About Us




Rev. M. C. McKelvey

1930 – 1944



Rev. Isaac Glover

1945 – 1946


Rev. S. T. Simmons

1947 – 1981



Rev. Dr. Alfred Williams

1982 – Present



Canaan Missionary Baptist Church was founded as a mission in a house on Adair Street in the Five Mile Accabee Section – Charleston, South Carolina by Reverend M. C. McKelvey in 1930.  At a later date a church was built on the same street and it was named Victory Baptist Church.  They lost the church in Accabee but continued to have service in a building on Meeting Street Road until the church was relocated to a building on Burton and Johnson Lane.


In 1939, the congregation moved to an existing church building on Irving Avenue in the Union Heights Section.  After continued growth, they moved in a house on the corner of Bucannon and Delaware Avenue.  At this time, the name was changed to Canaan Missionary Baptist Church.  The house was replaced with a small mission church building.


Before the move to Delaware and Bucannon Avenue, there were no anniversary services held and for many years thereafter.  In the early 1970’s, the church started celebrating their anniversary and it was the opinion of the historians that the church started in 1939.  After receiving authoritative information from persons who knew of the earlier beginnings, the decision was made in the September 28, 1988 Board Meeting to meet with these members.  It was confirmed that the church started as a mission in 1930 instead of 1939.


Some of the members who started in the organization of Canaan were:  Deacon John Henry Fields, Sis. Ellen Fields and Sister Eva Krisen.  Trustee Board:  Deacons Henry Perry, Elijah Williams, and Willie Williams.  Deacon Board:  Deacons Henry Perry, Chairman; Elijah Williams, Willie Williams, Joe Smalls, Rufus Fields and M. McKelvery.  Missionary Board:  Sisters Maggie McKelvery, C. Watson, Lula Martin, Florine Pickins, Learners Smalls and Sealie Smalls.  Deaconess Board:  Sisters Lucille Perry, Leaners Smalls and Rebecca Fields.   At a later date, the following auxiliaries were organized:   Usher Board:  Bro. Isaac Williams, #1, Sisters Florine Pickens, Louise Sumpter, Della Williams, Emily Williams, and Brother Andrew Squire, President.  Sunday School Department:  Deacon Henry Perry – Superintendent, Rev. W. Williams – Assistant Superintendent.  Teachers:  Deacon Rufus Fields, Sisters Clara Watson and Alice Marion.  Other Superintendents were:  Rev. W. Williams, Deacon Rufus Fields.  Senior Choir:  Sister M. McKelvery – President, Sisters Lula Martin, Alice Marion, Alice Wright, Lucille Perry, Brothers Louis Washington, Sam Marion, and Deacon Rufus Fields.  New members added when the church was still in a mission stage were:  Deaconess Board:  Sister Inez Williams.  Senior Choir:  Deacon Robert Brown #1, Sister Lillie Bradley, Sister Katherine Ferguson and Reverend W. Williams.  Ministers:  Rev. I. Gibbs, Rev. I Smalls and Lct. C. Washington.


The first sexton of the church was Deacon Rufus Fields, who would ring the convening bell before each service.  Sister Sealie Smalls followed Deacon Fields in this office, also Brothers Abraham Singleton, J. Glover L. Mack, A. Thomas, Deacons B. Gadsden, R. Brown, Benjamin Johnson and Bro. Leo Hamm. Sister Adair Truell and Brother Allen Davis is presently serving as the church sextons.  Church secretaries included Bro. Elias Benton, Bro. Alfred Williams, Sis. Dorothy H. Washington and Bro. Benjamin Whitten, Jr.  Sister Betty Cannon presently serves as the church secretary.


While the church was still in its mission stage, Sister Sealie Smalls became the first Mother of the church followed by Sister Rosa Hawkins, Sister Elizabeth Williamson and Sister Catherine Taylor.  In 1988, Sister Inez Brown was elected Mother of the Church.


The first pastor of the church Reverend M. C. McKelvey saw the church grow from a mission to a thriving fellowship of believers.  Rev. McKelvey was a loving pastor who cared for each member.  After his death, the church called Reverend Isaac Glover, who served as pastor for a short while.  Rev. S. T. Simmons became pastor on January 3, 1947.  Rev. Simmons helped complete the addition that was in progress in 1947 and led in the planning and building of a new church in 1957.  The building was completed and the cornerstone laid on September 25, 1966.  Five Deacons were ordained under Rev. Simmons’ pastorate, eleven ministers were licensed to preach, eight ministers ordained, new pew and pulpit sets were installed, an additional lot was purchased in front of the church and at the rear.  A rear and upstairs addition were also made under the pastorate of Rev. S. T. Simmons.


Rev. Alfred Williams was called as pastor of Canaan on March 10, 1982.  Under Rev. Williams’ pastorate, we continue to grow both spiritually and physically and in December 1986, a new church was purchased in North Charleston, South Carolina. The property includes a sanctuary, gymnasium, kitchen, classrooms and three houses for a total of 1.7 acres.  In September, 1989, a Children’s Church was started by Sister Bessie Simmons and Sister Gloria Edwards.  Other programs implemented are:  Feed the Hungry Program (4th Saturday in each month, under the guidance of Sis. Dorothy Harper), an Outreach Food Bank, under the supervision of Sis. Doris Nesbitt and Rev. Dorothy H. Washington, a Youth Department, Education Department, Computer Ministry and Prison Ministry.  Five ministers have been licensed and ordained, four deacons ordained, two ministers licensed, a trustee board organized, four additional choirs organized:  the Young Adult Choir (now the Gospel Choir), Male Choir, Sunbeam Choir and the Youth Inspirational Choir.  On July 19, 1999 Canaan burned the mortgage. 


Few records could be found on the actual membership of the church since 1930.  In 1954 there were 180 members.  In 1970, 254 members and at the end of 2001, Canaan Missionary Baptist Church has a membership of over 700.


To God Be The Glory!