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From the Basement to the Boulevard

On February 6, 2000 the first meeting for Canaan Missionary Baptist Church was held in the basement of Deacon and Deaconess Kenneth Cross’s home. Approximately 44 members were in attendance. On the following Sunday, service was held in rented space at the St. John Grand Masonic Lodge, located at 7443 South Ingleside Avenue, on which all 44 plus and additional 15 souls were officially added to the roll of Canaan Missionary Baptist Church. Nine of which were baptized at Rainbow Beach in June 2000.

After 1 year, Canaan Missionary Baptist Church, along with friends of Canaan numbered approximately 180 members. Within that same year because of God’s grace, prayers, tithes, offerings, and sacrifice, Canaan Missionary Baptist Church was able to purchase our current church home.

On Sunday, January 21, 2001 a motorcade left our rented space at 74th and Ingleside Avenue and arrived at our new location 1701 W. Garfield Boulevard. In our first month, Canaan added 27 new members, seven of which were also baptized at Rainbow Beach.

In 2001, 106 new souls were added to Canaan and several new ministries were started. In November, four new Deacons were ordained, and 90 members of Canaan traveled to Rocky Mount, North Carolina to worship with Greater Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church, where our former Pastor, Dr. Lacy E. Simpson, Jr., had been Pastor before coming to Chicago.

In the year 2002, 75 new members were added to Canaan. In June, 20 of those members were baptized at Rainbow Beach. In August, a Community Outreach Program, The Diamond Academy, was initiated. This is our after school program which provides tutoring and computer training for community residents. In October, 70 Canaanites traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana to worship with Progressive Baptist Church and Macedonia Baptist where the pastor of both churches is Rev. Dr. Willie Gable.

As of the 3rd Sunday in March 2006, L. Edward Simpson Jr., D. Min, the organizer and senior servant of the Canaan M.B. Church announced that he would be relocating back to his home state of North Carolina. He would become the Pastor of the First Missionary Baptist Church, Clayton, NC, where his father had been the pastor for many years. Upon his leaving, Pastor Simpson announced the he would be appointing the current Youth Pastor, who is his first son in the ministry in Chicago, Jonathan E.L. Brooks, as the new pastor of Canaan M.B. Church.

Jonathan, who was a 26 year old husband and father, was immediately received well by the congregation and the community at large. Since it has often been remarked that he has a “pastor’s heart” many believed this was a move of GOD and what was needed for Canaan to move forward in the work GOD had for her.

In 2010, during our 10th year anniversary, Canaan began a journey into better understanding the motto of the church "Where Love makes the Difference". We discussed what it truly looked like to love and the difference it was supposed to make in peoples lives. After a careful study of Love and much prayer, Canaan decided to discontinue it's ties with the Baptist denomination and to begin focusing on the ideas of love and community and it's necessity to the Christian church.

In order to reach it's maximum effect, Canaan adopted the principles of Christian Community Development, CCDA is not a denomination, but an association of churches all around the globe who believe in ministry to the least and the vision of impacting under resourced communities. Their mission is to inspire, train, and connect Christians who seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God by reclaiming and restoring under-resourced communities.   

January 1, 2011, was the official transition from Canaan Missionary Baptist Church to Canaan Community Church in order to reflect the change of thinking in our congregation. This new journey has led us to more Biblical ideas of worship both corporately and individually as well as life changing ideas of what service looks like to God and our community. 

After 15 years as senior pastor in June 2021 Pastah J stepped away as Lead pastor of Canaan Community Church and handed the reigns over to Pastor Christopher Ferrill.  Pastor Chris has been a part of Canaan since he was a young man and we have all seen Gods hand on him for many years.  He served as youth pastor at Canaan and director of our Diamond Academy after school program for many years before accepting the role of associate pastor at Bethel Church in Gary, IN.  He comes back to Canaan and Englewood with a new level of spiritual growth, vision and gifting. Our congregation is excited for this next season of ministry and look forward to what God will do through Pastor Chris and his vision for ministry.  We are continuing to grow and are seeking better ways to "Love God and Love people".

Where there’s no vision, the people will perish…May we continue to follow the leadership of our beloved Pastor, and the Lordship of our heavenly father as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.