Canaan Baptist Church of Christ
Serving from the Heart of Harlem since 1932
History - Page 3

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Leading up to Decision Day, Canaanites entered into a season of revival, prayer and fasting. On November 17, 2005, the Canaan election polls were opened from 2:00 to 8:00 pm to give Canaanites the time to hear God speak to them before casting their ballots. To help conduct the election, Chairman DeGraff requested the presence of Rev. James Stalling, regional minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York. As hundreds of Canaanites voted and waited in the sanctuary for the results, prayers were chanted, and songs of praise were sung in devotion to God. When the news broke that God had chosen Dr. Thomas D. Johnson, Sr. the new pastor, “Hallelujah” shouts of praise and thanksgiving were heard throughout the sanctuary. Dr. Johnson, a pastor for more than 30 years, had swept the election.

Dr. Thomas D. Johnson officially began his duties on February 1, 2006. He was installed as the fourth Senior Pastor of Canaan Baptist Church of Christ on April 30, 2006. Leading up to this historic occasion, seven worship services were held to celebrate the installation with powerful preaching from prominent ministers, among them Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, and Dr. Gregory K. Moss, Sr.

Dr. Johnson became the heir of spiritual, moral and financial progress made by Canaan for seven decades under the leadership of three noble ministers of God. As the congregation continued to emerge from its recent wilderness experience, Dr. Johnson vowed to continue to preserve and build upon Canaan’s legacy. He focused on building a pastoral relationship with the congregation, church leaders, auxiliaries, and identifying the issues which needed his immediate attention. But the minister-administrator was also a man of vision. Waiting upon God’s direction and counsel, Dr. Johnson received God’s vision.

Then the Lord answered me and said, ‘Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’” Habakkuk 2:2-3

From these sacred words, a vision statement was cast by Dr. Johnson. February 4, 2007, was designated “Vision Sunday,” in reference to the sermon entitled “A New Vision for A New Era.” 

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132 West 116th Street - New York, NY 10026