The Friendship Missionary Baptist Church was founded on May 17, 1964 by The Rev. William H. Hall. The charter members were Mother Belle Hall, Deacon Louis Byrd, Deacon Charlie Moore, Louis Bentley, Clara Byrd, James Cannon, Anne Cannon, Gladys Griffin, Leo Griffin, Priscilla Griffin, Hosea Jenkins, Delores Jinks, Sadie Johnson, Sarah Senior, Mary Smith, and James Walston. The name “Friendship” was given by Mother Belle Hall, the wife of Rev. Hall, the founding pastor. Friendship Church worshiped in various locations until purchasing a house of worship at 280 Star Street. On November 30, 1976, The Reverend William Hall was called from labor to reward.
The Late Rev. Julian Taylor served as Interim Minister until the congregation called the Reverend James Curtis Johnson in September of 1977. Under Reverend Johnson’s ministry Friendship Baptist Church flourished, necessitating the need for a larger facility. On August 1, 1993, the church held its first worship service at its current facility, 26 Edwards Street. At 26 Edwards Street, Friendship gained close to 8000 square feet of space to conduct its worship services and various ministries, including a sanctuary that seats from 350-400, a Fellowship hall that seats 120, additional office space, and a parking lot with space for 60 automobiles. After thirty years of faithful service, Reverend Johnson retired, effective June, 30, 2008. The church voted to appoint Reverend Brian Bellamy to serve as the Interim Pastor, effective July 1, 2008.
On April 3, 2009, The Friendship Missionary Baptist Church prayerfully and unanimously voted that Reverend Bellamy become the church’s third Pastor. Under Reverend Bellamy’s leadership, the church has adopted a mission to “Reach-up in worship to God; Reach-in to demonstrate love to one another, and to Reach-out to serve the community.” Thus far under Rev. Dr. Bellamy’s tenure the church has been blessed to become debt-free through early mortgage payoff; to acquire additional investment property for future development; and to revive old ministries and create new ministries in service to God, church and community. Most importantly many souls have been saved and added to the church.
The Reverend Doctor Brian Odem Bellamy, a New Haven, Connecticut native, is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned a Master of Divinity Degree with a concentration in Theology and Ethics from Yale University Divinity School in 2005 and a second Master of Sacred Theology Degree with a concentration in Religious Social Ethics in 2006 from the same institution. On September 5, 2016, he successfully defended his dissertation for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Theology and Ethics from The University of Exeter (U.K.), in conjunction with Hartford Seminary.
Reverend Bellamy is the Senior Pastor of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church of Hamden, Connecticut where he began service as the Interim Pastor in 2008. He was installed as the Senior Pastor in 2009. Thus far in his tenure, the church has experienced tremendous growth to include over 200 new disciples, and the development of new programs to support the membership and the community. Additionally, the congregation has been blessed to retire its mortgage two years early, and to purchase adjacent property for future development.
Reverend Bellamy is a member of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, The American Baptist Churches of Connecticut, and has served as the Second Vice President for the New England Missionary Baptist Convention, Inc. Outside of the church, Reverend Bellamy is a Faculty Associate at the University of New Haven where he teaches courses on Philosophy, Sociology, and Civil Rights in the Department of Global Studies. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Windmill Foundation, a charitable organization based in Darien, Connecticut.
Reverend Bellamy is married to Dr. Ashley Myrick Bellamy, a native of Columbia, Maryland. Sister Ashley received a Bachelor of Science degree from Morgan State University, and received her Medical Doctorate from Boston University School of Medicine. As of June 2019, she has completed Obstetrician and Gynecology Residency at Bridgeport Hospital: Yale-New Haven Health System. She has since begun work as an OB/GYN Physician at Southwest Community Health Center of Bridgeport, CT. She is a praying woman who loves to worship God. Pastor Brian and Dr. Ashley are parents of two young daughters, Dessie Lee and Ruby Grace.