Tag Archives: Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Pic Of The Day #2081

Church Lane, and Christ & Holy Trinity Church (Photo/Rowene Weems)

“06880” Podcast: Rev. John Branson

For more than 20 years at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, Rev. John Branson was a conscience of Westport.

His commitment to social justice, and his efforts on behalf of his entire community, were hallmarks of his service here.

After he retired, Rev. Branson and his wife Judyth moved to North Carolina. But he was called back to several pulpits. Now he’s back in Westport.

In a wide-ranging chat the other day at the Westport Library, Rev. Branson talked about his route to the ministry, the evolution of the Episcopal Church, the “least and the lost,” the people and places of this town, and much, much more.

Click below for a very intriguing half hour.

Your “06880” Pride Guide

June is Pride Month.

But it’s not just for people who identify as LGBTQ (or IA+)*. All allies — and there are many in the Westport community — are invited to join the fun (and serious stuff).

The main event is the June 12 celebration at Jesup Green. But there’s much more too, including:

June 2: To Wong Foo, Thanks Julie Newmar! (Remarkable Theater, 8:30 p.m.)

In the 1995 comedy with Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo, 3 New York drag queens on their way to Hollywood for a beauty pageant are stranded in a small Midwestern town — and show residents that looking different doesn’t mean they don’t have humanity in common.

For more information and tickets, click here.

June 3: Bedford Middle School, Coleytown Middle School, and Staples High School Pride Day Celebrations

Bedford and Coleytown make history, by hosting Connecticut’s first middle school Pride Day celebrations. Hosted by the Westport Public Schools Pride Coalition, it features the debut of a new Staples and middle school mentorship program led by Staples faculty and coalition chair, Kayla Iannetta. Staples’ celebration will build on last year’s inaugural event.

June 4: All 4 Drag and Drag for A ll (MoCA Westport, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.)

A fun, family-friendly drag experience; all ages invited and welcome. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for cocktail hour (with a cash bar); the show begins at 6:30, with 4 great entertainers.

Headliner Desmond Napoles (stage name: Desmond is Amazing) is a 15-year old award-winning New York City LGBTQ advocate, performer, model, public speaker and fashion designer.

For more information and tickets, click here. https://bit.ly/3sfvTsu.

Desmond is Amazing

 June 8: How to Survive a Plague (Remarkable Theater, 8:30 p.m.)

This 2012 documentary about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and the efforts of activist groups, was culled from over 700 hours of archived footage: news coverage, interviews, and videos of demonstrations and meetings.

For more information and tickets, click here.

June 12: Westport Pride Celebration (Jesup Green, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.)

The 2nd annual community-wide event includes music and other great performances, speakers, local clergy, a proclamation from 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, and a pride flag flying over it all.

Plus: children’s art activities, face painting, hair and makeup, pride merchandise and swag, and educational materials on hand.

Showing the flag at last year’s Westport Pride celebration. (Photo/Kerry Long)

June 12: Pride Eucharist (Christ and Holy Trinity Churh, 5 p.m.)

A come-as-you-are in-person service of scripture, song, prayer and Holy Eucharist in the Christ & Holy Trinity Courtyard (Branson Hall if it’s cold or raining.)  For more information, click here.

June 15: Pride Spirit Day (Westport elementary schools)

The elementary schools focus on families, and the many different ways they can be. Students learn about important LGBTQ+ figures from read-alouds and bulletin boards. Outside the buildings, chalk drawings and messages spread love and the message that everyone deserves to be proud of who they are.

June 17: Pride Cabaret Night (Westport Library, 6:30 p.m.)

An evening of music, performing arts and comedy, hosted by comedienne and activist Mina Hartong.

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

June – August: Summer of Love | Merchants of Pride – Various Locations

All summer long, merchants offer pride-themed items, events and more. NOTE: These offers begin June 1. Don’t click the links, or visit the stores or restaurants, until Tuesday!

A Splash of Pink: Shopping Night (Wednesday, June 1, 5 to 8 p.m.). Light bites, and a rainbow bar of cocktails. A portion of the evening’s sales will be donated to Westport Pride.

Allium Eatery: A portion of  proceeds from the sale of “Fields of Love” will benefit Westport Pride. This change will change periodically throughout the summer so the culinary team can create innovative dishes. It is called “Fields of Love” to honor “embracing diversity and the beauty of all ingredients, just as we all should with the LGBTQ+ community.” June 1 through August 31.

Le Rouge Chocolates by Aarti: A portion of proceeds from the sale of the newly created AZALEA cocktail (vodka, lemonade, strawberry shrub, bubbles) will be donated to Westport Pride. 

Don Memo/Kawa Ni/The Whelk: Signature cocktail for the month of June.

Middlemarch: Partners with Jeweled Coquette to create a special limited edition Bon-Bon necklace. The designer followed the original pride flag design from 1978. Stones are jade, sunstone, opal, chalcedony, quartz and serpentine. Necklaces are hand-knotted on 20″ silk, with a 15K gold filled spring ring closure. Orders can be placed online or at the store. Retail price is $200; 20% donated to Westport Pride. Offer good June 1-30.

Sono1420: Limited edition PRIDE bottle of SONO1420 vodka.

WEST: 20% off all Aviator Nation apparel for month of June. A portion of proceeds donated to Westport Pride.

Whoop Handstitch: A limited edition with “PROUD” stitched in rainbow thread on a white sweatshirt; also, a gray cashmere sweater with “LOVE IS LOVE” with rainbow thread. The sweatshirt retails for $95; $20 will be donated to Westport Pride. The sweater retails for $185, with $50 donated to Westport Pride. June 1 through August 31.

Finally, there’s this: Throughout June, Jillian Elder will offer special Wesptort- and Pride-themed t-shirts. hoodies, mugs, tumblers and tote bags. 10% of all sales will be donated to Westport Pride. Click here to order.

*The acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex and asexual or agender; the “plus” sign indicates other sexual orientations people may identify as or with. 


Roundup: Baldwin Parking Lot, Beach Stickers (Again), Red Maple …

The Baldwin Parking Lot — the large, often unwieldy, pieced-together area off Elm Street between Brooks Corner and Christ & Holy Trinity Church — will soon get an upgrade.

A reconstruction project begins Monday, weather permitting.

Initial phases include reclamation of the existing deteriorated asphalt surface, installation of new drainage pipes; regrading to reduce frequent flooding, plus installation of LED lighting, electric vehicle chargers, security cameras and blue-light emergency stations.

Parking stalls will be realigned to conform to P&Z regulations, improving circulation and maneuverability.

Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich said that while the project will likely continue through the month of June, and lot closures will be necessary, the contractor will coordinate with town officials and the Westport Downtown Association to minimize disruptions.

This is the first of several downtown lots to be reconstructed and reconfigured.  Still ahead: Taylor Lot (near Jesup Green), Imperial Avenue, and the biggest, baddest of them all: Harder Parking.

I mean, Parker Harding.


Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup noted that as of May 1, stickers will be required for all cars entering Westport beaches. It included a link to the Parks & Rec website, for easy online ordering.

Easy, that is, if you’re on a desktop or laptop.

Paul Lenihan could not order using his smartphone. Eventually he headed to the Parks & Rec office in Longshore, where they told him the link does not work on mobile devices.

So why do they call them smartphones?


Yesterday’s early morning fire at Townhouse for Dogs destroyed a 2nd-floor apartment. Cassidy  Gleacher’s mother, stepfather and little brother were awakened by a smoke alarm, but their exit was blocked by flames.

They jumped from a window, with only the clothes on their backs. The family lost all their belongings, their home and their pets.

Cassidy has set up a GoFundMe page, to get them back on their feet. Click here to help.

Yesterday morning’s fire at the Townhouse for Dogs destroyed a 2nd-floor apartment. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)


Tree warden Ben Skykas planted a new red maple at Grace Salmon Park on Wednesday.

The species is native to North America, can grow over 100 feet, may live over 200 years, and hosts a spectrum of wildlife, from caterpillars and squirrels to a wide array of birds. It’s also a valuable climate change-deterring shade tree and carbon converter.

For more Arbor Day-related activities, click here and scroll down. (Hat tip: Dave Lowrie)

New red maple at Grace Salmon Park.


The NAACP’s Million Jobs Campaign helps people leaving prison make a fresh start — and reduces recidivism.

This Sunday (April 24, 11 a.m.), Christ & Holy Trinity Church’s Racial Justice Working Group invites everyone interested for coffee, donuts, and a conversation with Connecticut State Conference NAACP and national board member Scot Esdaile.

He’ll talk about the program, which focuses on jobs in hospitals and healthcare. It will launch in Fairfield County this fall.

Questions? Email fkgarden13@gmail.com. (Hat tip: Jeff Wieser)


Like many stop signs, the one by Elvira’s/Joey’s by the Shore at the foot of Compo Hill is treated more like a suggestion than a command.

In just 30 minutes the other, standing at the corner with the team that’s raising funds to save the near-century old market/deli, I watched at least a dozen drivers blow blithely through.

Here’s hoping this new addition helps. Fingers crossed, at this very popular — and dangerous — crossing.

(Photo/Karen Como)


As the pandemic eases, will people return to movie theaters?

AMC is betting yes. Bow Tie seems to think no.

Just a few years after spending millions of dollars on new seats and food options, Bow Tie Cinemas sold 5 Connecticut theaters to AMC Entertainment. Included in the deal: the 6-plex just over the line in Norwalk.

The news owners are so excited, they list themselves as the “coming attraction.” (Hat tip: Mark Mathias)

(Photo/Mark Mathias)


The 6-0 Staples boys lacrosse team hosts its annual Sticks for Soldiers event tomorrow (April 23, 3 p.m., Paul Lane Stadium).

The Wreckers take on always-tough Wilton. All proceeds go directly to Sticks for Soldiers, to support wounded veterans.

A special ceremony at 2:30 p.m., with town and Sticks for Soldiers officials, kicks off the event.

In 2018, Staples lacrosse players wore special shirts at a game honoring the “Sticks for Soldiers” veterans organization.


Remember the Ramones?

Last night at MoCA Westport, Monte A. Melnick, the band’s former tour manager, shared stories of touring with them.

The event was part of the museum’s “Cocktails and Conversation series, which presents free programming related to exhibitions on Thursday evenings. The current exhibit is “Punk is Coming.”

Talking Heads co-founders Chris Frantz and wife Tina Weymouth were part of the crowd.

Next Thursday (April 28, 6 p.m.), MoCA features Richard Hell, a founder of several important early CBGB punk bands, including Television and the Heartbreakers, and whose Richard Hell & the Voidoids’ 1977 album “Blank Generation” influenced many other punk groups. The event is free, but advance registration is requested (mocawestport.org).

Last night at MoCA (from left): Monte A. Melnick, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Ruth Mannes (MoCA executive director) and Liz Leggett (MoCA director of exhibitions)(Photo/Cynthia Dempster)


John Weiss, a Westport resident from 1979 to 2015, died peacefully at his Southport home on Tuesday.  He was 88.

Born in Manhattan, he graduated from the Horace Mann School in 1951 and earned a BA from Cornell University 4 years later. Following college, he served as a communications officer in the Navy for several years, stationed in the Pacific.

John then joined Bache & Company. He was a floor broker and general partner. The firm became Prudential Securities, from which John retired as a senior vice president.

In retirement, John served the Y’s Men as membership chair for several years, and arranged annual meetings and picnics. He pursued his interests in sailing, tennis, photography, travel, theater, current events and music. He played clarinet in the Westport Community Band for many years.

John is survived by his wife Sheila; sons Graham and John Jr.; stepsons James (Polly) Bienen and Jonathan (Tracy) Bienen; grandchildren Chantal (Jay) Crompton, Hunter Weiss, Cheyenne Weiss, Carl Jason Tondo; and Owen Bienen; great-granddaughters Lola and Millie Crompton, and brother Georgia (Jack) Morris.

Contributions in John’s memory may be made online to support Dr. Richard Frank’s pancreatic cancer research. Gifts also may be mailed to the Norwalk Hospital Foundation, 34 Maple Street, Norwalk, CT 06856

A memorial service is set for Monday (April 25, noon, Temple Israel).


This is Claudia Sherwood Servidio’s first spring in town.

Our new neighbor is discovering how beautiful this season is. And she’s sharing her discoveries with us all, with today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

Whether you’ve just arrived, or this is your 100th spring here: Enjoy!

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


And finally … in honor of the new owners of the closest (permanent) movie theater to Westport:

Pic Of The Day #1723

Church Lane, and church (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Pic Of The Day #1541

Photographer Jo Shields Sherman says: “Some workers answer to a higher calling.
Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church is busy restoring the steeple dormers and clock faces: rebuilding, scraping, painting and gold leaf. I think we can see a heavenly difference!”

Stations Of The Cross Honors Racial Justice

A few dozen Westporters celebrated Good Friday yesterday through a marking of the Stations of the Cross. The walk was a call to dismantle racism, and pursue racial justice.

“Give us eyes to see how the past has shaped the complex present,” said Rev. John Betit of Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

Participants stopped at several sites related to Black history in Westport. Christ & Holy Trinity, Saugatuck Congregational Church and the Westport Museum of History & Culture collaborated for the event.

After an initial prayer in the Christ & Holy Trinity courtyard, the group headed to the entrance of the church parking lot on Elm Street.

Rev. John Betis, at Christ & Holy Trinity Church: the first Station of the Cross. (Photo/Rev. Alison Patton)

They looked across at Bedford Square. In the 1940s, it was the back of a boarding house — accessible through an alley at 22 1/2 Main Street (later the entrance to Bobby Q’s) — that was the hub of a thriving Black community.

By 1949 though, it was considered a slum. The town would not grant permits for improvements. In December, residents asked the RTM to be considered for the affordable housing being built at Hales Court. They were denied.

In January 1950 — 8 days after a newspaper wondered what would happen if a fire broke out there — that is exactly what happened. Unable to obtain housing anywhere else in town, the Black community scattered — and disappeared forever.

Heading to the next Station of the Cross. (Photo courtesy of Christ & Holy Trinity Church)

The next station was the site of the former Ebenezer Coley general store, at the Main Street entrance to Parker Harding Plaza. The original outline of that saltbox building remains; it’s the former Remarkable Book Shop and (later) Talbots.

The river came up to the back of the store. Enslaved people loaded grain grown at the Coley farm onto ships bound for New York. There it was loaded onto larger ships, which sailed to the West Indies where it fed other enslaved Blacks.

The group then walked a few steps to the Museum of History & Culture. Ebenezer Coley’s son Michael owned the home at the corner of Avery Place and Myrtle Avenue. He managed the Coley store, and oversaw the enslaved people.

Bricks bear the names of over 240 enslaved and 20 free people of color, part of the parish of Greens Farms Congregational Church. They appear in the church log book as births, baptisms, marriages and deaths.

Owners brought their enslaved people into church for services, though they — and freemen — had to stand in the balcony above the sanctuary.

Bricks at the Westport Museum of History & Culture honor more than 200 Black men, women and children from the 18th and 19th centuries. (Photo/Rev. Alison Patton)

A short walk up Evergreen Avenue brought the group to the Saugatuck Church cemetery. Cyrus Brown — who, like many others affecte by racism and legal bias, went from being a landowner and farmer to a servant of the Gorham family — is buried there.

Brown’s relationship with the Gorhams was evidently strong. He is buried in the family’s plot, with a high quality headstone of his own.

A stop at Evergreen Cemetery. (Photo/Rev. Alison Patton)

After that final station, worshipers walked through the woods to the Saugatuck Church property. The labyrinth on the lawn provided space and time for  final Good Friday reflections.

Walking through the woods, to Saugatuck Church. (Photo/Rev. Alison Patton)

A final stop at Saugatuck Church. (Photo/Bob Mitchell)

(Historical background provided by the Westport Museum for History & Culture.)

Pics Of The Day #1347

This afternoon, the Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church youth group offered a “drive-by nativity” … (Photo/Dan Woog)

… and then parishioners strolled through the church yard and sanctuary. There were cozy fires, carols, string ensembles, a chance to light a candle and a pause for private prayer. Jo Shields calls it “achingly beautiful … a far different holiday season than any of us are accustomed to, but Christ & Holy Trinity Church brought the seasonal sights and sounds home to the hearts of all who stopped by.” (Photo/Jo Shields)

Roundup: Churches, Safety App, GFA Athletes, More

For many years, Saugatuck Church collected baby gifts during their 5 p.m. Christmas Eve pageant. They were donated to women and children, through the Domestic Violence Crisis Center in Norwalk.

Tonight, that worship is online. However, the church continues its tradition of gathering gifts to benefit women and children in crisis. And you don’t have to be a parishioner to help!

Just stop at the white church downtown (245 Post Road East) between 4 and 5 p.m. today. Pop your trunk; a volunteer will retrieve your gift.

This has been a very tough year, for women, children and the DVCC itself. Items needed include supplies and pajamas for babies, as well as crafts for older children.

Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup noted that Tony Award-winner Kelli O’Hara is starring in a PBS holiday special.

She also did a much more local performance, at (and for) Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. (Her daughter Charlotte is a junior chorister there.)

You can enjoy Kelli — and many others — starting at 6 p.m. tonight. Just click on the CHT YouTube channel or Facebook page.

Kelli O’Hara at Christ & Holy Trinity Church.

M13 has led a $1.8M seed round in Prepared, a company building technology to keep school campuses safer. It was co-founded at Yale University by Staples graduates Dylan Gleicher and Neil Soni.

Prepared’s 1-touch mobile alert system enables administrators to instantaneously alert both the entire campus and 911 dispatchers to an emergency. Click here for a full story.

Neil Soni and Dylan Gleicher

Three Greens Farms Academy student-athletes from Westport have committed to colleges, to continue their academic and sports careers.

Connor McDonald will play tennis at Boston College; Piper Melnick plans to row at the University of California-Berkeley, and Mark Roszkowski heads off to Tufts University’s baseball team.

Congratulations to all 3 Dragons!

From left: Connor McDonald, Piper Melnick and Mark Roszkowski.

And finally … as always, The Band is there:

Roundup: Veterans Day, COVID Testing, Cottage Thanksgiving

The other day, “06880” reader Ernest Lorimer went for a break-quarantine COVID test at St. Vincent’s Health Center on Long Lots Road. He reports:

“The line was a little over 2 hours long, compared to less than an hour a few weeks ago.

“Three Westport police officers had firm control over the line. Cars were divided into 2 queues on either side of the drive. I imagine that was to get more cars off Long Lots, while keeping the drive open for emergency vehicles.

“Cars were not being taken out of the queue in a zippering fashion, which we are used to from traffic merges, but a string from one queue and then a string from the other.

“Officers kept exact track of those queues so no one was getting ahead of anyone else. But that didn’t keep people from haranguing them about queue management, often in heated fashion. Glad they were there!

“Next step in improvement: a Porta Potty. These lines aren’t going to get shorter.”

Westport’s Veterans Day service — traditionally held in the Town Hall auditorium — has been COVID-shifted outdoors. The Wednesday, November 11 ceremony begins at 11 a.m., at VFW Post 399.

The program includes posting the colors; remarks by 1st Selectman Jim Marpe; placing of a memorial wreath by members of VFW Post 399 and American Legion Post 63, and a Westport Police Department firing detail.

The event concludes with honors to 5 veterans.

Because of the pandemic, attendance is by invitation only. Video of the ceremony will be posted on all town social media pages, plus Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020, soon after its conclusion.

The color guard, at last year’s Veterans Day ceremony.

One of our area’s great organizations is the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport. They fund programs like the Janus Center, which aids at-risk youth; Projecto Nueva Vida, which helps people who have been incarcerated re-enter society; FEED, which assists the less fortunate, and CREATE, which trains disadvantaged adults to be chefs.

Christ & Holy Trinity Church has been delivering donations to several food pantries sponsored by the Council. They also bring fresh produce from the Westport Community Garden to FEED.

Bridgeport’s Council of Churches is sponsoring a virtual “FUNdraiser” next Thursday (November 12, 7 p.m.). There’s music by Chris Coogan, a great auction and much more.

Christ & Holy Trinity asked me to spread the word. I’m honored to do so. Click here for the link.

Looking for a cozy, COVID-friendly Thanksgiving restaurant option?

The Cottage will offer in-house dining from 2 to 7 p.m., with a prix fixe menu ($95 per person; $45 per child under 12).

Reservations can be made via phone only: 203-557-3701.

And finally … On this day in 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented 4th term as president. He was first elected in 1932, during one of the darkest years in American history. This was his theme song.