Canaan Baptist Church of Christ
Serving from the Heart of Harlem since 1932


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From our humble beginnings in an upper room over an undertaker parlor on 134th Street in 1932, to our present-day modern church facility, Canaan Baptist Church of Christ stands as a beacon of hope, faith and redemption, and a voice for social justice.

Our odyssey began when a group of 40 souls, committed to the truth of the Gospel and determined to live for Christ, decided to leave Mt. Moriah Baptist Church. Calling themselves the “Israelite Mission” they formally organized and founded Canaan Baptist Church of Christ on September 26, 1932, led by the first pastor, Rev. M. Middleton.

It was a period of great pain and economic hardship, but led by their second pastor, Rev. Edward M. Moore, and grounded in faith and their strong belief that God would make a way for them, the disciples moved to 23-25 West 118th Street. By the late 1950’s the membership had outgrown the 118th Street home and Canaan made plans to purchase land at 141st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, but the land would not support a newly built structure. Answering God’s vision, the congregation agreed to purchase the former Loews Theater at 132 West 116th Street for $210,000. After $250,000 in renovations, the congregation proudly marched from Old Canaan on 118th Street to 132 West 116th street, on the fifth Sunday in October 1965. The cornerstone was laid in June 1966. Two months later, on August 8, Rev. E. M. Moore passed away.


The calling of Pastor Walker ushered in a new era of Canaan’s history. Dr. Walker began implementing his vision that would establish Canaan as a paradigm of what urban ministry can be. Dr. Walker devoted his pastorate to the spiritual development of Canaan. His Bible-based preaching on morals, social justice, education, economic empowerment, congregational commitment and community involvement soon filled Canaan’s pews, and the balcony had to be refurbished to accommodate the influx of new members.

Soon Canaan became a tithing church. Eighty percent of the loyal and devoted congregation made it possible for Canaan to sponsor 19 outreach ministries that included housing services (17 developments, 16 buildings), senior services, tutorial services, a Social Action Commission, an HIV/AIDS Ministry, a Wellness Ministry, adult literacy training, and to build the Center for Community Enrichment at a cost of more than $3.2 million dollars. The Center currently houses Sisulu-Walker Children's Academy, a charter school.

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132 West 116th Street - New York, NY 10026