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Gambell Church

Gambell Village
Presbyterians Today

Gambell, Alaska is a roadless Eskimo village. It is only accessible by small plane. Everything from mail to canned food has to be brought in by plane. The village is located in the north Bering Sea 35 miles east of Siberia. The Gambell Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) has a strong and constant presence in Gambell since 1894. The church serves the subsistence community of 660.

Dr. Sheldon Jackson saw the need to establish a school and a mission for the Siberian-Yipiks in the village of Gambell. In 1891 he built a school house and teacher's home. Three years later the Rev. and Mrs. Vene C. Gambell went to the remote village-35 miles east of Siberia, 185 miles West of Nome, AK. After the birth of their first child, the Gambells returned to the United States for medical treatment. On their way back to the St. Lawrence Island in May of 1898, their boat sank. The Gambells drowned in the cold arctic waters. The native Christians named their village Gambell to commemorate their Presbyterian missionaries. Today Gambell Presbyterian Church serves a subsistence village of Yupik Eskimos in Gambell and natives in Provideniya and the outlying villages in the Russian Far East. It has been a beacon of hope for a century.

For many decades the church has ministered to the needy, the sick, and the underserved. Today, that mission lives on. We continue to offer hope to the hopeless and service to the underserved. The church provides tangible and concrete services to socially disenfranchised, economically disadvantaged, and culturally marginalized members of the community. Our ministries empower the people through the living Word and hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gambell ChurchIn addition to regular Sunday worship, prayer meetings, fellowships, adult and children Sunday school, the church also provides counseling sessions, crisis intervention, and substance abuse prevention education. The native suicide rate is 400% higher than non-native groups. The church is trying to curtail this trend. A young native male is seven times more likely to die from an accident than his non-native counterparts. We provide a variety of services to meet the pressing needs of our parish and the larger community.

Due to proximity and visa free zone policy, natives on both sides can travel easily without much red tape. Every summer the church invites 27 Russian native Christians and house-church leaders from Provideniya, Yanrakynnot, Chaplino, Sireniki, and Enmelen to come for a week of training and encouragement. Chukotka Native Christian Ministry is instrumental in planting several churches in Provideniya District. 14 years ago, there was no church in Provideniya District. There are 6 churches to date. The church collects and stores winter gears, groceries, Russian Bibles and literatures, and other humanitarian aids to be given out to needy families in Gambell and Chukotkan villages.




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whalers@gci.net
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