Our Founder

Pastor Winona Westphalia Simpkins-Hicks
1959-1995
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           Evangelist Winona Westphalia Simpkins-Hicks was the 16th child born January10, 1906 in Live Oak, Florida to Mr. Caleb and Mrs. Rosa Simpkins. 

Her father was a Baptist Preacher. She attended the Public Schools of Live Oak and Florida Memorial College before it moved. She married Mr. Charles I. Hicks in 1940.

         After attending many churches, seeking for truth, God led her to Philadelphia, PA, by way of a good friend, and she was baptized in the Name of Jesus at Bridegroom Pentecostal Apostolic Temple.  She later received the precious gift of the Holy Ghost at the Church of the Firstborn on Monroe Street in Downtown Jacksonville in the late 30’s.  Her husband, the late C. I. Hicks, loved to say, “Who received the Holy Ghost first?” As he received the Holy Ghost a few days before she did.  She would then reply, “Who kept it the longest?”  After having received the precious Gift of the Holy Ghost, she attended many churches, waiting for God to “set” her in place.  In the late 40’s, God placed her in a small Apostolic church on Spearing Street on the Eastside of Jacksonville.  During this time, she met Will and Katie B. Johnson and Pastor G. B. Butler, her protégé.  They became life-long friends.  The church on Spearing Street merged with a church on the Southside of Jacksonville. Elder Clarence Lewis, Katie B. Johnson’s brother, became the Pastor after the merger.  After merging, they re-named the church Glorious Bethlehem Temple. Her sister, Evangelist Leota Leeks, later became the Pastor of Glorious Bethlehem Temple until her death.  

        While praying for guidance concerning her next elevation in Christ, she heard the Lord say, “Go to Pickettville.”  She never heard of this place, but God led her by faith, and she ended up in a Colored established neighborhood called Lincoln Villas, better known as “The Woods”. She held prayer meetings and tarry services in her home beginning in 1958.  She later constructed a 12X20 building on the north side of the house in 1959, and began having morning and nightly services.  Less than 2 yrs later, she built a larger building on the empty lot next to her home. Bro. & Sis. Bessie Bryant were the first 2 saved in the new building, and they were also the first ones to get married in this building.  God did miraculous works of deliverances, healings, restorations, etc… throughout her 36 years as the sitting Pastor of Bridegroom.  We will forever remember the prophetess that God set in our midst.  God bless the memory of our Pastor, Evangelist Winona W. Hicks.