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Our Story


In 1894, Reverend A.S. Johnson of Galilee Baptist Church dispatched six members of his congregation into the Allendale community to organize a house of worship. This founding congregation met at various homes before acquiring property located at 1648 Alston Street for $100.00. The congregation named the church Mount Canaan and under the leadership of the first pastor, Reverend Robert Robinson, the first sanctuary was erected. During the tenure of the fifth pastor, Reverend Ebenezer Thomas, the rebuilding of the church occurred after it had been demolished in a storm. Under the tenure of the ninth pastor, Reverend S. M. Golden, the first usher board was organized. The usher ministry would be later affectionally called “Mount Canaan’s Finest” and still holds this moniker to this very day. Reverend D.P. Smith, the tenth pastor, guided the church through further remodeling, adding a right wing and refurbishing the sanctuary. During the thirteen-year tenure of the twelfth pastor, Reverend A,S. Jackson, numerous improvements came to fruition, highlighted by the transition from a part-time to full-time church concept, and the church was formally incorporated in 1957. In 1958, Reverend Elroy Day was elected the thirteenth pastor. During his tenure, the Youth Department was reorganized, more renovations took place, a new public address system was installed, and the radio ministry was resumed. Reverend J.D, Jackson, brother of A.S. Jackson, was chosen as the fourteenth pastor. He never served-, opting instead to recommend Reverend C. Cedric Claiborne, who became the fifteenth pastor. Under his leadership a parsonage was purchased and a campaign was implemented to fund a new sanctuary.


In 1966, a historical era at Mount Canaan began. The sixteenth pastor, Reverend Harry Blake, was elected on August 4, 1966. He accepted the pastorate and delivered his initial sermon in November 1966. Phenomenal growth and accomplishments occurred under his 52-year tenure, notably a new $500,000 church structure located at 1666 Alston Street in 1976, with two additional phases, a Family Life Center and a Community Center being completed in 1996 and 2016, respectively. In 2019, the community center was renamed the Norma J. Blake Community Center and the Family Life Center was renamed the Harry Blake Family Life Center. In addition to the church property, Mount Canaan acquired other significant real estate holdings, which included Canaan Village and Canaan Towers, which were later liquidated and sold to private entities. The church became a member of the Thirteenth District Missionary Baptist Association, the Louisiana Missionary Baptist State Convention, and the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. Incorporated. Reverend Blake served as Moderator for the Thirteenth District Baptist Missionary Association, President of the Louisiana Missionary Baptist State Convention, General Secretary of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. and Vice-President of the Southwest Region of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A.


During the I980s, Mount Canaan had an astronomical increase in mid-week prayer meeting and Sunday School enrollment, becoming the foundation of the church. The mid-week prayer meeting was deemed a model for congregations throughout the country. The 21st century marked an era of change for Mount Canaan. Sunday School lessons were written in-house, making lessons more relevant and applicable to the members; daily lives. Reverend Harry Blake introduced the 20/20 vision to the church in 2009. Central to the 20/20 Vision was establishing biblical foundations for ministries and operating them according to scripture. During this same period, a second morning worship service was instituted for the convenience of the membership, which afforded opportunities for worshippers to attend 2 morning worship services flanking the Sunday School hour.


In 2013, another transition began, as Reverend Blake announced his five- year exit strategy to the congregation, stating that he would retire on the last Sunday in December 2018. As part of this strategy, he established a model procedure for the ordination of deacons and ordained 22 deacons to be added to the existing 28 deacons at Mount Canaan. Pastor Blake also instituted a mid-week noon bible study geared toward our senior saints to provide an alternative opportunity to study during daylight hours. This effort was led by Reverend Anthony Atkins, a student at Wiley College, while under the tutelage of Pastor Blake. Another exit strategy component provided the opportunity for the entire congregation to participate in the well-structured pastoral transition process.


After 40 days of prayer, each member of the congregation submitted, in writing, the name of a minister that they would like to succeed Reverend Blake as pastor. Of the seventeen names which were submitted, Reverend Greg L. Oliver's name was the choice of over 70% of the congregation. Three days after a public interview, which was conducted by the Deacons; Council in front of the entire congregation, the election was held at the church via voting machines provided by the Louisiana Secretary of State. Reverend Greg L. Oliver received 93% of the votes that were cast. On July 15, 2018, Reverend Oliver preached his initial sermon as Pastor-Elect and on September 2, 2018, he was installed as the seventeenth pastor of Mount Canaan, with Reverend Harry Blake transitioning to the church's first Pastor Emeritus.


Mount Canaan has experienced phenomenal growth during the early years of Pastor Oliver’s leadership. Our membership increased and we have continued as a leading congregation in transforming ourselves and others into the image of Jesus Christ. Pastor Oliver has a goal of steering more resources and attention toward the young adult and youth ministries, while continuing to nurture and attend to our Senior Saints. He also has challenged us to increase our footprint virtually and beyond the 4 corners of the actual church edifice by implementing a virtual membership program, launching a Sunday morning television broadcast, challenging us to make improvements to our website and social media platforms implemented the “C4 Values” concept and contracting with a local media and marketing company. Additionally, Mount Canaan partnered with the Shreveport Food Bank to create an in-house food bank that is stocked with perishable and nonperishable items that are available for Shreveport residents on a daily basis. Further, to adjust to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Pastor Oliver launched “Park and Praise”, Mount Canaan’s outdoor worship experience, which was held on the grounds of the church until we could safely reenter the sanctuary. We still have “Park and Praise” on intermittent 5th Sunday mornings as we continue our community outreach by taking our worship experience to the community. To enhance the Sunday morning worship experience, the church hired a sound engineer and adjusted service times to accommodate members’ challenging weekend schedules, while giving them an opportunity to maximize family time on the weekends. God has sustained Mount Canaan through the unprecedented times of a coronavirus pandemic, as He has remained faithful to His promises to those who have made Him Lord and Savior. Pastor Oliver, in his commitment to God, encourages us to be both productive and impactful in our service to others. We are truly a church grounded in the cross, growing in Christ and giving to the community.

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