Our History

Mt. Canaan Baptist Church was organized on August 12, 1900 with Rev. John Curtis and a few faithful members seeking to do the will of God. The Rev. Sam Walker presided over the organization but it was not until 1921 when the church selected her first permanent pastor, The Rev. Judson L. Bennett. The church originated in a little house on Arsenal Avenue with a weekly prayer meeting service but was great in spirit. The first group of deacons under the leadership of Rev. Sanders was George Morris, Calvin Jones, Frank Shanks and Samuel Sanders.

In 1928 devastation struck when the church burned down, but some dedicated people prevailed and purchased a parcel of land. The property which was purchased was on Wheeler Rd. where the current building is now a beacon in the community. It was during this time “April 1928” when the name “Greater” was added to the name of the church making it “The Greater Mt. Canaan Baptist Church.”

Throughout several decades the ministries were implemented, boards were organized and people started joining the church. Most traditional Baptist church have communion on the first Sunday. However, in 1932 under the leadership of The Rev. John Paul Murphy, the church met twice a month (2nd and 4th Sundays) with communion on the 2nd Sunday and to this day, it is still on that Sunday.

The church from 1934 to 1980 (46 years) was under the leadership of three pastors: The Rev. Gary Lewis Gaines (1934-1955), The Bennie Irvin Vernon (1956-1959) and The Rev Nathaniel Irvin, Sr. (1959-1979). While there are a few members who are still alive from the Gaines and the Vernon years, the majority of the seniors can relate to the Rev. Irvin years.

While the church was continuing to progress, this was a period when different leaders embraced the challenges. The callings into ministry of J. C. Trowell under Rev. Vernon; Albert James, Willie Rivers, and the late Charles Smith was all key periods in the church’s history being called under the Rev. Irvin era. Also deacons and trustees were added along with different ministries. Feeling the unction to return to his home church, after 21 years Rev. Irvin resigned May 22, 1980 to pastor Old Storm Branch Baptist Church. The church was guided by the Holy Spirit to extend the pastorate to Rev. Louis T. Coley on October 16, 1980.

Under the leadership of Rev Coley, Rudolph Mayes was called into ministry and preached his initial sermon January 31, 1982. Also deacons were ordained and ministries continued to unfold. It was in 1984 when a young minister and his family, Rev. Rufus Copeland, joined our church family.

In the winter of 1990, Rev Coley resigned as pastor and on December 3, 1990, The Rev. Jerome Anderson was called to serve as pastor. While Rev. Anderson did not stay but five years, there were a lot of meaningful ministries offered: hired a secretary to work three days a week, ordained some deacons who are still serving and enhanced the structure and the administration of the church. On the exact day he was called to pastor, five years to the day, Rev. Anderson resigned on December 3, 1995. After much prayer and guidance, the church extended the pastorate to our current leader: The Rev Dr. Victor R. Thomas on May 22, 1996.

While it appears Dr. Thomas presents an intimidated stare, once you get to know our pastor, he is dependable. Under his leadership our church has been challenged to reach for the stars. Several ministries “too many to name” have been added under his leadership and he is ushering our church into this new technological age. We are excited about the future visions God has given Dr. Thomas. Our church started with a humble beginning.

2573 Wheeler Road Augusta, GA 30904  |  706-738-4930