We know that all things work together for good for those who love

To the Members of the Congregation:
The Boards of Deacons and Trustees enthusiastically and unanimously voted to approve the nomination by the Senior Misister Search Comittee of
the Rev. Dr. Stephen Chapin Garner for the position of Senior Minister.
On Sunday, April 19, Rev. Dr. Garner will preach
a Call Sermon at the 9:30am worship service. Immediately after the service, a special congregational meeting will be held to affirm this recommendation.
We look forward to seeing you all in the Meeting
House on the 19th - a most important and joyful
day in the history of our church.
Ralph Davies, Senior Deacon
Tim Ford, Chair, Board of Trsutees
Senior Minister Search Committee:
Eileen Thomas, Chair
Barb Clayton, Vice Chair
Joellen Ford
Margery Gardner
Tony Kiniry
Harry Rein
Mark Tedford
Tom Woodard
We know that all things work together
for good for those who love God, who
are called according to his purpose.
- Romans 8:28
The Congregational Church
of New Canaan
23 Park Street
New Canaan, CT 06840
The Rev. Dr. Stephen
Chapin Garner, who goes by
Chapin, will bring 18 years of
ministerial experience to New
Canaan. He has been Pastor of
the Norwell United Church of
Christ for the past 14 years, and
spent the four prior years as the
associate minister at Wellesley
Congregational Church. In addition, Chapin has served for
two weeks in each of the last five
summers as Resident Preacher
at Church at Point O’Woods on
Fire Island.
Chapin received a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Expressions from Gettysburg College in 1992. After working for two years
at Lehman Brothers as a stock broker, Chapin went to Divinity School
at the Boston University School of Theology, where he received a Master
of Divinity (cum laude) in Theology and Drama, graduating in 1997. In
2006, Chapin was awarded a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching degree from
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts. He
serves as an Adjunct Professor in Preaching and Pastoral Studies at Boston
University School of Theology.
Chapin understands relationships to be the foundation for effective pastoring, and his preaching and teaching excellence builds on this
same foundation. Chapin is a compelling preacher – he treats preaching as
both a science and an art, and preaching was the focus of his Doctorate in
Ministry. His background
and interest in drama help
him bring the Word alive
in a compelling way.
Chapin has a clear
leadership record. He has
helped to build the Norwell United Church of
Christ into a vibrant and
dynamic faith community,
significantly increasing its
membership, worship attendance, ministry engagement, and stewardship during
his tenure.
Chapin’s theology is mainstream
protestant, unapologetically Christ-centered, open to people of all beliefs, and
supportive of moderate Christians and
congregations. He is inspired by Frederick Buechner, Walter Brueggemann,
C. S. Lewis, and N. T. Wright – each of
them distinguished protestant theologians and thinkers.
Chapin is the author of six pub- “Then they said, ‘Let’s start
lications:. His most recent include: Scat- building!’ So they committed
tering Seeds: Cultivating Church Vitality, themselves to the common good.”
- Nehemiah 2:18
2011; and As The Spirit Moves, 2013.
Chapin is committed to his wife
and children in a loving, church-oriented family. He and his wife Tammie
have been married for 23 years. Tammie is a practicing attorney, formerly
a commercial litigator. She received a J.D., cum laude, from Boston University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Gettysburg College. Tammie enjoys cooking, gardening, singing in the choir,
history, politics, and attending theatre.
Chapin and Tammie have two children: Sam, 15, and Emma, 14.
Sam is the President of his freshman class, plays baseball (lefty pitcher),
tennis, and is active in his church youth group. Emma plays basketball
(point guard) and tennis; she enjoys art (particularly drawing), and is
also active in church youth group.
The Garners enjoy traveling together as a family, particularly
traditional summer
vacations with Chapin’s family in Canandaigua Lake, NY and
Tammie’s family in
Ocean Grove on the
Jersey Shore.
writing, reading, playing tennis, boating,
and fishing.
Senior Minister Search Committee:
Personal Perspectives
On leadership: “Chapin sets goals and has no shortage of energy to pursue
them. He also believes deeply in the Holy Spirit and its active role in guiding our lives and our institutions. He listens well. He leads with a maturity
and inclusiveness that impresses. And he gets results.” – Tom Woodard
On the importance of building relationships: “Chapin has a very natural, casual,
trusting - and trustworthy - style, and his passion for relationship building
is a demonstrated strength. When you are in Chapin’s presence, you feel
God’s presence, whether he is speaking or listening.”
– Barb Clayton
On Chapin‘s energy and aspirations: “Chapin has infectious enthusiasm for
the Bible and he drives that enthusiasm for the Bible into ‘faith in action’.
He aspires to live out his faith and think, every day, about what he is doing
to improve the common good.” – Tony Kiniry
On preaching approach: “Chapin’s sermons are articulate, thoughtful and
engaging. His sure spirituality is always at the center of his message. Chapin lives the advice he was given as a young seminarian: ‘Preach with excellence and love the people and the rest will follow.’” – Margery Gardner
On theology and faith in practice: “Chapin offers an infectious and compelling
brand of Protestant theology that is at once open to all inquirers yet unapologetically Christ-centered to appeal to those wishing to take their personal
faith journey to the next level of transformation.” – Mark Tedford
On Chapin’s fit in our faith community: “The notion that our new senior
minister needed ‘to be one of us’ resonated with the SMSC. As we got to
know Chapin and his family, we came to believe that he will be a spiritual
leader, a pastor and a peer – and we believe the whole family will be very
comfortable making New Canaan its home.” – Harry Rein
On building community: “Chapin has built his church community by bringing people together and teaching them how to care for each other. When
you talk with him, you truly feel his sincere interest in you. Chapin’s faith is
authentic; he is trusting and so spiritually grounded it’s contagious. He has a
peaceful presence about him that is calming, yet inspiring.” – Joellen Ford
On Pastoral Instincts: “Chapin has a wisdom and humility about him that
stems from his unwavering trust in God’s will for his life and his leadership. He has the faith and the courage to listen for and act on God’s call.
He ends every conversation by asking what concerns he can hold in prayer
for you.” – Eileen Thomas