‘We Feel Blessed’: Through 10 Years, Gospel Garden at St. Mark’s Emerges as Vehicle for Shared Abundance

Before the Rev. Peter Walsh could process parishioner Brian Hollstein’s pitch to build a garden behind St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the crews were in the lot and the land was being cleared. It had been less than a day since Hollstein proposed his plan. Walsh liked the idea, so rather than think too much about the logistics, he surrendered and held on for the ride. On a recent afternoon, a thoughtful Walsh observed that the garden “yields so much more than just vegetables.”

“The garden has been fruitful in terms of community by being a place where people who wanted to be part of a good thing could collaborate and execute on that desire,” he said.

‘We Have a Big Job Ahead of Us’: Moynihan Addresses Town as First Selectman at Swearing-In Ceremony

On the eve of taking office, New Canaan’s newly elected first selectman told residents that he will strive to work on their behalf through collaboration and with purpose, transparency and accountability. Moments after he was sworn into the town’s top elected office Monday night, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan in a stirring, heartfelt speech told a standing-room only crowd at Town Hall that the major challenge facing municipal leadership is to understand and then deliver what residents want. “We made the case that we urgently need—must have—21st century cell service throughout New Canaan,” Moynihan said from the dais in the Town Hall Meeting Room, echoing a campaign pledge while addressing the town for the first time as its first selectman, flanked by Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams.

“We said the longstanding problems of inadequate parking must finally be addressed and resolved. We pledged that as we aspire to provide the finest education to our children we must meet the need for more affordable housing to keep our seniors living among us.”

(His speech is published in its entirety below.)

Moynihan spoke toward the end of a high-spirited, at times lighthearted Oath of Office Ceremony that saw Town Clerk Claudia Weber swear in each member of the Board of Selectmen as well as Town Treasurer Andrew Brooks. Overseen by state Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125th), it included an invocation from the Rev. Dr. Stephen Chapin Garner from the Congregational Church of New Canaan, Pledge of Allegiance led by Boy Scout Troop 70, singing of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” led by New Canaan High School seniors Kaitlyn Piotroski, Lauren Smith and Finley Vigliotti, introduction from O’Dea, comments from Rabbi Levi Mendelow of Chabad New Canaan Jewish Center and the Rev. Peter Walsh of St.