Pastor Tony (1942-2017)
Antonio (Tony) Cestone was radically saved in 1977, during the charismatic revival of the Holy Spirit—a Sovereign move of God in the 1970’s that transcended denominational barriers with an undeniable wave of baptisms, healings and gifts of the Holy Spirit as is written in the Book of Acts.
Tony and his wife, Annette, founded Christ Alive Ministries in 1985, and the church ministry has remained a bedrock of teaching of the Word of God ever since. The thrust of their calling is to equip the saints of God for the work of the ministry through systematic Bible teaching, emphasizing the person of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, the function and fullness of the glorious church, and the reality of the life in the Spirit.
Through his 40 years of dedication and devotion to the Lord and His church, Pastor Tony operated in the ministry gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher—relying solely on the leading of the Holy Spirit as he ministered. With sold-out obedience to the Lord, Tony yielded to missions work in Barbados, Grenada, South Africa, Kenya, Greece, Israel, Ukraine, Malaysia, Italy and Sicily. During his frequent trips to Ukraine, the Lord opened doors for the Ukrainian government to approve a Bible Institute in Kharkov. A wide range of teaching and sound doctrinal material has been translated in the Ukrainian language and distributed throughout their land, reaching into Russia.
After the Bible Institute was well established, the Lord opened new doors of opportunity in Sicily and Italy. While remaining faithful as pastor of the local church in Hartsdale, New York, Pastor Tony dedicated the last 12 years of his life sowing seeds and laboring in local churches throughout Sicily and Italy. Ministering in Italy with an evident apostolic anointing, Tony established a New Testament church in Brandizzo, Italy, ordaining a local pastor, elders and deacons. During his bi-annual trips to Italy, Pastor Tony taught and preached at various conferences with signs following, organized open-air evangelistic meetings, conducted home Bible studies, developed, translated and published a number of Bible teaching courses, and taught the Word of God systematically via weekly internet classes.
Tony labored sacrificially to reveal the glorious Person of Jesus Christ, while demonstrating sensitivity and obedience to the moving of the Holy Spirit. He caught a glimpse of his vision of unity in the Body of Christ as local churches came together during his last mission trip to Italy several months before he was called to his eternal home in March of 2017—for his labor and his reward. To God be the glory!
From the beginning of her walk with the Lord in the early 1970’s, Annette submitted herself willingly and whole-heartedly to the Lord Jesus to see His Kingdom advanced. As a young believer, she hungered for the Word of God and thirsted for the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Her heart’s desire is for all to experience the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ in every aspect of life. When all is said and done, becoming Christ-like is the Lord’s ultimate goal in the life of every son and daughter of the Living God.
Pastor Annette is a dedicated teacher of the Word, instructing and proclaiming the ways and purposes of God with depth and clarity. She is loved and respected by many for her integrity, transparency and quality of spirit—operating in the gifts of the Spirit and prophetic song. Overseas travel with her husband opened doors of ministry to women at conferences, local churches and home Bible studies in Italy, Greece and Grenada. Her steadfast devotion to Christ Jesus has inspired many to draw closer to His side as His Bride.
In April of 2017, after the passing of her husband and founding pastor, Tony Cestone, Annette was ordained as pastor of Christ Alive Ministries. Inspired with new vision and anointing, together with the leadership of faithful elders and deacons, Annette is fully committed to carrying on the mandate of Christ Alive Ministries. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, she is dedicated to reaching the lost, inspiring the people of God to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, helping every member to know their function in the Body of Christ, and equipping each one to fulfilling their high and holy calling.