As an East Hampton congregation settles into the St. David A.M.E. Zion Church in Sag Harbor, it becomes part of the Eastville Community-based church's 170 year tradition.
Nestled in the historic community, the 1839 church stands on its original location. Its founding trustees, like Lewis Cuffee, a Montauket Native-American from a whaling family, were prominent members of the African-American and Native American community in the whaling port. Later, it served as a stop on the Underground Railroad and can now be found on the National Register of Historic Places.
Though its own congregation disbanded, it has become the temporary home of a number of congregations.
St. David was also home to the East Hampton-based Triune Baptist Church about 10 years ago. “We feel that we have come full circle but at the same time putting us closer to our proverbial promised land,” said Triune Pastor the Rev. Mike Jackson.
Before returning to St. David, Triune Baptist held their services at the Neighborhood House in East Hampton. During their first service on April 3, Jackson said, “We’re excited to be in our new home and I think we look good in here too.”
Jackson was installed as pastor of Triune Baptist in September of last year. He said he knew Rev. Thomas MacLeod of the United Methodist Church of Sag Harbor, which met there after the historic Madison Street church was sold, and before the new church on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike was completed last fall.
Jackson said he spoke to officials within AME Zion, many of whom he knew since he started his ministry there, and they were gracious enough to allow Triune Baptist to rent the building.
Jackson spoke about how much he and his congregation appreciated the rich history of St. David. He told the poignant story of how it was a part of the Underground Railroad and used to free and hide of slaves. “We really are thankful to God that he has allowed us to be a part of this rich history,” he said. “We don’t take it for granted”
Speaking about the future of his church he said, “We thank God for all who have helped along the way but we think it’s time now to step up and do something on our own.”
Triune Baptist has a lot along Route 114 between Sag Harbor and East Hampton, which for many years has displayed a sign that reads, “Future Site of Triune Baptist Church,.” Now, Jackson said, “We are establishing to be more steadfast and focused on building the church.” He said, “We’re only planning to be here for about two years.”
The congregation has applied for nonprofit status and has an engineering plan at the Suffolk County Department of Health. “Our hope is that we can break ground by the end of summer," Jackson said.
Jackson said he believes, “We will get help from the outside when they see us doing something for ourselves.”