Under the direction of the Board of Home Missions and the Presbytery of
Ottawa the first service of Parkwood Presbyterian Church was held in Parkwood Hills
Public School September 20th, 1964, with the Reverend Ron Balsdon as part-time minister.
Thirty adults and sixteen children attended. Attendance grew to 100 adults and
50 children within nine months, and Presbytery was asked to form a congregation in
January, 1965. The congregation was formally erected by the Presbytery of Ottawa on
February 14, 1965.
As attendance grew, a full-time minister was required and the Reverend Leslie Files was
appointed by the "Mission Board" in 1967. Property at the corner of Meadowlands and
Chesterton Drives, including the Mulvagh farmhouse, was purchased in 1967.
That farmhouse became the manse.
A building committee was formed in the early 1970's, and a building fund established. After many
fundraisers and substantial donations, the church was built; the first service in the new building
was held March 17, 1974. The dedication service was held April 21st of that year.
Rev. Files moved to Calgary the following spring.
See an interesting story about "The building that might have been".
From 1975 to 1979 Parkwood was served by the Reverend William Palmer. After Rev. Palmer's
appointment to Kenora, Rev. James Crabb was appointed interim minister. Then, in 1980
Parkwood became self-supporting and issued a call to the Reverend Floyd McPhee.
Mr. McPhee was inducted September 14th of 1980.
In the early 1980's the Sunday morning 11:00 a.m. service reached peak capacity. At the same
time, a bible study that met at 9:30 Sunday mornings outgrew it's room and moved into the
sanctuary, experimenting with formats. Some music was often added. When it became obvious that
something had to be done, the session suggested the 9:30 bible study become a service, with the
minister preaching, but retaining an informal character. Both organ and piano were used, with
the occasional addition of guitar. A year or so later the music duties were shuffled, and the
senior organist was given sole responsibility for the 11:00 service, while the pianist was made
responsible for 9:30 services. Guitar continued to be used at the early service.
During this period, the need for an expansion became more evident. The congregation hired an
architect in 1984 to propose ideas for enlarging the church building. At the same time an
"expansion fund" was set up. One of the archtitect's suggestions was that the manse be taken
over by the church, and the minister paid a housing allowance. This was done in the summer of
1987; the McPhees purchased their own house and the "manse" was renovated for use in Christian
education. The kitchen became a nursery, the front porch was winterized as a pre-school room,
the living room became the "fireside room" and the bedrooms upstairs were used as classrooms.
This area was formally dedicated as the Fellowship Centre November 14, 1989. The addition of a
ramp in 1990 made the main floor wheelchair-accessible.
By the mid-1990's the expansion fund had grown to over $100,000. The congregation decided to get
serious about adding on, and ideas were collected from a few architects in 1995. Around the
same time, the church received a bequest from Mrs. Isobel Mitchell, whose maiden name was Mulvagh.
Mrs. Mitchell's grandfather James had immigrated from Ireland and established the the Mulvagh farm,
once consisting of some 200 acres and stretching from Merivale Road to Fisher Avenue. She had grown
up in the farmhouse that was to become the Parkwood manse and later the Fellowship Centre. The
congregation decided to use some of the money for outreach, and part of the money was set aside for
that purpose. The rest went into the expansion fund, and concrete plans began to take shape. An
architect was hired, plans were drawn up and approved by the congregation, a builder was hired,
and in the summer of 1996 the sanctuary and narthex areas were expanded, new offices on the main
level and a new kitchen, office, meeting room and expanded hall on the lower level were built.
As well, a handicap-accessible washroom was added on the main level and a handicap lift between
the main and lower levels. The congregation moved into the new facility in October 1996. Details
of the summer's activity can be found on the Expansion '96 page.
In 1995, Rev. McPhee encouraged some youth leaders at Parkwood to consider mounting a
mission to Nicaragua, to assist in the ministry of some friends of Parkwood,
the Rev. John and Mrs. Vi Duff. These efforts were successful and the Youth Mission took
place in March 1996. A separate account of the mission is
included on this site.
Parkwood was honoured to be involved in the National Capital Region Billy Graham Mission in
June of 1998. We were involved in many ways. Parkwood people were counsellors, ushers and
singers. Rev. McPhee was the representative of the Presbyterian churches on the organizing
committee. Parkwood arranged for buses to get people to and from each mission event. And
we were priviledged to be able to follow up with people referred to us who had indicated
at the mission that they wanted to deepen their faith. Read Rev. McPhee's post-mission
article from our newsletter entitled "Lessons from the recent Billy Graham Mission".
Rev. McPhee announced his intention to retire some time in late 1999. At that point Parkwood
asked Presbytery to appoint an interim moderator, and the Rev. James Statham of Grace church Orleans
was assigned the task. The vacancy committee conducted a survey of needs and a congregational
profile was developed. The profile gives a picture of Parkwood at that point in time (August 2000). The
result is available for viewing here.
Floyd McPhee retired from his ministry at Parkwood church in the summer of 2001. His last Sunday in
the pulpit was June 3rd, although he remained minister until the end of July. The Rev. James T. Hurd
preached for a call to Parkwood on June 24th and at a meeting on June 26th the congregation extended
a call to James, a native of Kirkland Lake, Ontario and graduate of Knox College, Toronto. James had
been pastor of St. Paulís Church, Woodstock, New Brunswick for almost ten years and prior to that
spent five and half years as minister at Knox Church, Wanham and Munro Church, Blueberry Mtn., AB.
James and his wife Karen and daughters Jennifer and Janet moved to Ottawa in late October and James
started his ministry at Parkwood December 2nd, 2001.
Some time in 2010 it became evident that the old Mulvagh farmhouse has seen batter days. The exterior brick were
deteriorating and the rubblestone foundation was crumbling, among other things. A building project was initiated
with the goal of replacing the Mulvagh Wing with a modern facility of approximately the same size and number of rooms
that would serve the congregation and community well into the 21st century. A Facility Planning Team was formed and
plans were developed. The overall project was dubbed "Building to Serve" and it's history is documented on the B2S
history page here. On April 12, 2015 a "decommissioning ceremony"
was held to mark the commencement of the demolition of the farmhouse (see our photo gallery for a picture of those
who took part). We look forward to watching the progress and the beginning of a new phase of Parkwood's life with the
opening of the new facility, hopefully some time in the fall of 2015.
Parkwood continues to reach out to the community through its worship services, its courses
and activities, and new efforts to meet the needs of people into the 21st century, such
as this website. Please pray that we would be faithful in using our resources to share God's
love with others around us, and if you can, join us in this task from God.