The Villager Voice

One of the books I’m reading in preparation for sabbatical is a breezy and colloquial survey of the development of contemporary Hawai’i.  Unfamiliar Fishes is written by Sarah Vowell, an historian and journalist whose work has been principally featured on NPR’s This American Life; her specialty is some of the more curious corners of American history.  In her book she looks at three distinct factors in the transformation of the Sandwich Islands to the Hawai’i we know today: the missionary efforts of New England Congregationalists (the focus of my study); the whaling industry, which saw the islands as a delightful port of call and served as an effective and more than a little unsettling cultural  counterweight to the puritanical influence of the missionaries; and the US government, particularly the military, which understood the strategic position of the islands vis a vis American  expansionism. 

It’s a very approachable read, and I had to smile when I came to a part of her story where she describes and bemoans the missionaries’ importation of New England style architecture in a place that was built of little more than straw huts.  “It can be unsettling,” she writes, “to take a thirteen hour flight from the East Coast to Maui only to turn a corner and stumble upon a scene straight out of Old Saybrook.”

Speaking of our little corner of Connecticut, major props to the selection of The Rev. Amy Hollis as Zip06’s Person of the Week.  A colleague of mine, Amy is the director of the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantry and she’s done a wonderful job keeping so many different moving parts operating so smoothly and effectively.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read the article here:

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United Church of Chester, 29 West Main Street, Chester, CT 06412. (860) 526-2697


From the North: Take CT Route 9 South to Exit 8 (old exit 6) (CT 148). Turn left; we are 1 mile on the right.


From the South: Take CT Route 9 North to Exit 8 (old exit 6) (CT 148). Turn Right; we are .8 miles on the right.

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Church Office:

Tuesday - Friday 9-1


Minister's Hours:

Wednesday  - Friday



Mailing Address:  

Post Office Box 383, Chester, CT 06412


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29 West Main Street, Chester, CT 06412





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