— Written by Ray Unger, Elder.
The origins of Gateway Community Church go back to 1978 when Dick and Carol Sisson were called to pastor at Middleton Baptist Church (MBC). My wife Donna and I joined MBC that same year and saw how their ministry blossomed. College students and families of all sizes, ages, and Christian backgrounds joined us and became active participants in the life of MBC. Outreach ministries also flourished as many of our young members became foreign missionaries and pastors. Before long our building on University Avenue couldn’t hold the members and attenders each Sunday. We began to plan, not only for a new facility, but for an expanded identity. In 1990 we moved into High Point Church on Old Sauk Road in Madison. There, we officially acknowledged our passion to bring together many Christian worship styles and backgrounds to our church.
After serving at High Point Church for a few years, Dick and Carol moved on to lead a faithful group of friends who founded Gateway Community Church. We started services at the Sisson home but soon moved to a theater in the Westgate shopping center on Whitney Way. That was when one of our members thought the “Gate” and “Way” sounded good together, hence the name Gateway. After the theater, we rented space at the St. Benedict Center (now known as the Holy Wisdom Monastery) until we found a permanent home at our present location in the beautiful city of Middleton.
In 2011, after a 46-year career in Christian ministry, Dick and Carol retired from Gateway and moved to Sun City, Arizona. They now attend New Life Community Church where Dick and Carol are actively involved with church life with a focus on ministering to seniors. But before that farewell Dick was instrumental in bringing a new young pastor to carry on the Gateway tradition. That year we called Paul and Laura Lundgren to our family and their youthful exuberance and leadership made the transition a positive and exciting experience. When Paul and Laura joined Gateway they brought with them a daughter, Claire, and since then have added another daughter, Rachel, and two songs, Luke and Caleb, to the family.
As the saying goes “change is inevitable (except in vending machines)” and Gateway has embraced the changes of life but our focus has been and always will be on our eternal Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Power of the Holy Spirit. And because He lives we believe our future is secure.