(UU) continued to sponsor several conferences and fund the rebuilding efforts known as New Gosport as well as publication of Ten Miles Out. At the same time, the SIC too over year-round administration of the conference center with the hiring of Lyman Rutledge as Executive Director (1946 - 1941) succeeded by Mrs. Theo Nash as Executive Secretary (1952 - 1973).
The Gift Shop opened in 1968, underwritten then, as it is now, by the ISA(UU). The Gift Shop has provided an unrestricted contribution to the SIC coffers every year since, in an amount that averages 66% of shop proceeds and a revenue for volunteer participation. The ISA(UU) has continued to provide seed money grants as new conferences developed in the 1970s to fill a variety of interests and available space during the summer. More recently the ISA(UU) funded the initial meetings that have resulted in the Council of Conferences. The ISA(UU) has since begun managing the Lobby and Book Stores and calling the parcel the Shops on Star.
Declining to fund 'nuts and bolts' which is believed to be the function of the SIC, the ISA(UU) has chosen, often at the request or suggestion of the Island Manager, or now CEO, to fund capital items and projects which directly affect and benefit conferees and their experience during their conference week, among them: the rowboats, A/V equipment, upholstered chairs for Elliott, Newton, Brookfield, and Newton, floor lamps and upholstery for the lobby, sports equipment, lanterns for the chapel, and adirondack and rocking chairs.
Historical grants, funding for the RML, support for SIC planning, the Conference and Clergy Grant and Scholarship programs, and continued unrestricted contributions allow both the SIC and conferences spending autonomy within the ISA(UU)'s conference-oriented criteria. The financial support of the Chapel restoration in conjunction with the hard work of Dave Boynton's team from our sister organization (SIUCC) during 2005 was a continuation of a commitment begun in 1901 when the Summer Meetings Association funded chapel restoration per lease with Oscar Leighton.
The purposes and structure of the ISA(UU) are described in our bylaws. While we assist the SIC in several ways we are a separate entity. The Star Island UCC (SIUCC) and the ISA(UU) are sister organizations and parent organizations to the SIC. The presidents of both associations sit ex officio on the board of directors of the SIC. Hundreds of Shoalers are members of the ISA(UU) and they support our work with their dues, contributions, and volunteer efforts. Both annual and lifetime memberships are available. The board meets five times a year: in January, March, May, and October, as well as during the ISA(UU) weekend conference in September. The Annual Meeting follows the end of our fiscal year which is November 1 to October 31.
Our expenses are reviewed and budgeted annually. Our capital grants have included rowboats, sports equipment, chairs, and chapel needs. Our publications include, Ten Miles Out, Moonlight Murder on Smuttynose, the sles of Shoals Cookbook, and The Isles of Shoals in Lore and Legend. Our conference grants provide incremental funding over and above the usual conference budgets. Our conference scholarship program assists conferences to support conferee attendance. The clergy grants program is designed to allow clergy and family a time of respite as a conferee that may not otherwise be afforded on a minister's salary. In turn, these clergy will be able to return to their congregations with personal restoration and encourage others to come fill the rooms for their own restoration of spirit. We have also supported archival and educational programs for Vaughn Cottage, Rutledge Marine Lab, the Lighthouse Kids, the Portsmouth Athenaeum, and the Seacoast Science Center.
In summary, we try to foster the educational, religious and cultural aspects of on-island activities. The the SIC owns, operates, staffs, and maintains the physical plant of Star Island, we tend to support the experience of it. Although our presence if marginal and incremental, we strive to make all the different in these outlined areas.
(By Ken Schoman, Susy Mansfield, and Joanne Bulley)