‘One of the Truly Bright Lights’: Amid Pandemic, Local Clergy Members Form Stronger Bonds

Even prior to the onset of COVID-19, New Canaan’s local clergy association stood out in the experience of the Rev. Stephen Chapin Garner. Collegial and kind, it includes unusually gifted people whose monthly gatherings are free of a type of guardedness can limit such groups, Garner said. As the pandemic set in this spring, bringing unforeseen practical challenges among other demands, New Canaan’s spiritual leaders began leaning harder into one another, according to Garner, senior minister at the Congregational Church of New Canaan. “We laugh together, we joke, we share the challenges of time and we have gone past ‘friendly,’ to friends,” Garner told NewCanaanite.com. “For me, some of these folks are people I would turn to if I had a complex issue in my life, let alone the church.

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 … ?

The town received a notice of intent to sue from a New Canaan man injured when his Vespa presumably skidded out on Lambert Road one morning in June. At about 7:04 a.m. on June 12 (a Tuesday), he sustained “permanent injuries” including an ankle fracture and knee sprain, due to “deposits of gravel and/or sand and/or a slippery oil like substance upon Lambert Road which was open to traffic and concerning which no warnings or cautions were posted,” according to a notice filed Aug. 2 by attorney James Hyland, a partner in Hamden-based Mulvey, Oliver, Gould & Crotta. The man was traveling at or below the speed limit, the notice said. ***

The Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday voted 8-1 to approve Grace Farms for 12 events at the Lukes Wood Road organization to be auctioned off as fundraising items during its annual benefit in October.

New Canaan Marks Anniversary of 9/11 with Memorial Ceremony on Front Lawn of Town Hall

Robin Gestal, vice president of the New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps, was in midtown Manhattan on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. A safe distance from the World Trade Center, she made it home to her family that same day. Here, officials alerted New Canaan’s emergency medial service that it needed personnel in New York City. “Our EMTs gathered at headquarters,” Gestal recalled on Monday morning, addressing a crowd of residents, police, fellow EMTs, town officials and municipal workers gathered on the front lawn of Town Hall for New Canaan’s annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony.

Did You Hear … ?

The alpacas of Crajah House on Oenoke Ridge Road on Tuesday were shorn of their thick winter coats—see photos above. Their owner, New Canaan’s Debbie McQuilkin, tells us the process for each “blanket” includes picking out sticks, hay and straw, then going for the secondary areas of the neck, backside and legs. The material is sent to a fiber mill where it’s washed, cleaned again and dyed or made into a yarn that McQuilkin herself chooses—fine knitting or heavy weaving for rugs. It also can be sent back for hand spinning or felting, McQuilkin said. The alpaca fleece is hypoallergenic and contains no lanolin, and it’s naturally fire-resistant.