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.