Prince George's Gateway Ministries celebrates 40 years
Gateway Christian Ministries has been part of Prince George for 40 years, an anniversary it celebrates this weekend.
Tim Osiowy has been part of Gateway for 39 years.
So, no, he isn’t one of the founders, but he’s pretty close.
“The original pastor was Ed Funk,” Osiowy says. “He was the one who got the core group together.”
He was also the one who got Osiowy to come out and become the pastor, but he wasn’t the first to call Osiowy to Prince George.
“I’m from Saskatchewan, and I was out here in 1967, working in construction. I heard God speak to me about coming back to the community.”
Osiowy went to college and became a pastor. When Funk called him in 1972, he was ready.
“For the first 10 years, we had a business as well as the church. I was still doing construction.”
That changed in the early 1980s, he says.
“We exploded with people in the early years. We had about 150 people to start, and by 1981 or 82 we had grown to about 600.”
The original church site on Ospika Boulevard was too small, so they built a new church on 20th Avenue, where they are still today.
“We went from 5,000 square feet to 17,000 square feet,” Osiowy says. “Later, we built a school and some other ministries in this area.”
The 40th anniversary celebration will be held at the Coast Inn of the North on May 21, with a stand-up reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Dan Burr is the featured entertainer.
Osiowy says the celebration is part of a full weekend of activities at the church.
“We’re hosting a World Impact Conference from Sunday to Tuesday. Since we started the church here, we’ve planted churches in Williams Lake, Quesnel, Hudson Hope, Tumbler Ridge, Mackenzie, Smithers, Terrace and Kitimat.
“We’ve also had former members start churches as far east as Thunder Bay, and a number have gone overseas.”
Osiowy isn’t sure how many of the founding members of the church in Prince George will be at the reception on Saturday.
“I think there are about a half-dozen of the original members still here,” he said, “but some of them have limited mobility now, so I’m not sure if they will be coming.”
The cost of the reception is a minimum donation of $20 a person (which doesn’t actually cover the costs). Any extra funds received will go to the Gateway Legacy Fund.
To sign up for the reception, call 250-563-1003.