The Saugatuck Congregational Church mission statement includes a commitment to “welcome all people.”
Those are not just words.
The downtown congregation hosts a wide range of 12-step programs. Last year they sponsored a show of immigrant art.
In 2018, Saugatuck accepted an invitation from the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport to pair with a predominantly African American church. The goal was mutual learning about the impact of racism in our culture and communities.
Small groups from Saugatuck and St. Matthew Baptist Church met several times. A Westport participant said he was amazed to learn what he had not been aware of.
Saugatuck’s Rev. Alison J. Buttrick Patton and St. Matthew’s Rev. Aaron Best remain in touch. Their congregations will continue to connect.
Dan Long participated in the exchange. An artist and member of Saugatuck’s arts committee, he helped organize last year’s “Art Beyond Borders” show, featuring works by Latin American immigrants.
The opening — with art, music and poetry — drew a very diverse crowd.
Dan wanted to organize more shows at his church, honoring diversity and fighting racism.
He died suddenly in June. His wife Priscilla and arts team members have taken up the cause.
A special exhibit — “Celebrating Color in Black History Month” — opens this Friday (February 21, 6 to 8 p.m., Hoskins Hall). Six area artists of color — Jeffrey Nelson, Amir Hines, Clyde Theophilus McLaughlin, Shanna Melton, Michael Brinkley and Lesley Koenig — will share their work.
The show ends March 10. But Saugatuck Church’s commitment to multi-culturalism, and against racism, continues.
In May Rev. Donique McIntosh — minister for racial justice for the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ — will be a guest preacher.
(“Art Beyond Borders” is open to the public, whenever the Saugatuck Congregational Church is open. Call first — 203-227-1261.)