By Donald Jay Howton

A mile past Ross Bridge Parkway on Highway 150 on the right stands Parkwood Church of God established in 1926. The Rev. Joe Bain of Hoover has been the pastor at Parkwood Church of God since April of 2021. A minister for today, he is welcoming in a starched button-down and pressed jeans. This reserved, handsome man of solid character has brought an energy and excitement to the faithful at Parkwood Church of God that has stirred a passion within the church family. Born in Fort Payne and raised in Gadsden, Pastor Jim is a good, decent, respectful man who is excited and passionate about the church. A cradle Church of God man, the kindness in his face is a testament to his faith. He wants people to hear the word of God.

Tell me about Parkwood Church? Jim: The church was founded in 1926 in the village of Parkwood and among the mainstays was Ellie and J. W. Lagle, the backbone of the fledgling church. Rev. and Mrs. Andrew W. Mills and the elder Brother Mills were its founders. The longest pastorate in the church’s history was served by the Rev. and Mrs. W. M. Dollars. The current brick church building was completed in May 1961 under the leadership of Rev. J. W. Bunn.

Do you have a favorite quote? Jim: Yes, Sir. “If there ever comes a time where you cannot follow the vision, that is the opportunity for release.”

Did you always want to be a minister? Jim: No, Sir. I wanted to possibly work in a NBA organization front office because of my love for the game of basketball. In 1998 that desire changed when my youth pastor invested time in my walk with God. I thought if someone can help me maybe I could help someone in his or her journey. I chose then to pursue my calling in ministry and have loved every minute of it.

What is your vision for Parkwood Church? Jim: My vision for Parkwood is for people to Connect, Grow and Serve. We want people to connect to God and connect with others. Community is very important to me and building relationships in the Kingdom of God is invaluable. After people connect, we want them to grow in God and grow with others. Discipleship is a main way people can walk a journey of faith with one another and get closer to the heartbeat of God. The final step in our vision is to serve God and serve others. When we reach out and serve others, I believe it puts a smile on God’s face.

Tell me about your family? Jim: I was born in 1978 in Fort Payne, the youngest of four siblings of JoAnn and John Bain of Gadsden. I have been happily married for 22 years to Erika Byrd Bain and we have three sons, Malachi, 18, Josiah, 14 and Judah, 10. I also have two Golden Doodles, Samson and Maggie.

What is your favorite meal? Jim: As a good Southern boy, I enjoy grilled blackened catfish, hashbrown casserole, cole slaw, fried okra, hush puppies, biscuits with strawberry jelly and a big glass of sweet tea and for dessert banana pudding.