What is the history of GateWay City Church?


Our journey began in 1970 in Sunnyvale, when God called Pastors Emanuele and Shirley Cannistraci to lead our church, then known as Calvary Gospel Temple. We were a small group of about 60 members at that time, but God had much bigger plans.  Within a few short years, our membership swelled to over 150.  Young people were being saved and added to the church during an era of revival now known as the Jesus Movement.

In 1977, God provided a new location in Mountain View, and our church was renamed Church of the Crossroads. Three years later, we sold this property and moved, completely debt-free, into our next location in the Willow Glen area of San Jose. Our church was renamed Evangel Christian Fellowship in the Spring of 1980.

Throughout the 80s and 90s, as our church continued to grow, families were sent as local missionaries, staff and ministries were added, programs expanded, and churches were planted.  We have also been blessed with a history of strong financial integrity and moral constancy in our staff and leadership team.

Meet Pastors David

and Kathy

In September of 2000, Pastors David and Kathy Cannistraci were installed as the Lead Pastors of Evangel Christian Fellowship.  Pastor David’s heart for expansion, ministry development, and creating an outreach culture resulted in further growth, and it soon became clear that our church facility was inadequate.

After a long property search and several attempts to relocate, our church purchased its present facility in South San Jose and changed it’s name to Gateway City Church.  Over the past decade, Gateway has experienced continuous growth. In late 2014, we became a multisite church, and in 2016 we developed a vision to reach ten cities through this multisite strategy.  

How did Gateway get its name?

Our name came about in 2003 when we were relocating to a larger facility.  We were facing tremendous disappointments. Financial pressures were growing and our hopes of finding adequate facilities were fading.  At one particularly discouraging moment in this process, God clearly spoke to Pastor David about how He would make a “gateway of hope in the valley of trouble” (Hosea 2:15, NLT).  

Instantly hope was renewed and shortly afterward, we moved into our present facility—one twice the size of what we had foreseen as possible! The words “city church” were also prophetically significant: we would be a church that would reach cities.  Our name reflects God’s faithfulness, power, and purpose for our ministry.