Just like most of us Parkwood has a first, middle and last name. Each name reveals a little bit about us.
Church is our last name and like you it connects us with a larger family. We believe that the Church is the global body of christians who believe that Jesus is their savior, because of his death burial and resurrection. Jesus is the visionary of the church today. We also believe in the local church. This is the local community of believers who choose to love one another. It is in this context that we truly experience what it means to be a part of the family of God.
Baptist is our middle name and it identifies us with a particular group of Christians and doctrines we call the Baptist Faith and Message. Parkwood is an autonomous church but voluntary affiliates with the Southern Baptist Convention, Florida Baptist Convention and the Jacksonville Baptist Association. This cooperation allows Parkwood to participate in one of the largest mission and humanitarian organizations in the world.
While those names are familiar most just call us Parkwood. Our first name is recognizable and has been our unique identifier since the late 1950's at which time the name was derived from the two communities that surround the church Alderman Park and Arlingwood. The beginnings of Parkwood have its roots in the conversations of a few families in 1954. By 1956 these families were meeting regularly for prayer and mutual encouragement in the Arlington area and began to petition the local Director of Missions for a sponsoring church.
Under the support of Main Street Baptist Church the Arlington Mission began to meet for worship. The early days were not without difficulty but the people were persistent. For several years the church met in the Arlington Theater and used the Lions Club and Arlington Presbyterian for evening services and bible study. It did not matter that the lights were dim, that the back page of the bulletin was blank, that the piano was old and temperamental; that the baby beds had to be set up in the ladies restroom - it was a happy congregation with a heart to reach its community. After purchasing the property on Lone Star the building began and in 1959 the church had an auditorium and educational space of their own. Reverend Harold Combs served as the mission pastor until 1957 and Dr. Don Everson became the first called pastor in October 1959. This little group of people was growing and moved from mission status to a formal constituted church, May 29th 1960 with a membership of 288.
Parkwood continued to expand adding buildings and people to the Lone Star property. After 26 years of service and a great ministry at Parkwood Dr. Don Everson retired from ministry. A search for a new pastor led the church to Rev. Larry Weaver. Brother Larry as he was affectionally called, moved his family to Jacksonville from Texas and began serving as Pastor March 1, 1987.
Under the leadership of Brother Larry Parkwood went into a new phase of building. Now that all the buildings on the campus had been finished the church turned its focus on sending out. Parkwood served as sponsor of two missions, Deer Meadows Baptist and Monument Point Baptist as well as a Spanish, Korean and Ethiopian Baptist work. Larry's position as member of the International Mission Board furthered the churches heart for over sees work. Partnering with works in the Philippines, Haiti and Ethiopia. Locally the church began to minister in the local apartment communities, schools hospitals and homeless families through Arlington Communities Services and Family Promise of Jacksonville. Parkwood's continued generosity allowed for a great many advances. After 21 years of love and shepherding of Parkwood Rev. Larry Weaver retired.
In May of 2009 Rick Blythe was called as transitional pastor of the church. This process allowed Parkwood to take time to evaluate themselves and discover who God was calling them to be for the community and the future. This also gave time for the search committee to find the next called Pastor of Parkwood. The goal of refocusing the church around the mission and vision of Jesus was essential. Reverend Rick completed his service to Parkwood with a successful transition in August 2010. The search committee continued to look for the next called pastor.
June 2011 the church called Rev. William Keyser affectionally called Manny to be the 3rd pastor of the church. This new era for Parkwood is about revival. Realizing their unique heritage in the Arlington area and the passion the church has for reaching the city and the world they aim to be all God has gifted them to be. Adopting a new motto and mission Parkwood is striving to be a family of christians who love people to Christ as we go! It is the love of Christ that draws all men and it is this love that has become the legacy and future of Pakwood Baptist Church.