The Congregational Church of New Canaan has a new senior minister. On April 19, the Rev. Stephen Chapin Garner was unanimously approved as the 19th senior minister at the Park Street house of worship. Garner will begin his pastorate in September.

"I have come to the firm belief that we are indeed well matched, and that we've not only been called together, but I actually think that somehow, wondrously, the Holy Spirit has been preparing us for each other. And I firmly believe that our future ministry together is filled -- absolutely filled -- with boundless opportunities," the minister said in a sermon on the morning of the announcement.

Garner comes to New Canaan from United Church of Christ Norwell in Norwell, Mass., where he has been senior minister for 14 years. A graduate of Gettysburg College (bachelor's, religious expression, 1992), Boston University School of Theology (master's, cum laude, theology and drama, 1997), and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (doctorate, preaching, 2006) Garner has 18 years of ministerial experience. He is the author of several publications, including his most recent works, "Scattering Seeds: Cultivating Church Vitality," 2011; and "As The Spirit Moves," 2013.

Garner and his wife, Tammie, have been married for 23 years and have two children, Sam, 15, and Emma, 14. The Garners said they are looking forward to moving to New Canaan and becoming a part of the community, according to a release.

Garner will end up at the New Canaan church after nearly two years of work by the members of the Senior Minister Search Committee: Eileen Thomas, chairwoman; Barb Clayton, vice chairwoman; and Joellen Ford, Margery Gardner, Tony Kiniry, Harry Rein, Mark Tedford, and Tom Woodard, all active members of the church.

"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," Rein said.

More Information

Fact box

To learn more about the Congregational Church of New Canaan, visit www.godsacre.org.