WESTPORT — With high-powered work lights illuminating the front of the Saugatuck Congregational Church UCC’s smoke and water damaged sanctuary, the congregation gathered on the front lawn Monday evening with representatives from the wider religious community in a flashlight prayer service. The Rev. Sarah Verasco, Fairfield County Regional Minister, led the worship during which many religious leaders offered words of comfort and support, as well as pledges of assistance as the congregation moves ahead in their recovery from the fire that destroyed much of the rear of the historic building.
Using a portable sound system to speak over the hum of a generator borrowed from the YMCA, Deacon Chair Doug Johnston set a hopeful tone for the evening. Referring to the clinging odor of smoke, he said, “You can smell change in the air tonight, and we hope to make that a far sweeter smell in the future.”
Representatives of several Connecticut Conference churches from both the Fairfield East and Fairfield West associations stood in solidarity with the members of the Saugatuck church, joined by leaders of other faith traditions from Westport and surrounding towns.
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