The history of Gethsemane Church as of all Christian churches dates back to 33 AD, to the time when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles during Pentecost.
Gethsemane Christian Evangelical Church is formed on the basis of the first apostolic church structure. It is a Church of home churches.
Colossians 4:15 “Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea and also Nympha and the church that is in her house.”
Philemon 1:2 “ and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house”
Gethsemane church holds personal lifestyle in accordance with the Gospel of Christ to be of paramount priority.
Phillipians 1:27 “ Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…”
1. THE LAUNCH OF GETHSEMANE CHURCH MINISTRY
Gethsemane Church began to minister as a congregation in Lviv in 1994 after a united crusade of Pentecostal and Baptist Unions along with Billy Graham team’s evangelist Victor Gamm.
Upon the crusade in April, 1994, the converts were accumulated into five Bible study groups called “The First Steps of a Christian”. One of such groups, consisting of 11 members, held its meetings at Petrushevich Palace of Culture. Over the next six months the converts in the group doubled and “Gethsemane” First Baptist Church was registered. Illya Shmilikhovskiy (Baptist Union pastor) was ordained to be the first pastor of the church
2. CHURCH GROWTH AND ESTABLISHMENT
When the summer of 1994 was coming to its end, the Baptist Union leadership granted permission to preach at the church to Mr. M.Blessing. Mr. Blessing came from the east of Ukraine, and being unoccupied held a request to the Regional senior presbyter І.M. Romanyuk for granting him a ministry opportunity.
Pastor I.I. Shmilikhovskiy was transferred to ministry in Ternopil, so the leadership of the Baptist union trusted Mr. Blessing the general ministry of the church.
In the march of 1995, Gethsemane church took the status of an independent church.
Since 1994 many people have come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour through the message of the Gospel preached at Gethsemane Church.
In 2000 Valeriy Marchenko was ordained a new senior pastor of the church and Gethsemane’s fellowship with other Christian churches of various denominations of Lviv was restored. The brotherly relationship with the founding Baptist church and the brotherly Pentecostal churches, partakers of the 1994 crusade, was regained.
Thus, celebrating Gethsemane’s 10th anniversary, the representatives of the Baptist and Pentecostal Unions shared whole-heartedly the memories of the united crusade of 1994 and the founding of Gethsemane Church.
God has brought about many wonderful changes in Gethsemane over the last years. God has given a vision to senior pastor Valeriy Marchenko for the ministry of peace, understanding and reconciliation amongst churches of various denominations, which embrace the authority of the Word of God as of foremost priority in life and ministry.
Nowadays, Gethsemane church keeps up a friendly relationship with many Christian churches of Lviv and Ukraine, as well as in many other countries of the world regardless of denominations.
Our church was one of the founders of the monthly united prayer meeting of pastors from Evangelical churches of Lviv. Currently, there are pastors from 19 churches, who come together to pray for Ukraine, Lviv and Christian churches in the city.
III “GETHSEMANE” TODAY
In 2001 God granted the church a chance to buy its own building – a former unit of the TV tube factory. The building was in broken and ruined condition without electricity, water and gas. The building was purchased for the offerings, collected by church youth in Houston, Texas(USA) – 80 % and 20% collected by the church members.
During 2001 – 2002 the administrative extension of the building was renovated by sole means of the church‘s own physical resources and for the only offerings of the church members. The renovation resulted in 5 rooms on the 2nd floor for Children’ s Club and Sunday school, a small sanctuary hall for 110 people and setting up of all engineering lines for electricity, water and gas were .
At the end of April, 2003 God gave pastor and church members a vision, announced during the common fast and prayer , that Gethsemane Church was to be a prayerful church similar in structure to the church of the apostles – a church of home churches.
Currently, up to 150 people attend Gethsemane services and many church members do yearly commitments for ministry.
IV. FRIENDS AND PARTNERS OF “GETHSEMANE”
- We are in a friendly relationship with all churches of all denominations of Lviv, particularly with the youth and leadership of Ukrainian Greek – Catholic University, Ukrainian Greek – Catholic Church, Ukrainian Orthodox and Autocephalous Churches.
- We have a long-lasting and cordial relationship with a Christian organization “HART” – president Lloyd Cenaiko
- Gethsemane Church has a long-lasting relationship of friendship and partnership with “Centre Street Church” (Calgary, Canada), which has quite a number of members, whose parents or grandparents were born and grew up in the Western Ukraine.
- Apart from that, we keep up a friendly relationship with Evangelical churches of Germany, Sweden, Scotland, England, USA, Canada, Israel, Russia and Belarus.
- In 2008 Gethsemane church joined to serve God together in partnering relationship with Salvation Church, Vishneve, Kiev region, pastor Phillip Savochka, and the Church of God union, headed by Bishop Vitaliy Voznyuk.
The main goal of the partnership is to serve God in His kingdom in Ukraine.
We are open to fellowship and ministry in God’s field with all Christian churches, regardless of denominations, which believe in the priority of the Gospel in all ways of daily life and ministry to the Lord Jesus.