The Town of Babylon is ceremoniously renaming a Copiague street in honor of a historical church.
The stretch of Simmons Street between Arthur Street and Simmons’ eastern dead-end will be renamed Bethel Lane in honor of the nearly 200-year-old Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The church, whose motto is “We Are Challenged by Faith and Guided by Love,” is located on Simmons Street.
Copiague’s Bethel AME church is the oldest African American church on Long Island. It was formed in North Amityville in 1815 but relocated to Copiague in 1965 after a fire damaged the church. Another fire in 1989 destroyed the original building, which was vacant at the time.
Town spokesman Tim Ruggeri said the renaming is intended “to recognize the contributions the church has made to the surrounding community over the last almost 200 years.”
He said that the church maintains a food pantry, holds food drives and has also implemented youth programs to keep kids out of gangs.