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New Gambell Church Building

CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS!!! Gambell adult work teams are now being scheduled for the summer and fall of 2018 to help finish the interior of the new Gambell church building. For more information on details such as location, skills needed, and approximate costs, please download this 2018 Information Sheet. The dates that work teams are needed can be found on the 2018 Work Schedule. If you still have questions or would like to volunteer, please contact us at volunteer@pbyukon.org and we will be in touch!

Would you like to volunteer? Download the Gambell Volunteer Packet and Group Information Form now (Adobe Reader required). You can print them out and mail them in or email them to volunteer@pbyukon.org. Thanks!

Check out our awesome Gambell video:

Gambell Presbyterian Church is a crucial spiritual center for the Gambell community. It offers weekly worship services and faith formation opportunities for all ages. The church reaches out to the community in other ways by providing counseling, self-help classes, and other ministries as desired by the community. Often the elders are called upon to go to homes and pray with community members.

Sixty years in arctic Alaska can take a toll on a church building. In 1953, the faithful members of Gambell Presbyterian Church erected their new church using the methods available at the time -- some of the village carpenters used walrus jawbones as hammers – which meant no indoor plumbing. Since then, the village moved to a new site on account of rising seas and the need for more stable ground, isolating the church building on the outskirts of town. The weathered structure has deteriorated to the point that water leaks through the roof and cold air blows in through the walls. The furnace is no longer functional and toyo stoves are used to heat the building, one which has already stopped working. It isn’t a matter of buying a new toyo stove as the air vent outside cannot be kept clear because of the wind and snow. The building structure itself grows weaker with every passing winter, so that soon it will be unsafe to occupy.

Today, the Session of Gambell PC and the Presbytery of Yukon are partnering to build a new structure in the center of the town. The new building will serve as a sacred worship space for the congregation, as well as housing for a pastor and a meeting space for the community. The building will include a food bank and is designed as a multipurpose space with movable walls so many community groups of different sizes can use the space for such things as community funerals, cultural celebrations, AA meetings, youth gatherings, training events and other needs of the community. Plans are underway for the church to become a GCI wifi center for the community as well.

The new building has been designed using the latest design concepts for cold climate structures, which will save many thousands of dollars in energy costs every year. The shell of the building was completed in the fall of 2014 and six work teams came last summer and partnered with the local community to work on the interior of the building. This work will continue as work teams are available during 2016 and 2017.

Building on St. Lawrence Island is expensive – approximately $550.00 per square foot! The total cost of this project is estimated at $3 million. The presbytery has already contributed over one third of this amount. Through various grants and the generous contributions of our Presbyterian sisters and brothers, we hope to obtain the balance of the cost.

The dream of a new building has been in the works for over 10 years and has been slow in the making because of the huge financial cost. We really can’t wait any longer. Therefore we ask for your support by contributing personally to this project and sharing the information with your congregation and presbytery so they can also contribute. We also ask you to consider sending a volunteer work team to help us finish the building in by the fall of 2017. Work teams are needed for July - October of 2016 and the summer of 2017. Won’t you help us to bless the community of Gambell with a new facility that will strengthen the church and serve the many social needs of these Alaska Native families?

If you would like to donate to the Gambell New Building fund, please DONATE ONLINE NOW

Please contact us with any questions at 907-276-0914 or office@pbyukon.org. We look forward to a favorable response in supporting this missionary endeavor.