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First Universalist Rising from the Ashes

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First Universalist Rising from the Ashes - A New Beginning

On the night of March 14, 2015, our beautiful, 178-year-old church, located on the bend in Southold, burned to the ground, despite the heroic efforts of firefighters from across the North Fork.

After eight years of determination and perseverance, we finally broke ground for our new building on July 22, 2023.

Even without a “home of our own,” First Universalist Church of Southold has continued to provide a hub for lifespan, interfaith and humanist education, community care and outreach, social networks, local organizations, and the visual and performing arts. Rebuilding on our original site will allow us to continue our legacy as a center for individual search for meaning and a welcoming community.

Whoever you are, whomever you love, whatever you believe, we welcome you!

We Thrive…

While working through the challenging process of a new construction project, and with the support of our entire community, we have continued with worship services, church activities, and meetings. We partner with and support local organizations on regional and global issues, including LGBTQ rights, immigration, and the environment. Even during the peak of the COVID pandemic, we supported the needs of our local community with drive-through/drop-off collections on the church grounds.

When our new building is completed, we look forward to renewing our old traditions, including hosting our annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner, supporting Maureen’s Haven, providing art shows and concerts, and sharing our space with local organizations.

 Community Thanksgiving Dinner in old parish hall

Heritage and Vision…

For the past eight years, we have worked steadily toward rebuilding – it has been a slow, deliberate process. We are located in the historic section of the town, and our church will be the first new construction in Southold’s historic district since the district was established. We are very mindful of this, and have been consulting with the Southold Historic Preservation Commission and Town Board. At the gateway to the hamlet of Southold from the west, our new building will once again herald entry to the historic district for both visitors and residents alike. Our design team has worked closely with Southold Town to create a beautiful new landmark that echoes our old building while looking forward to serving the needs of the community in the future.

While we recognize that we cannot afford to build an exact replica of our old church, we wanted to do our best to build a church that will complement the architecture of the surrounding district, honor the history of our place in the community, and serve once again as a welcoming beacon on the North Fork, while at the same time respecting the environment and providing a legacy for future generations.

New Building Highlights

• Flexible sanctuary space for services, performances, weddings, lectures, seminars, education and contemplation,
• Community space with full kitchen for events, social service projects, art shows, receptions and meetings,
• Meeting room/library flex space,
• Sun-filled entry and gathering spaces,
• Reconfigured, handicap-accessible parking, entries and outdoor spaces,
• Inspirational worship space.

Our Goal

Over the past eight years, our fundraising efforts have been ongoing, including capital campaign efforts, GoFundMe, concerts, yard sales, and matching gifts. Adding to the project delays, the COVID pandemic caused government and industry shutdowns, and resulted in exponential increases in construction costs for labor and materials. This increase necessitated a reduction of the project scope. Even with that reduction, the final project budget has risen from $2.4M to $2.8M. We have set a GoFundMe goal of $400,000 to cover that increase. With your help and support, we will be able to: build a sanctuary/fellowship hall that will serve the needs of the community; incorporate “green” technology that will reduce our environmental footprint; include some of the original sanctuary’s historic architectural features, such as the Palladian-style windows that were the most striking characteristic of the old church; and cover the cost of the new building code upgrades required by federal, state and county agencies.
Rebuilding a Place for Worship and Community

First Universalist Church of Southold will always be a place of worship open to people of all backgrounds, cultures and beliefs, who share common values and principles. We are a Unitarian Universalist LGBTQ Welcoming Congregation, believing in and supporting the rights of all individuals, of all gender-identities.

North Fork Pride Parade, Greenport, 2023

First Universalist has long served the Southold community as a place that provides relief for those in need; a place where local groups can hold meetings and events; where families can find meaningful programs for their children and youth; and where local artists and musicians can share their talents. Upon completion, our new fellowship hall will once again serve as a center for social action, community support programs, and cultural events.

To learn more about us, please visit our website:
And keep track of our progress at 51900 Main Road, Southold.

This campaign was put together by our Fund-Raising Committee. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at the church's email address, available on our website.

Thank you for your support.
Susan Pond, Treasurer
First Universalist Church of Southold
PO Box 221
Southold, NY 11971


  • Donya VanBuren
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Susan Pond
Southold, NY

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