Tag Archives: Saugatuck Congreational Church

Roundup: Remarkable Films, Stop The Bleed, Marine Police …

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Doug Tirola — one of the founders of the Remarkable Theater — is a native Westporter, and father of a Staples High School student. He know we’ve got some remarkable members of the senior class — and that they had a remarkable year.

Tomorrow Doug — whose day job is filmmaking — wants to hear about their experiences. He’s making a short feature starring Staples seniors. It will play before (naturally) the drive-in screening of “The Breakfast Club” later this month.

High school seniors are invited to a quick interview tomorrow (Wednesday, June 16, 3 p.m.) at Staples’ front entrance.

NOTE: Seniors who are not yet 18 should email kate@4throwfilms.com for a release form, to be signed by a parent prior to film.

“The Breakfast Club”: Quite possibly the best high school movie ever made.

 

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The vibe at Westport Paddle Club is chill.

But the young staff — overseeing kayaks, paddleboards and the increasingly crowded Saugatuck River — has major responsibilities.

Yesterday, owners Taryn and Robbie Guimond brought Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services staff onto the Riverside Avenue site. EMTs ran everyone through every imaginable safety scenario and protocol.

The entire Westport Paddle Club staff is now certified in CPR, first aid and “stop the blood.” They’re ready for anything — and for you.

Safety first at Westport Paddle Club.

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Speaking of safety … Sandra Lefkowitz writes:

“With so much negativity about police in our country, we feel lucky we have a Police Department that responds quickly and professionally  to our needs, on many levels.

“On Sunday around 2:30 p.m., my husband Larry and I, 2 Westport friends and our puppy were stranded on our small boat in the Sound. It just stopped, and refused to start again no matter what we were tried.

“To our much appreciated rescue came 2 police officers: a man and a woman. With efficiency, respect and utmost professionalism, we were towed to our marina on Saugatuck shores.

“We are privileged to live in a town with such an incredible Police Department. Thank you!”

The Lefkowitzes’ boat, after being towed to safety.

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For weeks, Pequot Trail neighbors have been upset about the clear-cutting done in preparation for a teardown and new home.

Yesterday, News12 reported on the issue.

As noted in the report, owners can do whatever they want with their property. But, Tree Board chair Monica Buesser notes, trees play many roles beyond beauty — including noise abatement and reduced flood risk.

Click here for the News12 story.

Aerial view of clear cutting on Pequot Trail. (Screenshot courtesy of News 12

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Marketplace at Franny’s of Westport celebrates its first year as a local pop-up partner this Saturday (June 19, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

The Bedford Square shop will be filled with live music, free samples and giveaways. Tracey Medeiros will sign copies of “The Art of Cooking with Cannabis,” and Franny Tacy — founder of Franny’s Farmacy — will be on hand too, to say, um, “hi.”

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The world is opening up. But plenty of neighbors are still in dire straits.

To help fill Person 2 Person’s Norwalk food pantry, Westport Sunrise Rotary members will collect food donations in the rear of Saugatuck Congregational Church (Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

They urge folks to include these items on upcoming shopping trips: hearty soups, snack and granola bars, pasta and sauce, 1-pound rice boxes, peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, canned tuna and chicken, canned fruits and vegetables, dried and canned beans, pancake mix, cold cereal, oatmeal and shelf-stable milk.

Among the most needed household and personal items: laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, dryer sheets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, disinfectant wipes, hand and body soap, kitchen sponges, deodorant, liquid dish detergent, diapers and wipes (especially sizes 5 and 6), tissues and Kleenex.

From left: Greg Dobbs (Person2Person food pantry site manger) with Westport Sunrise Rotarians Rob Hauck and president George Masumian.

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What would “Westport … Naturally” be without a very cool deer photo?

Well, a lot leafier, for one thing …

(Photo/Katherine Bruan)

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And finally … today is the birthday of Waylon Jennings. Born in 1937, he died in 2002. Along the way, he gave us classics like:

COVID Roundup: Yarn Bombing; Minute Man Flowers; Masks; Movies; More


Anne Craig is familiar to Westporters. She spent 15 years on TV, as an entertainment and features reporter for Fox 5 in New York, and evening news anchor on New Haven’s Channel 8.

These days Anne is home in Westport with her husband and young kids. But  she still loves telling stories — and tells them very, very well.

This one is about Westport’s mysterious “yarn bomber.” We’ve all seen her (or their) (or his?!) work. Now Anne tries to unravel the mystery.


Two weeks ago, Staples senior Lillie Bukzin learned that Oprah Winfrey was organizing a Facebook Live graduation event — and was looking for videos.

Lillie and her friends Sofie Abrams, Meher Bhullar, Reilly Caldwell, Kate Enquist and Cassie Lang went to work. They wrote a mini-script, and Lillie recorded them all saying “Hi! We are from the class of 2020 from Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut and this how we graduate.” They also threw their Staples baseball caps in the air.

On Thursday, they learned they’d be part of Oprah’s event — which aired yesterday. Click below to see their 15 seconds of fame! (Okay, it’s more like 1.5 seconds. But the video is very cool!

PS: In other Staples/national graduation/famous people news, tonight (8 p.m., multiple platforms) is when former president Barack Obama gives a speech to the Class of 2020. It’s the direct result of a social media campaign spearheaded by Lincoln Debenham, who grew up here and spent 2 years at Staples before his family moved to Los Angeles.

The Class of 2020 may graduate virtually, but together they rock!


The Westport Garden Club had to postpone their annual flower sale. But the 96-year-old organization is growing new roots, with their “Friday Flowers” project. All around town, they’re brightening our days. Here’s one example — at the gateway to our newly opened beach.

(Photo/Ellen Greenberg)


Here’s another interesting shot. David Squires calls this “our new (ab)normal.” Personally, he says, “I prefer the fuzzy dice.”


In month 3 of COVID, you’ve gone through nearly every Netflix, Showtime and Disney title available.

But you may have missed “Batsh*t Bride.” Filmed locally — including Christ & Holy Trinity church, Longshore and Pearl restaurant — the comedy stars Meghan Falcone as a bride who pranks her fiance by saying they should break up. Unfortunately, he feels the same way. Everything spirals out of control from there.

It’s available just about any way you can watch: Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, Xbox, FangangoNOW, Hoopla, Sony Playstation Video Application and console, AT&T, DirectTV, Dish, iN DEMAND (Comcast, Spectrum) and Vubiquity (Verison Fios). Enjoy the trailer below; then click here for the direct links.


There’s not a lot to laugh about these days. But people walking past Saugatuck Congregational Church have to smile when they see the signs below.

Too young to know the reference? Google John Cleese and Monty Python.

(Photo/Molly Alger)


And finally … the beach parking lot reopening was timed perfectly with the arrival of actual spring weather. Well done, Westport!

Rev. Alison Patton Takes The Pulpit

Soon after the November fire that devastated the Saugatuck Congregational Church, Alison Buttrick Patton had her 2nd meeting with a committee searching for a new pastor.

The congregation was reeling. No one knew what lay ahead — including how, or even if, the near-200-year-old church would survive.

But out of that meeting came a conviction — on both sides — that Alison and the Saugatuck Church were a good fit.

Rev. Alison Buttrick Patton

“I was deeply moved by the way everyone handled the fire,” she recalled last week. “One of their prayers included an appeal that this tragedy might open the congregation’s hearts to the suffering of others. That was a key moment for me.”

The committee was equally impressed with Alison’s vision for the church, her commitment to social justice, and her eagerness to be involved in the life of both the congregation and the Westport community.

On Tuesday, Rev. Patton joins the church as its next pastor. Next Sunday (May 6), she will lead her 1st service — at Temple Israel, its temporary home.

Alison comes to Westport from First Church Simsbury. Since 2007, she has served it as associate minister for parish life and outreach. She has been vitally involved in interfaith work, and the town’s homeless shelter. Both are key elements of the Saugatuck Congregational Church’s ministry too.

But Simsbury has a building. Right now — and for months to come — Saugatuck is a church without walls.

That could have driven a way a less intrepid pastor than Alison.

“There’s a lot of rebuilding work ahead,” she admits. “But this is also a key moment. Doors can be opened very creatively. Despite the grief of losing a building, this is a very exciting time for us all.”

When Alison arrives — her family will join her when school ends — she plans to do “plenty of listening.” She laughs, “there are lots of dinners planned. I know I’ll be fed very well!

“I want to immerse myself in routines, and understand from the inside out exactly who this congregation is,” she adds. She hopes to find “ways and places to celebrate together,” and looks forward to “a party or two. Maybe even on the front lawn!”

She is also eager to “know and meet the greater Westport community — the one in which the church lives and breathes.”

As for the church’s bigger vision: “We’ll figure that out together.”

Alison’s style — at least, what those around her would say — is “energetic, creative, and dynamic.” Worship can be quiet, she notes, “but it also needs to move and inspire us.”

She likes collaboration. Some of her best thinking and planning is done in groups.

She is passionate too about “justice, and living a faith that makes a difference in our lives — and others’.”

Ian, Craig, Tobey and Alison Patton.

The move from Simsbury will not be easy. However, Alison says, her husband Craig is a fiction writer who knows that Westport honors the written word. Their sons Tobey (age 9) and Ian (6) have  explored the beach, and the great playground behind the parsonage. (They also love Shake Shack.)

“Our entire family has been so warmly welcomed already,” Alison says. “I think this town will be a great fit for us. People in Westport seem committed to their community, and concerned about their environmental footprint.”

But she knows this town thrives on contention. “It strikes me as politically diverse,” she says. “People make their voices known. I look forward to those conversations.”

One aspect of Alison’s new ministry has not come up much: the fact that she’ll be the 1st female senior minister in the 182-year history of the Saugatuck Congregational Church.

“I don’t think about it,” she says. “My mother and godmother were ministers, and other women in my life were also ministers.” (Her father was a minister too.) “I’m just very used to it.”

This week, the church starts getting used to a new minister. One who is very conscious of storied its past, and very excited to lead it into the promising future.

Farmers With Heart

Sundays behind the Saugatuck Congregational Church:  It’s not your father’s farmers market.

Quietly, quickly and convincingly, the  Sunday Farmers Market has moved far beyond raspberries, rhubarb and goat milk soap.  It’s become a community event — with ripples way beyond our own community.

Every Sunday, organizers distribute paper bags to shoppers.  They’re invited to bring them back next week — filled with food, toiletries and household items.  (Shoppers can also fill the bags right there with produce and other items.)  The bags are then distributed directly to area soup kitchens.

At the end of each Sunday market, all unsold food is given to local food pantries.

But the farmers market folks do far more than hand out food.  They invite community organizations to join them in the Saugatuck Church parking lot.  Today was Metro Kidz, an after-school anti-drug program that teaches life skills to Bridgeport children.  Metro Kidz is affiliated with the Bishop Jean Williams Food Pantry, recipient of this week’s farmers market donations.

Metro Kidz sang gospel songs, providing an unusual — but quite welcome — soundtrack for a farmers market.

Westport non-profits are well represented too.  The Community Garden had a table today, and Bill Meyer was hustling sign-ups for the Westport Sunrise Rotary’s upcoming Great Duck Race.

Of course, mixed in with all the food donations and good-works stuff was this quintessential Westport farmers market scene:

Chef Tor Sporré handed out “Lobster Cooking and Wine Tasting Seminar” flyers.  They included lobster menus — for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Bridgeport's Metro Kidz sing at today's Farmers Market.

Bridgeport's Metro Kidz sing at today's Farmers Market.