History

The New Canaan Baptist Church, founded by Dr. Louis R. Blakey, Sr., was organized September 7, 1974. God allowed Pastor Blakey with only Bessie T. Blakey, Erman C. Branch, Katherine Branch, Arthur Comer, Jr., Theresha Comer, Joan Howlett, Annie Jones, Shadee Mahdi, Irene Price, Gloria Simms and Betty Winbush to grow His church to over 450 members.

After months of worshipping in various donated facilities, in August 1975 an opportunity presented itself for this small body of members to negotiate a contract to purchase our first permanent sanctuary at 2223 Keswick Avenue in the Oak Grove section of south Richmond. Although our funds were limited, we relied on God to provide, and provide He did. Two of our members pledged their property as collateral. This, along with personal loans from other members, allowed the church to approach the bargaining table with the sellers. Even with these resources, we fell short of the necessary funds to obtained bank financing, but God met our needs The sellers, Southside Missionary Alliance Church, financed the balance of our bank loan.

On March 8, 1976, we were recognized as an organized body of Christ, a church, and approved by a council of ministers.

On November 25, 1978, at Zion Baptist Church in south Richmond, Deacon Erman C. Branch became the first deacon to be ordained from the newly organized church. The first son and educational minister, Rev. Horace Jones, was licensed on January 28, 1979, and ordained on August 10, 1980.

God continued to increase us spiritually and financially, and we were able to purchase adjacent properties on May 2, 1984, at 2221 Keswick Avenue and on May 9, 1985, at 2219 Keswick Avenue. In addition, in December 1987, God blessed us with a 29-passenger bus and many other church furnishings. Between 1987 and 1989 we were able to pay off all personal loans and the two original mortgages, as well as brick the exterior of the church. August 1991 marked the completion of renovations started in February 1991 that added a new baptismal pool, remodeled the basement, added a fellowship hall, allowed for handicap accessibility, and added a paved parking area. On February 22, 1994, adjacent property at 2217 Keswick Avenue was purchased.

Still allowing God to work in His miraculous ways, in 1997, the fulfillment of a vision given Dr. Blakey was manifested. Our congregation was growing, and our current facility became inadequate to meet the growth. God allowed us to negotiate a contract on the former Westover Hills Theater, our current sanctuary, at 4712 Forest Hill Avenue. He also sent a dedicated helper, Deacon Anthony French, Sr., to aid us in the acquisition, financing and massive renovation necessary to occupy the facility. Deacon and Mrs. French also gave generous financial resources to the church. Our first service in our new sanctuary was held on Sunday, March 1, 1998.

On September 30, 1998, property was purchased at 4700 Forest Hill Avenue, which was referred to as our Annex, where we hold Sunday School classes and other meetings, especially for the children. The building has been renamed to "Gem Zone."

Since moving to our new facility, God has been giving the increase. Many deacons and ministers have been called into the service of our Lord and Savior, and four ministers have been ordained: Rev. Bernard Melton on October 7, 2000; twins, Rev. Lois Blakey Paige and Rev. Louis R. Blakey, Jr. (the founder's son and daughter) on March 22, 2003; and Rev. JoAnne Scott on March 7, 2004.

In October 2003, God blessed us to be able to pay off the mortgage on our Annex and to celebrate this victory in grand fashion with a semi-formal banquet for our members on November 9, 2003.

In early 2004, Pastor Blakey, announced his retirement from New Canaan to be effective December 31, 2004. A series of special events (banquets and services) to honor the 30 years of service of Pastor and First Lady Blakey were held during the months of November and December 2004. Rev. Lois Blakey-Paige and Rev. Louis R. Blakey, Jr. began leading the church as co-pastors on January 1, 2005.

On April 17, 2005, Pastors Paige and Blakey, Jr. were officially installed as the pastors of the New Canaan Baptist Church family.

Pastors Paige and Blakey, Jr., along with the Ministers of Outreach & Evangelism, Reverends William and Jackie Mickey, on June 2, 2005 traveled to Liberia, Africa for two weeks for the first missions trip sponsored by New Canaan.

On Sunday, January 15, 2006, Elders Johnnie L. Brown, William Mickey, Jr., Margaret Minnicks, and JoAnne E. Scott were consecrated for service to their appointed ministries at New Canaan Baptist Church.

On March 5, 2006, three deacons, Catherine Smith Jones, Rose Jones, and Blanche E. Murphy, were ordained to service for New Canaan Baptist Church.

On April 6, 2006, Deacon Rose Jones, William Lampie, Margaret Owens, and Deacon George Wilkerson became the first graduates of New Canaan's Evangelism Explosion Ministry Team, under the direction of Reverends William and Jackie Mickey.

In recent years, the elders include Margaret Minnicks, JoAnne Evans, Linda Jafari, Blanche Murphy and Kay Word. Ministers include Virgie Banks, Latasha and Leon Corbin. The Corbins are responsible for the Youth and Children Ministry replacing Kay Word who held that position for many years before.

The deacon and deaconess ministries have been combined under one umbrella called the diaconate, which includes both males and females. After three years of service, deacons and deaconesses may opt to become inactive and new candidates are selected, trained and ordained.

A new ministry, Grow and Serve, was established in 2016 to feed the homeless in Monroe Park on the fourth Sunday of every month.

Worship is the core of our ministry, and we refer to our house of worship as the New Canaan Worship Center.

We thank God for the way that He has blessed New Canaan throughout the years, and we truly believe and trust that THE BEST IS YET TO COME.

 

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