Featured Letter: Fond memories of First Universalist Church

03/20/2015 6:00 AM |
The interior of First Universalist Church of Southold during a service in the 1980s. (Credit: The Southold Historical Society)

The interior of First Universalist Church of Southold during a service in the 1980s. (Credit: The Southold Historical Society)

To the editor:

It is with a heavy heart that I write of the loss of the First Universalist Church. My family, the Terrys and Goldsmiths, were founding members in 1835. It started as a church, then disbanded and became the Lyceum Association in 1863, according to the book “North Fork Nostalgia,” a collection of stories from the scrapbooks of Becky Terry. It gained an enviable reputation putting on plays. The church had a Gothic Palladian window over the front entrance, the only one of its kind. 

In 1926, Edith Prellwitz painted “The Coming of Light,” a scene of Jesus helping a man and a woman. The church resumed services in the mid-1870s. In 1961, the Universalists and Unitarians merged to become the U.U. Association.

I have fond memories of going to Sunday school there and then becoming a Sunday school teacher. I sang in the choir as did my grandfather, Rensselaer Terry Sr., who also grew gladiolus to put in the church. This church always had as its creed, “We believe in the supreme worth of every human personality.”

All are welcome there.

May this congregation continue its good work in a new place.

Barbara Charnews, Centerport

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