Faith In Our River

Beit Chaverim Synagogue was in the middle of the High Holy Days. Saugatuck Congregational Church had its usual worship activities.

But the 2 congregations came together last Sunday, to clean up one of Westport’s most cherished non-denominational resources: the Saugatuck River.

The event grew out of a friendship between Rabbi Greg Wall and Reverend Alison Patton. As they discussed areas of common interest, they organized the joint service project.

Taking advantage of low tide, work crews hauled out (too) many bags of refuse, hazards to humans and wildlife, and stuff that should never have been there.

Like fishing poles. Balls of every shape and size. Countless glass, plastic and styrofoam bottles, cups and packages. A set of false teeth.

And an old TV set.

Taking part in Sunday's interfaith Saugatuck River cleanup. (Photo/Mark Mathias)

Sunday’s interfaith Saugatuck River cleanup was a family affair. From left: Mason, Michael, Jack, Melissa and Kate Banks. (Photo/Mark Mathias)

The Saugatuck force was organized by Staples High School senior Alex Martenson and his mom Stephanie. Among the Beit Chaverim workers were the  Chapman family, 2 parents and 4 daughters who are new to Westport but dove right in.

Rabbi Wall said, “Many participants reflected on how meaningful this type of interfaith collaboration was. We all look forward to more opportunities for all of the faith communities in town to work together. We must make sure our planet — and our Westport — are on the right track to provide for all future generations.”


(Photo/Greg Wall)

(Photo/Greg Wall)

8 responses to “Faith In Our River

  1. Thank you Rabbi Wall, Reverend Patton and everyone who took the initiative to work towards a cleaner Saugatuck River. Here in Weston, it flows right through my backyard and for over 25 years has been my constant companion and best friend, as strange as that sounds. Further downriver, in Westport, I know it can only collect more and more of what it picks up along the way and I, too, have seen the styrofoam and beach balls, but a TV set?

    Regardless, The (Mighty) Saugatuck is absolutely a treasure to both man and beast and is such a lovely river…I love it dearly, relish it every inch along its way, and am always so happy to hear when someone is helping to take care of it. Thank you!!!!!

  2. Rev. Patton,

    This is a great and much needed initiative. Thank you very much for your group’s efforts! While we are on the subject of conservation and water quality, as your downstream neighbor, I’m wondering if your church has yet abandoned the illegally installed drain at the lower end of your large rear parking lot that was brought to its attention a year or so ago. This would be the drain that, during significant rain events, sends torrents of oily, salty water directly into the fragile and flood prone Deadmans Brook. Deadmans Brook is, of course, a tributary of the Saugatuck River. Hopefully this problem has been addressed by now but perhaps you could just check?

  3. So pleased to see our community participating in the maintenance of one of Westport’s most cherished resources and identifiable features, our Saugatuck River – thank you to the two congregations who pitched in. I have the good fortune to live along the Saugatuck (as it moves through Lees Pond) and I can attest that the river requires attention from time to time, usually to address man-made issues – such as trash – but other times to address natural issues – such as the long overdue need to dredge the river below and above the Post Road.

  4. mary schmerker

    This is wonderful to read about and see on so many levels…..cleanup that is much needed for the beautiful river that is such a part of Westport and the interfaith co-operation. Thank You for sharing this.

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