Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bellport Celebrates 50 Years on May 4th

In response to an advertisement placed in The Patchogue Advance in 1957, a group of Patchogue and Bellport residents met at the Patchogue Hotel to consider forming a lay-led Unitarian Fellowship. They sought to establish a supportive, spiritual community and provide religious education for their children. Many of those who formed this gathering were people employed at Brookhaven National Laboratory who resettled in the area.

Their first Sunday meeting was held in the Patchogue Hotel on the morning of April 14. In June 1957, the group voted to rent the YMCA building on South Ocean Ave. in Patchogue for their Sunday School and Fellowship meetings. The rent was $100. yearly. Soon, an official membership in the American Unitarian Association was approved under the name of Community Fellowship of South Suffolk.

By September of 1958, the need for more adequate quarters motivated the establishment of a building fund and a committee was formed in 1959 to find home for the Fellowship. A house was found in Bellport Village at 51 Browns Lane. After several delays, in 1961 the property was purchased by the Fellowship. It was not until 1990 that the name was officially changed to The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bellport.

Over the past 50 years, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has become an integral part of the community. The South Country Peace Group, founded by members, works tirelessly for Peace along with other church groups such as Pax Christi. Women in Black, also founded by members, who vigil every week since 2003, in Bellport, Patchogue, Sayville and Shirley, for the loss of life in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Every year, our members adopt two needy families from the community who receive food and gifts for the holidays. Every week for years, their food basket contributions are donated to the needy in the community. Their rooms have been meeting place for many support groups. The Bay Gallery has been an outlet for the artistic talents of many local residents. Their doors are open to all.

On Sunday, May 4th, present members of the congregation and those who have moved to distant places will come together at 51 Browns Lane to recall their 50 years of service and anticipate ways in which they will continue to serve the community for the next 50 years.

Doris Wilk