Our history

History of the Church in Swietajno

In the prewar period nearly all Baptist churches situated in South-East Prussia were a result of the missionary work of the church in Rumy. The church in Swietajno was also the result of their work. This church later became a well known center for baptists in this area. Before this happened and earlier establishment in Piastuno had come into being at the lake 4km away. The church in Piastuno began to exist as a self-reliant community on Christmas Day in 1884 with 216 members. Brothers F. Kottke and W. Wieczorek took care of this new church. in 1893 Brother J. Platzek took over the leadership of the church. The church lacked a suitable building for meetings. A decision was made to construct such a building because of the growing christian community.

In 1909 a ceremonial opening of the chapel took place. It became the stateliest building in that area. Beginning in 1904 and for many years after that Brother W. Wieczorek held the leadership position. After 23 years he, as a pensioner, was still serving the community. His successor, 26 years old brother W. Kersten, took office as the preacher in 1927. He was remembered by church members not only as a hardworking shepherd, but also as a youth pastor. He was a cheerful and joyful man by nature while at the same time trustworthy and full of seriousness.
In 1934 the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the christian community in Piastuno was also the 25th anniversary of the opening of the church in Swietajno. All of Swietajno was influenced by those jubilees. Even some families who did not belong to the church opened their homes to host some of the guests who came to these celebrations.
On the day of the chapel opening the church had 573 members and it was continuing to grow. At the end of 1939 it consisted of 604 members who were overseeing the work in eight different mission points. In 1937, Brother W. Kerstan was appointed to serve in the church in Berlin-Neukolln and the preaching ministry in Swietajno was taken over by Brother Otto Oelke. Different meetings and youth conferences took place in the church.
Unfortunately this flourishing period of the mission work came to an end at the outbreak of World War II. This war and the post war emigration that followed it decimated the church. In 1945 the leadership of the church was taken over by preacher Stanislaw Andrzejczuk. He is recognized for having re-organized the church, finding lost members of the church, and preparing a small hall for services. Presbyter S. Wojciechowski along with deacons M. Krauze, H. Jasinski, and W. Toporzysko oversaw the work in our church region at that difficult time.
In 1949, Brother P. Poziomkiewicz was appointed as the pastor of the church. Church services were held in five mission points. A choir, Sunday classes, and a ministry to youth were also begun. In the year 1955 Brother P. Poziomkiewicz left and Brother E. Oswiecimka took over the work. He worked in difficult conditions. The church members began to leave for East and West Germany. It was difficult to speak about development of the church under such conditions since it was necessary to first stop emigration. Unfortunately, it turned out that the largest church in the area, which had 700 members and almost a 1000 people including children and attendees, now had almost no one and the chapel was left empty.

Yet, God had plans for this place. In 1967 the church building started to be used for children's summer camps. Despite the modest conditions Krzysztof and Ludmila Bednarczyk were able to organize these first camps. Later the conditions would become better and better. These summer camps were attended by about 250 children.

Since there was not someone to keep up with the maintenance of the property, repairs were made just to keep things working and the toilets were becoming more and more unpleasant. Making matters worse, Sister H. Oswiecimko's death (who had been living in that building) put the property at risk of robbery and vandalism. It was therefore necessary to find somebody willing to live and serve in this place.
In 1999 God called Eugenia and Jan Mroczek to come to Swietajno. Since there were not any rooms in a livable condition, the new hosts with help of other brothers began their service with a renovation of the flat. In April of 1999 they began a complete overhaul of the property. Repairs that were urgently needed included changing the plumbing in the building, putting the gate in front of the church to protect it, and building toilets and showers on the ground floor. Other things that needed to be done included fixing the floor in the flat, installing a heating system, adding wall insulation, and many other things but there's no way to list them all.
In 2000 the largest phase of this overhaul began. The old toilets and showers were demolished and replaced with new ones. God was testing us during this time as we were often short of funds for materials and wages for workers. He heard our prayers and satisfied our needs in wonderful ways. As a result, we successfully managed to finish this phase of the overhaul in two years.

Written by H. Kowalik on the basis of various resources.