Congregational Church on God’s Acre: ‘It Is Our Church Cemetery’

Though the town’s highest elected official said recently that he doesn’t understand the Congregational Church of New Canaan’s claim regarding ownership of God’s Acre, an email obtained by NewCanaanite.com shows that the church’s pastor had outlined the position to him early this summer. The Rev. Chapin Garner told First Selectman Kevin Moynihan in a June 9 email, “Our understanding is this: God’s Acre is not only a cemetery, it is our church cemetery.”

“Indeed, it is named ‘God’s Acre’ because that is the 17th century term for a church burial ground,” Garner said in the email, whose copied recipients included Town Attorney Ira Bloom, attorney Gabriella Kiniry, a congregant who has advised the church, and Nick Williams, a selectman who also is a a member the church. “We have had pastors and parishioners buried on that hill, and it is our sacred obligation to protect that hallowed ground in which they were laid to rest,” Garner’s email continued. “We do not want anything built on our ancient burial ground—not a terrace and not sidewalks. Not only is that our desire, but we strongly believe Connecticut State law prohibits any construction on an ancient burial ground.”

He referred to a state law that prohibits towns from using ancient burial grounds for anything other than burials.

Did You Hear … ?

Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that he intends to sign an order keeping all Connecticut schools closed through at least May 20. “Out of the best interests of the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff, we feel this is the best approach at this time,” he said in a press release. According to New Canaan Emergency Management Director Mike Handler, the town had 106 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths as of Thursday evening. ***

Regarding the estimated $12 million renovation of police headquarters on South Avenue, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said during a discussion of long-term capital spending at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Finance, “If anything, if we are going into a recession or a depression, maybe you push the Police Department [project] off entirely.”

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New Canaan Police posted on Instagram Thursday that thieves continue to take advantage of residents who are not locking their cars amid the COVID-19 emergency. “More and more cars are being entered at night and several cars have been stolen,” police said.

Town Attorney Warns of Unforeseen Restrictions Regarding Popular Pedestrian Alley

Though some are eager to preserve forever a frequently used pedestrian alley downtown, officials say, the town attorney is warning that doing so through an easement could hamstring future municipal leaders. The alley that runs alongside the Playhouse and Le Pain Quotidien, connecting Elm Street to the parking lots behind it, is town-owned property. Though it could be transferred into a trust and then placed under an easement that would guarantee it serves as a pedestrian walkway in perpetuity, Town Attorney Ira bloom is urging town officials to consider that doing so could restrict future generations in unforeseen ways, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said. Asked by a committee of the Planning & Zoning Commission to look into the possibility of an easement, Moynihan said he called on Bloom to investigate it. 

“Some people want to protect it in perpetuity,” Moynihan said. “The counter argument is that you don’t want to restrict future generations of leaders about what to do 100 years from now.”

Did You Hear … ?

One of the attorneys for the lunch ladies charged with first-degree larceny, Stamford-based Darnell Crosland, told reporters Monday that he and his client have agreed to be filmed by A&E as part of the TV network’s planned show, “The Accused.” The show “tells the dramatic stories of people at the most vital and most terrifying moment of their lives,” according to A&E. “This gripping series reveals the true inside story of what happens when someone is accused of a crime they believe they did not commit. Featuring the defendant, their family and their legal teams, ‘The Accused (working title)’ reveals the personal cost of every charge, watching each case unfold from the defendant’s point of view. It shares every twist and turn of this traumatic experience from their first meeting with their lawyers right up to the verdict allowing viewers to judge the subject’s innocence for themselves.”

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A new business is “popping up” next Wednesday at 4 South Ave. (formerly Funky Monkey) in New Canaan.