Tag Archives: Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Pic Of The Day #1284

Christ & Holy Trinity Church (Photo/Anthony Evans)

Roundup: Politics, Religion, Entertainment, More


The title is intriguing: “Living Progressive Values in a Polarized Election Season.”

So is the sponsor: The Unitarian Church in Westport.

The liberal faith tradition opens its Zoom room on 4 Tuesdays in October (6 to 7 p.m.). Everyone — of all political persuasions — is welcome.

Senior minister Rev. Dr. John Morehouse will begin each hour with observations about Unitarian-Universalism. Then the “floor” is open for discussion, debate and conversation.

Topics include:

  • October 6: Civility, Tolerance and Grace
  • October 13: The Blurring of Church and State
  • October 20: Public Convictions and Private Behaviors
  • October 27: Our Children: Our Pupils and Our Teachers.

Email events@uuwestport.org for Zoom information.


Another Westport congregation had a big day yesterday.

Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church officially inducted Father John Betit as rector. The ceremony — which was also livestreamed — marked the first Sunday morning gathering since COVID-19 struck in March.

But that was not all. CHT also welcomed new confirmands — and celebrated a baptism.

The busy — and welcome — morning at the handsome downtown church was followed by a courtyard liturgy, and blessing of the animals.

Rev. John Betit’s official induction.


The Westport Woman’s Club Yankee Doodle Fair takes months of planning. It raises important funds, which go toward much-needed community grants and scholarships.

COVID put the kibosh on last June’s century-old tradition. Now — in a matter of days — the WWC has organized a new, socially distanced, outdoor fundraiser.

A jazz concert with the great Chris Coogan Trio is set for this Friday (October 9, 5 to 7 p.m.). The clubhouse upper parking lot — where the Yankee Doodle kiddie rides and carousel usually are — is the site.

A limited number of tickets are on sale ($40 for 1 adult, $65 for 2; children are free); click here. Venezuelan food is available from El Chamo. Bring your own chairs and blankets.

An added attraction: Concert-goers can buy a ticket for the Remarkable Theater‘s special “Greatest Showman” feature that night, at 7:30. It’s a fundraiser for Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities — so you can support 2 local profits that day.


Old Hill residents don’t know who stole the Biden/Harris signs from their lawns.

But there was a witness to a similar act Thursday afternoon, on Compo Road South across from Longshore.

A man with gray hair — perhaps in his 60s — in a gray Volkswagen sedan was spotted stealing a Biden/Harris sign from private property. A police report was filed.

The signs were quickly replaced. Here they are, yesterday afternoon:


When she was singing and acting at Staples High School, everyone predicted that Cara McNiff would be a star.

The 2014 graduate has just released a new single. “See the World”is an ethereal, uplifting pop song evoking wanderlust and dreams of escape in a time of restriction and risks. She and 2 other artists recorded it remotely, while scattered across the country by the coronavirus.

Cara — who now calls herself Caraa — pushes the boundaries of pop and R&B.

Click here to stream “See the World” on major music platforms.

Cara McNiff


And finally … today — October 5 — is the most common birthday in the United States.

On a normal day, 750,000 Americans celebrate a birthday. Today, more than 960,000 will.

Why is today unlike any other day?

One theory is that the average length of a pregnancy is 274 days. Counting backward, the date of conception for babies born today is December 31 — New Year’s Eve.

i guess not everyone spends the night watching the ball drop.

Roundup: CHT Outreach, WPD Distracted Driving, More


Every year at this time, the Men’s Group of Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church cooks beef through the night. In the morning they carve it up, and serve sandwiches for the parish picnic.

This year, COVID canceled the picnic.

But the Men’s Group still cooked the meat last night. This morning, CHT Outreach volunteers and the Women’s Spirituality Group made sandwiches. They brought them to King’s Pantry in Bridgeport, which will distribute them to the homeless.

Taking a break from cooking (from left0: Randy Abrams, John Sarsgard, Lloyd Nash and Rob Feakins.


Never drive distracted.

Especially from October 1 through 15. That’s when the Westport Police Department plans a high-visibility enforcement campaign.

Distracted driving includes talking or texting on a cell phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in the vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that divers attention from safe driving.

Texting may be the worst. Sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field with eyes closed.

Connecticut fines for distracted driving start at $150. They rise to $1,000, depending on the operator’s driving history and location of the offense.


Due to heavy cloud cover, the Westport Astronomical Observatory will not be open for tonight’s International Observe the Moon Night.

You can of course try to see the moon at home. It’s still there.

Rolnick Observatory will not be open tonight. (Photo/Frank Rosen)


And finally … I never heard of Sterling Magee. But the bluesman who died this month of COVID, at 84 — sounds fascinating. His New York Times obituary say he “played a furious, thoroughly original style of blues under the name Mr. Satan, first as a solo act on the streets of Harlem and then as part of the duo Satan and Adam….

“Half bluesman, half street preacher, Mr. Magee was a fixture on 125th Street throughout the 1980s, parked one block east of the Apollo Theater, where he drew crowds of curious onlookers and fans. He played electric guitar, sang and stomped out a rhythm with a pair of hi-hat cymbals simultaneously, a feat of musicianship often overshadowed by his otherworldly charisma, bushy Moses-like beard and koan-like sayings.” Click here for the full story, and below to hear Mr. Satan.

Grow-A-Row Sustains Bridgeport

Earlier this year, it was estimated that 25% of all Bridgeport residents lacked reliable access to a sufficient amount of affordable, nutritious food.

And that was before the coronavirus.

The pandemic has made the food insecurity situation worse — both because more people are economically vulnerable, and fewer are able or willing to donate to food pantries and soup kitchens.

Sustainable Westport is riding to the rescue.

The townwide organization — which already promotes a Zero Food Waste Challenge, encouraging composting, food scrap recycling and redistribution to food insecure people — has ramped up their efforts.

They’ve partnered with Christ & Holy Trinity Church and Westport Community Garden.

The Garden’s Grow-a-Row initiative encourages Westporters to plant an extra row in their gardens, then donate a portion of their harvest to our food insecure neighbors in Bridgeport.

Westport Community Garden provides gardeners row markers to indicate a portion of their plot for donations.

There is already a collection bin at the garden, on Hyde Lane. Now everyone else can drop off produce in green bins inside Christ & Holy Trinity’s Branson Hall. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week.

Donated food is brought to the Center for Food Equity and Economic Development (the FEED Center). Student chefs convert the produce into delicious meals, for distribution in soup kitchens. Some of the produce also goes to the United Congregational Church in Bridgeport, for its Feel the Warmth supper.

Vito Pidalla is a graduate of Chef Raquel Rivera’s intensive culinary training program. Rivera, owner of a Pinch of Salt of Bridgeport, provides culinary training for low-income residents for food industry employment and entrepreneurial ventures.

Grow-a-Row is a collaborative effort between the Church’s Aileen Brill and the Community Garden’s Amy Unikewicz. Both organizations have a long history of providing food to the needy.

NEXT COURSE: Sustainable Westport sponsored a webinar on eating more with less. Click here to see.

A sampling of the food donations grown and collected at the Westport Community Garden through the Grow-A-Row initiative.

COVID-19 Roundup: Drive-By Palm Sunday; Hospital Meal Train; Find Your Fitness; Give Hemp, And More

Palm Sunday is coming. What’s a church — closed for the pandemic — to do?

Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal will make it a “drive by.”

Just drive to the front of the church, receive a priestly blessing, and listen to bagpipes!

Of course, like every other religious institution, CHT is doing a lot more during the pandemic.

For example, they put donation bins in the back door servery. Anyone can donate food. Volunteers bring it to the Gillespie Center, and 2 Bridgeport organizations: King’s Pantry (for elderly patrons, veterans, people with disabilities and the homeless) and Feed My Sheep, which helps over 80 families.

The church also provides meals for Westport police, fire and EMS personnel.

Donations can be made online too (the church buys the groceries). Click here for details.

In addition, Christ & Holy Trinity offers a short Facebook Live prayer service every night at 7. The men’s group meets every week for a spiritual discussion on Zoom. An abbreviated virtual church service is livestreamed every Sunday. Click here for details.


Westporter Lisa Power helped put together a meal train to help feed the overworked and often hungry Norwalk Hospital staff.

Lunch and dinner slots are connected with specific units. Each unit has 20 or so staff members.

The request is for individually packaged or wrapped meals (no large food trays that require sharing). Meals can be donated by individuals, families, groups or businesses. Call your favorite restaurant or deli to order.

(A&S Fine Foods in Westport has done a great job delivering food so far, Lisa says.)

Click here to sign up for the meal train. For questions and more information — including restaurants and delis that would like to be listed on the mail train — email lapower2014@gmail.com.


When COVID-19 forced the closure of gyms and fitness centers, thousands of Westporters lost their daily routines. And scores of Westporters lost all their income.

Jessica Newshel is trying to help.

The Westport resident and Pilates instructor has launched Fit Finder CT.  The free service helps people find accredited trainers who can work with them one-on-one or in small virtual groups, on the platform of their choice.  Workouts are tailored to each client’s specific needs and ability, and the equipment (or lack of) available at home. There are many types of trainers, for all ages. Click here for the FitFinder website.

Yoga instructors are also listed on FitFinder. (Photo/Frances Hoyte)


Westonite Elan Wischkin is the founder of The Giving Hemp, a craft CBD company.

He’s put 18 CBD “Giving Boxes” on his website, for $10. That money will be donated to a GoFundMe providing ventilators for Connecticut COVID-19 patients.

The box can be sent to someone as a gift, to help ease stress and anxiety.  Each includes a bottle of CBD tincture, a dark chocolate with 15mg CBD, and a poem by Kahlil Gibran: “On Giving.”

Elan will also donate 20% of sales all month to the GoFundMe for ventilators. Click here for the Giving Boxes, and the Giving Hemp website.


The Fairfield County Story Lab was all set to celebrate 1 year as a gathering place for local writers.

Instead, all gathering places are closed.

But founder Carol Dannhauser has the “write” stuff. From now through the end of the coronavirus quarantine, she’s opening up all events — free — to any writer in Connecticut, Westchester and New York City.

There are sessions for freelancers, memoirists, and people looking for agents; virtual happy hours, game nights — you name it. For details, email info@fcstorylab.com.


And finally, just another reminder:

Pic Of The Day #1077

Found at the base of a Christ & Holy Trinity Church fence post (Photo/Karen Murphy)

Pic Of The Day #935

Downtown: The view from Ludlow Road (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Woodmen Spared That Tree!

Over the years, “06880” has reported on too many tree removal stories.

This is not one of those.

Over the past months, there’s been an effort in town to improve the intersections and cross streets on Myrtle Avenue.

One victim of this modernization project was to be the island in front of Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, by Sconset Square. The plan was to remove everything, to form a “T” intersection.

The site is lovely. It’s also historic.

It’s where the Disbrow Tavern was located, back in the 1700s. George Washington is said to have had some ale there, and maybe even a room for the night.

The original Myrtle Avenue traffic island was much larger. (Photo courtesy of Morley Boyd)

A tree sat on the island for centuries, until the 1960s. It was removed in an earlier modernization project.

Church members took it upon themselves to inform the town of the site’s history and beauty, and the utility of the island and tree.

In the mid-’60s, parishioners planted what they called the new “Trinity tree.”

Fifty years later, that history has been forgotten by — or is unknown to — many Westporters. Construction has decreased the size of the island, and damaged the roots. All of that endangered the Trinity tree.

Some area residents and members of the Planning & Zoning Commission worked through a variety of town agencies to save the tree, and the island.

Over the last couple of weeks, a contractor hired by the town has loosened the soil, injected it with mulch and nutrients, trimmed the branches — and removed campaign signs.

The tree, after trimming last week. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

Thanks to tree warden Bruce Lindsay and others, the Trinity tree now has a good chance of adorning, and shading, the island for another 50 years.

That is, if people don’t tramp on the island and its roots, while putting up signs.

Lindsay placed 4 small signs on the island, asking people to stay off and give the tree a chance.

A campaign sign appeared this morning. Town officials say they’ll remove them, as long as the tree is convalescing.

This is not about politics. It’s just about common sense.

And the history and beauty of a downtown tree we all love, admire and respect.

8 Years After Fire, Saugatuck Church Organ Is Ready To Resound

In 2011, a fire just before Thanksgiving nearly destroyed Saugatuck Congregational Church.

A spectacular effort by firefighters — and firewalls — prevented complete destruction of the historic building. But the sanctuary was ruined.

The music department was devastated too. They lost 5 pianos, choir robes, a 100-year-old music library with thousands of sheets of music, and a pipe organ.

Firefighters from several towns battled to save the Saugatuck Congregational Church.

It took years for the church to rebuild. The organ was insured; monies helped rebuild the sanctuary.

Meanwhile, a committee sought designs and quotes from top-notch organ builders around the world. The Klais Orgelbau was chosen for its warmth of tone, design of the case, and the family feel of its company.

Installation began this summer. Finally — nearly 8 years after the fire — the new organ is ready.

The Saugatuck Church organ.

On Sunday, October 13 (2 p.m.), Saugatuck Church celebrates with a special concert.

The performers were all chosen for the compassion they showed after the fire.

James Boratko and his church in West Hartford reached out immediately. They loaned hymnals, anthems and choir robes. “Having parishioners singing from hymnals together” — even at other sites — “helped mold us as a community,” says Saugatuck’s director of music Heather Hamilton.

Rev. Ed Thompson

Ed Thompson at the Unitarian Church also called quickly, offering music, support, and a place to rehearse every week for 2 years. “We felt welcome, and loved being there as a group,” says Hamilton. (She took her first organ lessons from Thompson, and considers him a mentor.)

Craig Scott Symons gave Hamilton a keyboard. That helped her work remotely, and with the choir when they worshiped in different places.

Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church — a few yards across Myrtle Avenue from Saugatuck Church — offered the use of Branson Hall for the townwide Thanksgiving feast, just a few days after the blaze. Congregants worshiped in Christ & Holy Trinity’s Seabury Center many Sundays and Christmas Eves, while their own building was rebuilt. Temple Israel opened its arms to the congregation, providing worship space for over 2 years.

Saugatuck Church invites everyone to the October 13 concert. After all, Hamilton notes, contributions for the new organ came from throughout Westport and beyond — not just parishioners.

In that spirit, the church is eager to share its organ with others. Several concerts are already planned. And the American Guild of Organists looks forward to sharing their music and master classes on it.

(The October 13 concert starts at 2 p.m., and is free. A reception follows at 3 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by the Westport Library.)

Batsh*t Bride Comes Home

First came “Groundhog Day.” Then “Independence Day.”

A new film takes place on April 1. It’s not called “April Fools Day” — the title is “Batsh*t Bride” — but the premise is clear.

Just before her wedding that day, a bride pranks her fiance by saying they should break up. Unfortunately, he feels the same way. Everything spirals out of control from there.

Jonathan Smith’s indie feature — starring Meghan Falcone as Heather — debuts August 26 at Stamford’s Avon Theatre. The venue is signifcant: “Batsh*t Bride” was filmed throughout Fairfield County.

Many scenes took place right here, including Christ & Holy Trinity Church and Longshore and Pearl restaurant. A number of Westporters had roles as extras.

The first scene the filmmakers shot was Heather’s failed wedding. Cinematographer Jason Merrin worked on it while in town for his own wedding.

A local blog posted the call for extras. Expecting only a handful of people, Smith planned his camera angles creatively. However, the Christ & Holy Trinity pews were packed.

Lights! Camera and action came later. (Photo/Ellen Bowen)

Many extras were then recruited for other background shots. One was even given a line.

The ballroom and hotel scenes were all shot at The Inn at Longshore. But the production was allowed in only on Monday through Wednesday, for 2 consecutive weeks.

Smith liked Longshore so much, he rewrote several sections to fit the grounds. He added in golf and kayak scenes.

Tickets to the premiere are $10. Chez Vous Bistro offers a $25 prix fixe 2-course dinner prior to the screening, while Flinders Lane Kitchen & Bar has happy hour drink prices and complimentary appetizers after the screening (with ticket stubs).

Email batshitbride@gmail.com for tickets and dinner reservations.

Batshit Bride