Parkwood Gospel Church has always been a lighthouse with many cultures and generations. And the faithful hand of God can be traced throughout its history from this present day to its beginnings in the 1920s. Being across a one-mile river from industrious Detroit meant that for Windsor, life and commerce centered around the river, and Windsor’s heart was its downtown. At this time, back before the bridge or the tunnel, the Holy Spirit began to move on both sides of the river, and believers from both cities gathered together for worship. This led to prayer meetings in homes conducted by Brother William Blake, and in August of 1923, Brother Marshall and Brother William Courtney rented a dance hall on Ouellette Avenue opposite the Allen Theatre to hold the first public Pentecostal meeting on this Canadian side of the Detroit River.  

In October 1923, evangelistic meetings were held by Rev. Jim Lebroque, and many became Christ followers and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Then in December 1923, Rev. Clifford Nelson became the first pastor. He rented a store front on Glengarry and Tuscarora Street., rented some chairs and a piano, and soon a revival broke out. The fledgling church grew and moved to a site on Howard and Erie Street in May of 1924. In November 1925, the congregation rented a Baptist church on the corner of Bruce and London Street in downtown Windsor. God continued to bless the church and many souls began to follow Christ, were baptized, and physically healed. Eventually, the congregation purchased and renovated the church building, and Bethel Pentecostal Church was born. Through the Roaring 20’s and the Great Depression of the 1930’s, Bethel was blessed with a number of pastors who lead the church forward.  The church grew in number, as did their missions giving.  

In April of 1943, Reverend William Fitch was invited to become pastor of the growing church. The old mortgage was paid off, and then in 1948, the building was torn down, sod was turned, the cornerstone was laid, and in May 1951, the new Bethel Pentecostal Church was completed. Bethel continued to grow, new ministries were birthed, missions giving set new records, and over the next 30 years, the Lord’s faithfulness was evident. In 1973, Pastor Fitch stepped aside was succeeded by Reverend Victor Brown, who shepherded the congregation for five years. Then in April 1977, Reverend Jack Counsell accepted a call to become the senior pastor. Under his direction, the work of the ministry expanded, as did the staff and congregation. Major renovations were made, properties surrounding the church were purchased, and the name was changed from Bethel Pentecostal Church to University Gospel Temple.

In April 1985, Pastor Counsell was succeeded by Reverend George Carroll who continued to grow the congregation. During 1986, Pastor Carroll, the board and congregation purchased property at the E.C Row Expressway and Central Avenue and ventured into a new 5.5 million dollar building program which would include a 2000 seat sanctuary, a 150 seat chapel, classrooms for Temple Christian Academy and Christian education, a high school sized gymnasium, a counselling centre, and a 62 unit seniors apartment complex. On August 6, 1989, the congregation celebrated the Grand Opening and Dedication of the new Parkwood Gospel Temple. In July of 1995, Pastor Carroll asked Reverend Mark Hazzard to join the staff as Associate Pastor, then in June 1996, Pastor Hazzard assumed the role of lead pastor. With a debt of 3.5 million dollars and a vision to see that debt paid in full, the church launched into a ten-year debt reduction program. Through years of sacrificial giving, missions giving set new records and the vision to burn Parkwood’s mortgage was accomplished through the power and blessing of God in January 2006. The church embarked on several important building projects and renovations and the membership voted to change the church name to Parkwood Gospel Church.

After over 22 years of pastoring Parkwood, Pastor Hazzard stepped down, and in June 2018, Reverend Daniel Gray, who had already served on staff for ten years, was elected as Parkwood’s new lead pastor. Pastor Danny Gray’s heart is to lead a church of disciples who make disciples, and under his leadership we continue to move forward as a church with a vision to help people find hope in Jesus and find home in His family. With that in mind, in the 100th year of our church’s anniversary in 2023, Parkwood purchased a building on the corner of Parent and Wyandotte Street East, just 6 blocks east from our church site back in December of 1923, a century earlier. As a lighthouse for many cultures and generations in the Wyandotte East neighbourhood, Parkwood returned to downtown with our first church plant called “Parkwood Outreach Centre”, to help people find hope and find home, and be a connecting bridge into the community.

As we reflect on Parkwood’s rich history, we are grateful for God’s faithfulness, and we trust our future to Him. To God be the glory both now and forevermore!