Yesterday afternoon — a glorious fall Sunday — a woman stood in Colonial Green. She was taking photos of Saugatuck Congregational Church, across the street.
And why not?
It’s a magnificent building — as beautiful and iconic as any New England church should be. It’s the perfect image of Westport — even if it’s been there, on the corner of the Post Road and Myrtle Avenue, since “only” 1950.
(Fun fact: That year, the church was moved — very slowly, on a bed of logs — from its spot across US1 a few hundred yards away, where the Sunoco station now stands. Life Magazine covered the event.)
More importantly, for nearly 180 years the Saugatuck Church has played a vital role in the life of our entire town. More than 50 different 12-step groups meet daily there. The church hosts a thriving nursery school, and many other community groups.
A fire last night destroyed part of the magnificent structure — thankfully (if one can say that) the back, not the sanctuary or steeple.
But the fire came at a particularly bad time. On Thursday, 300 diners would have relished the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Next month, the same number would have gathered for a Christmas meal.
Offers have already poured in to cover those 2 events, and provide a place for the AA and other meetings, as well as the nursery school.
The entire town will help the Saugatuck Congregational Church, and its members — just as, for nearly 2 centuries, they have helped all of us.
In the meantime, our prayers are with all congregants, and clergy, of this wonderful church.