The Third Congregational Society (Unity Chapel) was founded in 1867, following a public invitation from Reverend A. P. Putnam. Thirteen "residents of Central Brooklyn of liberal conviction" met at 292 Ryerson Street, home of James Whiting, on September 30, 1867 to organize the church. The first religious services were held the following Sunday, October 6th, in a room over a fish market at the corner of Classon and Fulton Avenues. Two services were held that day - a morning service by Rev. Dr. F. A. Farley and an evening service by Rev. Putnam - with each service being attended by about 50 people. The Sunday school for the nascent congregation first met on October 29, 1867, at a hall on Classon Avenue, under the direction of R. Foster. The Third Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn was formally organized on December 3, 1867, at a meeting of about 30 congregants. By the end of 1867, the Society had approximately 75 congregants.1
Through a subscription organized by Rev. Putnam among his own parishoners, $10,000 was raised for the new congregation in February of 1868. The American Unitarian Association added another $5,000, and with the funds the Third Society purchased seven lots on Classon Avenue and Lefferts Street. The cornerstone for the church was laid on September 4, 1868, and dedication services were held on December 9, 1868. The finished building, including the land purchase, cost $25,716.2 An article in the Brooklyn Eagle describes purchase of lots at Classon and Lefferts and construction of a chapel, designed by Field & Son. Article also describes a contemplated church, to be constructed in the future. The chapel is described as being on Classon, near Lefferts. 3
Rev. Stephen H. Camp of Toledo, Ohio, was installed as the first pastor for the Society on October 6, 1869.4 The Third Unitarian Congregational Society (Unity Chapel) was organized on September 30, 1867, and their first Sabbath services were held on October 6th of that year in the Oxford Hall on Classon Avenue. A Sunday-school was established on October 29, 1867, at the same hall. Seven lots were purchased on Classon Avenue and Lefferts Street, and designs and plans for a chapel were contributed by Wm. Field & Son. On September 4th the cornerstone was laid, and the completed building, known as "Unity Chapel," was dedicated on December 9, 1868; the new chapel cost, inclusive of lots, $25,716. On October 6, 1869, the Rev. Stephen H. Camp, of Toledo, Ohio, was installed as the society's first pastor.
"In 1886, the society purchased the former Irving Music Hall, located at Gates Avenue and Irving Place. The building was given a more "churchly appearance" with the addition of a port and tower, plus other improvements. In 1932, the building was sold to the Cornerstone Baptist Church." 5
- 1Henry Reed Stiles, History of the City of Brooklyn (Brooklyn, NY: published by subscription, 1870), Volume 3: 783-784.
- 2Stiles, 784.
- 3"The Preachers of Brooklyn: Number 18 - The Rev. Stephen H. Camp", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 8 July 1869 (pg. 2).
- 4Stiles, 784.
- 5"Third Unitarian Congregational Society", New York City Organ Project, http://www.nycago.org/Organs/Bkln/html/ThirdUnitarian.html, accessed February 19, 2016.
597 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238