Rev. Ted Hoskins — the former minister at Saugatuck Congregational Church, and one of the most influential clergy members in modern Westport history — died yesterday, one day after his 90th birthday.
He served Saugatuck Church as senior minister from 1971 to 1994. After leaving Westport, he lived in Isle au Haut, Maine. He continued his ministry on the seacoast there.
Rev. Ted Hoskins (Photo courtesy of Penobscot Bay Press)
In Westport Rev. Hoskins was known for his staunch advocacy of social justice, and for underserved populations. He was also a leader in the town’s interfaith clergy efforts.
In 1984, a fierce debate raged over the opening of a homeless shelter in the former Vigilant Firehouse on Wilton Road (now OKO restaurant).
The moral leadership of Rev. Ted Hoskins, Rev. Pete Powell, Rabbi Bob Orkand and businessman James Bacharach, plus the town support of 1st Selectman Bill Seiden, Human Services director Barbara Butler and David Kennedy, tamped much of the controversy.
The shelter opened. It was one of the first shelters in a suburban community — and still is, nearly 40 years later.
The Homes with Hope facility is now located on Jesup Road. Hoskins Place — a 5-bed facility for women — is named for the pastor.
Hoskins Place women’s shelter, on Jesup Road.
He was also active in the anti-Vietnam War movement. In 1971 — his first year in Westport — he marched in the Memorial Day parade in front of a banner urging peace.
In 2015, when Saugatuck Church was re-dedicated 3 years after a devastating fire, Rev. Hoskins returned as a guest preacher.
A full obituary — including funeral arrangements — will be posted when available.
Rev. Ted Hoskins (center) and Rabbi Byron T. Rubenstein of Temple Israel (right) march in front of a banner urging peace, at the 1971 Memorial Day parade.