Old Quogue Road in Riverside will take on an additional name soon: Pastor Roy L. Pennon Sr. Way.
Until his death on Christmas Eve 2016, the Rev. Pennon had been pastor of Galilee Church of God in Christ on Old Quogue Road, which he founded in 1975.
The Southampton Town Board recently approved the honorary street naming in the pastor’s honor and the new sign will be installed in a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 6, at 11 a.m., according to his widow, Lillian Pennon, who is also the church administrator.
The street naming is considered an honorary or secondary street name, so residents won’t have to change their addresses, according to Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.
“I was elated when I heard they were naming the street for my husband,” Ms. Pennon said in an interview. “We’ve been trying to do this since last year.”
She said a member of their church who is also a town employee suggested the idea.
The Rev. Pennon was born Feb. 8, 1943, into a large but poor family in Idadel, Okla., and moved to Center Moriches in 1961.
“He came to New York with a friend and the rest was history,” Ms. Pennon said. “I think because he was so underprivileged and didn’t have a lot, his family put morals in him.”
Ms. Pennon met her husband in 1961 and they got married in 1963 and have three grown children.
After the Rev. Pennon was ordained, the couple bought what was then a small church in Riverside and started Galilee Church of God in Christ.
The church building was a lot smaller back then.
“It was a quarter of the size it is now,” Ms. Pennon said. It wasn’t until about 13 years ago that the current church was completed, she added.
“We built this church without a mortgage,” she said. “We built it as we got the money. It was amazing.”
They started building the new church in 1997.
Today, the church can hold 500 to 600 people, she said, adding that her husband’s funeral drew even more people than that.
In 2003, the Galilee Church held its first Block Party on Old Quogue Road, a tradition that continues today.
“It’s a block party for the people of the community to get to know one another,” the pastor told the News-Review in a 2003 interview.
He said that, at the time, people often asked him why he wanted to put a church in that location, where there have been problems with crime and drugs.
“I didn’t want to run from the problems,” he said. “These are the people I’m trying to reach.”
The annual block party closes down Old Quogue Road and features games and face painting for kids, serves hamburgers and hot dogs and even provides free school supplies for local children, Ms. Pennon said.
The church also serves hot dinners to people at Christmas and donates toys, coats and hats to kids, she said. Those items are donated by local businesses and organizations. In addition, the church operates a food pantry that is open Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Town Board resolution to approve the road naming said this about the Rev. Pennon: “His life serves as a reminder for all to live with integrity, walk in love and live by example, just as he did.”