The Canaan story began when a family of Christians in Wilmington, Delaware was displaced from its former place of worship. These church family members were told if they were “unhappy there, then they should just move on.” From this disenfranchised flock, thirteen members (William Allen, James Bonds, Donald J. Bowman, Sr., Kermit Brooks, Connie Cabble, Iris Craighead, Earl Green, Jr., Penrose Hollins, Michael James, Christopher Joyner, Dianne Michael, Ernest Purnell, Sr., and Kia Wyatt) met on December 6, 2002 to discuss the possibility of forming a new church. That meeting set into motion a series of events that led to the formation of what is known today as the Canaan Baptist Church.
The thirteen friends were inspired by the love of Jesus and driven by a vision to inform the mind, reform the spirit, and transform the human condition. Deacons Donald J. Bowman, Sr. and Earl Green, Jr., who served as Chair and Co-Chair of this new beginning called the group together for a meeting, which was held in Chris Joyner’s State Farm Insurance office, at 1033-1035 N. Lincoln Street in Wilmington. The invitees to the meeting were suggested by Dr. Christopher Alan Bullock, former Pastor of the historic Eighth Street Baptist Church, where these believers had been long time members. This family of believers wanted to make sure that they were led by the Holy Spirit, so they turned to Acts 16:6-10 as their compass. Also, they also wanted to make sure that they were on a Christian path in planting a new church in the Wilmington metropolitan area, so they asked Dr. Bullock to be their spiritual advisor. At the time, Dr. Bullock was serving as Pastor of the Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois but with his heart still in Delaware, he agreed to assume the role. They further wanted to make sure that they were disciplined in the culture and doctrine of the Baptist Church, and above all, they felt duty bound to a firm belief of accountability before God and toward each other. Therefore, they obtained the counsel of Reverend Dale Miller of the American Baptist Churches, Inc. to verify the need for a new church.
The 13 founding members became known as the Core Planters of the new church called Canaan. They dedicated themselves to a movement of which the future members of the church would be eternally grateful. Individually they represented diverse backgrounds and talents and contributed to the development of the church through a variety of special gifts and blessings.