A Brief History


1893 – 1913 – Before The Church Began

– Mrs. Smith starting Sunday School

– Merging of Sunday Schools

1914 – 1921 – Building And Growth

– Donated Lot

– Church built & opened

– Original members

– Lay pastors

– Taking Philpott’s constitution

– Building of Wing

– Building of Parsonage

1922 – 1939 – Forming Of The AGC And A Lot Of Digging

– AGC forming

– Pastors

– Basement built

1940 – 1960 – Growing Ministries With A New Name

– Name Changed

– Pastors

– Memorial from War

– Christian Service Brigade

– Pastor Cunningham came

– Church Growth

1961 – 1970 – Expansion And Ending An Era

– Church building plan started

– Parsonage sold and moved off property

– Building commenced

– (cover different aspects of building)

– Dedication

– Pastor

1971 – Present – Where We Are Now

– Pastors

– Highlight of ministries

A Detailed History

1893 – 1913 – Before the Church Began

  The legacy of Winona Gospel church started in 1893 when Mrs. J.W. Smith, with the help of Mrs. Samson Dean, started a Sunday School program for the children of the factory and farm workers of the E.D. Smith farms. This Sunday School was run out of Mr. & Mrs. Smith’s home, and just as a note of clarification, Mrs. J.W. Smith was not related to E.D. Smith.   Somewhere around 1908, Mr. McNamara, the rector of St. John’s Church in Winona, asked Mrs. Smith to unite the Sunday school that he had been running out of the E.D. Smith boarding house with the one that she was running from her home. This seemed like a good solution to both parties because Mr. McNamara had to leave in 1908, so the merged Sunday School continued.   Mrs. Smith found herself needing some help because Mrs. Dean had passed away, so Mr. Charlie Watt, a graduate from Moody Bible Institute, helped Mrs. Smith with the Sunday School from 1908 to 1914. Growth continued and somewhere along the line, someone foresaw the beginnings of a church.   1914 – 1921 – Building And Growth   Senator E.D. Smith decided that it would be appropriate to donate a lot on Glover Road for religious purposes, on which the original Church building was built. The original deed came with three conditions: One, that there was to be a service held continuously every week, Two, that there was to be a drive shed for horses and buggies maintained at the back, and, Three, if the congregation ceases to exist, Senator Smith was to have the first right to buy the property back. These conditions no longer exist, although the drive shed stayed up for many years.   The property was donated on May 30th, 1914 and the first official meeting of the church to be known as Winona Gospel Tabernacle was held on August 14th. At that meeting, Mr. John Rodgers was appointed leader and lay pastor of the church. He was a good lay pastor and laboured faithfully until 1916.   The church building had cost Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Smith two thousand dollars and was officially opened on August 30th, 1914 with Pastor Philpott from Philpott Tabernacle as guest speaker.   On October 25th, 1914, there were 26 people that expressed their desire to unite together and form the membership of Winona Gospel Tabernacle. These people were: Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Brown Mr. and Mrs. H.G. Gardner Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Griffith Mr. and Mrs. S. Johnston Mr. and Mrs. Krauchaar Donovan Krauchaar Kathleen Krauchaar Mr. C. Leggatt Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Pettit Minnie Pettit Mr. and Mrs. J. Rhodes Mr. and Mrs. John Rogers Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Smith Mr. and Mrs. Howard Smith Mr. and Mrs. T. Truscatt   Mr. Kraushaar was the next lay preacher to serve, and was here from 1916 to 1917. His wife was a faithful attendee and they had a son Don, and at least two daughters who became Mrs. Burt Dawes and Mrs. Charles Ready.   On November 14th, 1917, the Church was made a branch of the Philpott Tabernacle and adopted their constitution. That constituted a formally organized church.   From 1917 to 1918, Mr. Atchinson served as the lay preacher, and from 1918 to 1920, Pastor Barker served. Pastor Barker had been a missionary to the Armenian people in Asia Minor and was stationed at Philpott Tabernacle before he came and served as the pastor at Winona. During his time, he sparked the church’s interest in mission and in 1919, Mr. Henry Sandcock was accepted as the missionary to be supported.   On March 21, 1919, plans were made to accommodate the growing congregation by building on the original farm building and adding a wing and porch to the South side. At the Sunday afternoon opening service, the offering received fully paid for the $1500 additions.   The church did not have a baptistery, so they met at Lake Ontario to hold Baptismal Services. A note written by Mrs. Nellie B. Coreman Carter states: “The following were all baptized in Lake Ontario in front of Mr. Beckett’s home by Pastor T. Ford Barkerin September 1919: Mrs. H. Gardner, Mrs. C. Ready, Mrs. N. Corman and Mr. N. Corman.” Mr. Beckett’s home was at the foot of Winona Side Road.   In 1920, Pastor Norman came. He was from Philpott Tabernacle and had worked with the Grenfeld Mission in Newfoundland. He and Mrs. Norman had also previously served with the Salvation Army. Their son and daughter, Ernest and Ruth, were active in the church. Pastor Norman had a good ministry, but his health was not good and he left Winona in 1923 to serve as the pastor at Lake Church.   The south wing of the church had just been finished at and in August 1920 plans were made to build a parsonage beside the church building. It was an eight room house that was very adaptable to the entertaining which was being done in those days. The final cost of that building was $7500.   The envelope system of giving was introduced in February 1921 and the first Envelope Steward was Mrs. Curtis Leggatt. The envelope system is still in place to this day.   In 1921, the Trustees for the church were Mr. J.W. Smith, Mr. Will Griffith and Mr. C.C. Pettit. The Elders were Mr. J.W. Smith, Mr. W.L. Griffith, Mr. Harry Gardner and Mr. Curtis Leggatt. The Deacons were Mr. Howard Smith, Mr. William McLean, Mr. Finlay MacDonald, Mr. Charles Ready, Mr. Burt Dawes, Mr. Harvey Brown and Mr. W.J. Robertson. These men were faithful and had the foresight to see what God could do with the congregation at Winona.  

1922 – 1939 – Forming Of The AGC and A Lot Of Digging

  In on November 15th 1922, Winona Gospel Tabernacle became associated with other churches of like faith at a conference at Philpott Tabernacle. The group that formed that day was The Associated Independent Gospel Churches of Canada, known now as the Associated Gospel Churches or AGC. The original charter members of the Associated Gospel Churches were Philpott Tabernacle, West Hamilton Mission, Lake Church, Missionary Tabernacle in Toronto and Winona Gospel Tabernacle. The delegates from Winona were Pastor Norman, Mr. J.W. Smith, Mr. W.L. Griffith and Mr. T.G. Hamilton.   When Pastor Norman left in 1923, he was followed by Pastor L.A. Kennedy who served from 1923 to 1935. Pastor and Mrs. Kennedy had two boys, George and Hugh. Mr. Kennedy was very active in his ministry despite the fact that he didn’t have a car until 1930. During the last few years of his ministry he travelled to Beamsville and held services in a small store on the north side of King Street. Out of those meetings came Calvary Gospel Church.   Pastor Kennedy also founded the Margaret Avenue Mission, done under the instigation of Mrs. Tom Peake. Most of the Sunday School workers came from Winona and there were only two teachers from that area; Mrs. Peake and Mrs. Jenkins. The work grew and eventually the Mission was turned over to Bethany Brethren Church.   Another endeavour in which Pastor Kennedy involved himself was holding services on Sunday afternoons for the workers that laid TH&B Railway tracks at their camp on the mountain. The workers asked the church to come up and hold a service, which Pastor Kennedy gladly did.   In 1923, it was proposed that the Sunday School meeting time should be changed from Sunday afternoon to Sunday morning by Pastor H.E. Irwin of Toronto. The board considered and accepted his advice.   Pastor Wickware came in 1935. His ministry continued until he retired in 1942. He had served a missionary under the Christian Missionary Alliance in the Belgiun Congo and had been on the field for 16 years. Mrs. Wickware had also served on the field as a trained nurse. She had a fruitful ministry here and their two daughters, Helen and Wilma, grew up here.   In 1935, the total missionary giving was $168, which was dispersed among various missions, each receiving different amounts.   It was decided that the heating system in the church building needed to be improved. Previously, the church was heated by a wood stove at the back that had a long pipe the full length of the auditorium with a chimney at the front. This was certainly better than nothing, but sometimes the congregation would have to reverse sides so that they could stay warm on both sides during the service.   In 1937, at a cost of $1500, the original building and the wing was raised up to build a basement and about 15 young men went to work filling trucks from Mr. Harry DePey. He would leave one truck to be filled and then take it away and have another truck ready to fill so that the men were kept on the go all the time. About 300 cubic yards of hard red clay were removed from under the building by men with only pick and shovel. The block work was laid, the floor poured and a used furnace put in. The furnace cost $75 and satisfied the buildings heating needs for a while. Also during these renovations, a new entrance was put on the church which enhanced the buildings appearance.  

1940 – 1960 – Growing Ministries With A New Name

  On June 4th, 1940, the name of the church was changed from Winona Gospel Tabernacle to Winona Gospel Church.   After Pastor Wickware retired in 1942, Pastor Fred Tiessen came. He was a young man from Bible School and had his eye on the mission field in India. He was only at the church from 1943 to 1944, but was a very active leader and the church grew while he was the pastor. At the time he had two children, Darleen and Terry.   Fred Tiessen was followed by Pastor Albert Harris in 1944 who came from a Baptist Church in Nebraska. During his ministry, the church and Sunday School grew, which was an encouragement to all.   Of the twenty one men Winona Gospel Church who fought in the war, three never returned home. These men were Warrant Officer 2/C Gordon Leonard Ready, Pte. Gordon Arnold Wilbur and Corp. Thomas R. Prentice. George Kennedy, son of Pastor Kennedy, also fell in action. There was a memorial Service held at Winona in honour of Gordon Ready and Gordon Wilbur.   In 1946 the church membership was 58 and the total yearly offerings were $3834. 1946 was the first year that a pastor was paid a salary. Previous to this time, the pastors received the loose offerings from Sunday to Sunday.   In 1946 the Church orchestra was organized by Mr. Neil Miller. This ten to fifteen member music group was greatly appreciated by the congregation on Sunday mornings and during special musical evening events.   Also in 1946, the Christian Service Brigade Battalion 17 entered into the life of the church. Tom Peake II and Harold Smith were the men who headed it up. There was then Brigade work for the boys and Pioneer Girls for the girls.   The budget for 1947 was $3719 which was divided as so: Pastor’s salary $1800, Missions $800, Current Expenses $669, and $450 for the building fund.   Pastor Harris went to a pastorate in the States and was followed by Pastor Cunningham in 1949. Pastor Cunningham was from Melrose Baptist church in Toronto and Winona was the first church that he served as Senior Pastor at.   In 1950, an old school bus was purchased for Sunday School transportation and on December 26th, 1954, a new Sunday School Auditorium addition was opened in the basement below the South Wing.   The church was growing with an average Sunday school attendance of 239, so on June 24th, 1959, more property was purchased from E.D. Smith on the north side. With growth continuing in 1961, a building program was started that eventually removed all of the previous buildings and replaced them with a church planned for use and convenience. On July 1st, 1961, the Parsonage was sold and removed, with plans to do the same with the other building once the new building was in place.  

1961 – 1970 – Expansion And Ending An Era
 Pastor Cunningham implemented an interesting fundraising method to get the funds for the new building. At the front of the church was an empty church-shaped frame with bricks that were placed inside of it. A member could buy a brick for $100, and the building was started when all of the one-hundred brick spots were full, giving the church $10 000.   It was through the foresight of the building and planning committee at that time; Mr. H. Rutten, Mr. R. Smith, Mr. A. McCready and Mr. R. Slessor, that this work was started. The sod was turned on September 23, 1962 by Mr. Howard Smith, son of Mrs. J.W. Smith.   The old buildings were sold and removed and in fact, the old church frame stood on Glover Road about a quarter mile from the present church. The building commenced on October 1st, 1962 and was a long process with a huge amount of materials and labour going into the church. Once the building was finished, there was a work day where members of the congregation came to finish up the work and make things look complete.  Everything was completed on April 7th, 1963 with the laying of the Cornerstone, only six months after the building had commenced. The official dedication service of the new Winona Gospel Church was held on June 23rd, 1963.  
Sunday School always played an important part in this church ever since its inception. Records reveal that the first Sunday School Superintendent was Mr. Griffith, who was followed by Mr. Stafford Johnson, Mr. Harry Gardner, Mr. T.G. Hamilton and Mr. Harold Smith, Mr. Rowland Cuthbert etc. There have been many other superintendents over the years. 

1971 – 2018

Pastor Cunningham was at Winona until 1970 when he moved on to be pastor of the Baptist Church in Orangeville. His twenty-one year ministry has been the longest of any pastor at Winona to date.  
In 1970, Pastor Richard Quiring came from Central Baptist Church in London, Ontario. He came highly recommended and his ministry upheld the recommendation that was given him. Mrs. Quiring was a help to the ministry also, and they had two children, Bradley and Heather. His ministry continued until 1976 when he resigned and accepted a call to a church in Regina, Saskatchewan.  
One additional acre of land on south side of church was purchased from E.D. Smith for $20,000, Senator E.D. Smith even allowed us interest free payments on this balance.  
Pastor Darrell Tozer followed in 1977. Pastor Tozer came from Campobello Island, New Brunswick, and was a graduate of New Brunswick Bible Institute. He was a strong expositionary preacher and the church maintained its growth and qualities throughout his ministry. Pastor and Mrs. Tozer had two children, Lehman and Brock. They served here until 1983 when they returned to New Brunswick Bible Institute as staff members.  
In the winter of 1983/1984, while without a pastor, the church started another building program. There was a gym added to the east of the building and the Christian Education Wing was renovated. 
Dr. McArthur began his ministry as senior pastor at Winona on April 15th, 1984. The dedication service for the gym and renovation was in June of 1984, and the new pastor was the speaker.  
Pastor John Woodward came to the church in 1989 and served until 2000, after which there was a two year period without a senior pastor. 
John Bryan joined the church staff in 1996 as an assistant and youth pastor, and served at Winona until 2009 when he accepted a position in the spiritual life department of Eden High School in St. Catharines. This opportunity from the Lord will give John the opportunity to use his passion for youth and knowledge of God’s Word and teaching skills to help grow the spiritual lives of the youth people at Eden.
Pastor Ted Culshaw (and his wife Evelyn) came in 2003 as the senior pastor and served with much energy and passion until his retirement at the end of August, 2019. Under his leadership, the church experienced much growth and developed many new ministries such as a summer-long KidQuest Day Camp, mid-week Awana program, KidQuest Sundays and monthly 4F outreach luncheons.
During this time, another major renovation project was spearheaded by Robert Puddicombe, with every area of the building (except for the gym) completely gutted and updated. This seven year project (2012-2019) has made the church safer, more useful and more comfortable for all.  
Gino Dube was called to be the Associate/Youth Pastor in fall 2010. Gino and his wife Kei and three children have had a tremendous impact in the lives of the families at Winona and also in the community.  In the summer of 2017 Pastor Gino changed to the role of teaching pastor. Pastor Gino’s passion for the Word has been used by the Lord to take the fellowship into greater depth in studying God’s Word. Gino is now the Senior Pastor of our church after being voted in by the members on Sunday August 18th, 2019
Greg Sinasac served as youth intern overseeing the spiritual training of youth grades 5 through 12 from 2016-2017 (?).  Greg graduated from Heritage Seminary and was the Family Ministry Pastor from 2017-2018, giving leadership for all those twenty five and under. Greg and his wife Janet and their daughter Rebekah were truly a blessing to the fellowship.

Present – Where We Are Now  

Winona now has a weekly worship service, over a dozen small group Bible studies for youth to adults, that meet in various homes throughout the community. There are one on one discipleship ministries for new believers, a monthly outreach event for seniors and various outreach events throughout the year.
Our family ministries include Sunday morning KidQuest program and nursery, mid week Awana program, summer long KidQuest Day Camp, resource center, MomUp program for moms of preschoolers who meet biweekly as well as many outreach events throughout the year. 
The worship ministry involves dozens of people including musicians, singers, sound and video technicians.  The four teams are scheduled to lead the Sunday morning worship once each month bringing variety and life changing worship for all ages.
We have a care ministry for widows and shut ins and anyone who is in need.  The fellowship also supports many missionaries both local and around the world. As the needs of the people in the community and the world change, the people of Winona Gospel Church will follow God’s will to where He wants us to serve but our message will continue to be the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 Our history is a foundation for the present and future of this church. We cannot rest on it but must build on it through the power of the Holy Spirit and because of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.