New York, New York (May 27, 2012) - Harlem’s historic Canaan Baptist of Christ known worldwide for its Afrocentric worship services, great gospel music, and powerful preaching of Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Johnson, Sr., recently celebrated its 80th anniversary. In 1932, Canaan Baptist Church of Christ was founded by forty faithful disciples. Calling themselves the Israelite Mission, they held worship services in a room over a funeral parlor on West 134th Street. The group grew and moved to a more suitable space at 23-25 West 118th Street. By the late 50’s the congregation’s ministries had outgrown the West 118th Street church home and in 1965 the congregation of 1200 purchased the former Loews Theater at 132 West 116th for $210,000. This year’s anniversary theme “80 Years Uniting in Faith, Fellowship and Praise,” celebrated its legacy as a voice for social and human rights, honored its founders and the strong pastoral leadership of Rev. W. M. Middleton, Rev. E.M. Moore, civil rights activist, Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker and Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Johnson, Sr., Canaan’s senior pastor, who celebrated his sixth pastoral anniversary in April.
Anniversary highlights included the powerful sermon delivered by Rev. Kenneth D. R. Clayton, Senior Pastor of St. Luke Baptist Church, Paterson, New Jersey; presentation of the Wyatt Tee and Theresa Ann Walker Humanitarian Award to NYU School of Law Professor Bryan A. Stevenson, who is the Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, Montgomery Alabama; and the consecration of a new baby grand piano gifted to Canaan from the Carl Eugene Cooper estate. Congratulatory letters were received from pastor emeritus Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, several Harlem churches, and friends of Canaan. In recognition of Canaan's contributions to the well being of the Harlem community, Mayor Bloomberg honored the congregation with a New York City Proclamation and proclaimed “Canaan a leader in urban ministry.” The anniversary celebration will continue July 20-22, with a Christian weekend of “Uniting Faith, Family and Friends.” The church will host a Friday night fun filled evening of fish fry dinners, and fellowship, Saturday family reunion picnic, Sunday worship and a street festival on 115th Street. Hundreds of disciples, former Canaanites, families and friends are expected to participate in the weekend activities.
About Canaan Baptist Church of Christ
Canaan Baptist Church of Christ was founded in 1932. It is located in the heart of Harlem at 132 West 116th Street. Sunday worship services are at 8:00am and 11:00am. Dr. Thomas D. Johnson, Sr. is the senior pastor; civil and social rights activist, Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker is pastor emeritus. The church sponsors more than 50 outreach ministries meeting such diverse needs as housing, senior services, health and wellness, HIV/AIDS and anti-drug abuse. Canaan was the first church Nelson Mandela visited in Harlem; the last place the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke in the city before his assassination.
For more information call (212)-886-0301, Ext.127, email [email protected] or visit cbccnyc.org.
Dawn M. Hill
Public Affairs, Media and Public Relations Liaison
Canaan Baptist Church of Christ
132 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10026
ph (212) -866-0301, ext 127
fax (212) 865-6150