628 Main Street
Stamford, CT 06901
St. John’s is on this list for many good reasons, but given its location, it would not qualify except for a trolley. The area around Stamford Harbor, at least the West Branch, has undergone a major transformation. Today the community known as Harbor Point is flourishing and on the west branch there are two marinas one I am very high on, Anchor Point Marina (see Eric, the Marina director). You will need a dingy to get across the west branch and then up to the trolley. Now you may think this sounds like a lot of work, but if you are in Stamford, it is worth it.
St. John’s is the most welcoming parish I have ever had the pleasure of attending. People surround you with welcome, especially at the peace where they go out of their way to meet you. This large church initially built to be a cathedral church for the south section of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, never entirely made that lofty status but left behind was a small but exuberant parish, This parish takes on activities and events like it was a congregation of 3,000. The fact that maybe fifty people show up to a significant Taizé isn’t important what matters is that there were people who heard the music. There are few parishioners I admire as much as this group, and you will thoroughly enjoy the service but also the surroundings and the music.
The church is large and the stained glass very interesting, a mix of classic and contemporary. It can be jarring at first, but I urge you to study the windows there are some real gems hiding there! One word for traditionalist there is no doxology at the presentation of the gifts, and because two lessons are usually read before the gospel, the service runs a bit long.
St. John’s is one of those parish churches which stayed committed to downtown Stamford when the city was decaying. With the guidance of a very effective vestry and enthusiastic clergy, the parish is being reworded for their loyalty to the city and growing again. In addition to the regular Sunday service St. John’s is also home to French/Haitian and Spanish Masses.
For years Stamford was a place no one went unless they needed to catch an Amtrak train. Today the city is flourishing. You can choose to walk to some excellent restaurants near St. Johns or jump on the free trolley back to the harbor and grab brunch at one of the fine spots like Sign of the Whale, which offers a very interesting and flavorful brunch or Bareburger with great burgers (including Bison) and craft beers. Both these restaurants and their neighboring competitors have outside dining and are dog-friendly. Also in this area is Fortina’s which offers excellent Italian food but is noisy and often crowded and World of Beer which is excellent if you have a craving for pub food.