On June 30, 1941, seventeen individuals, led by Rev. W. S. Strong, met in a store front building at 23rd Street and Fort Street to organize Mt. Canaan Baptist Church. Pastor Strong served as the first pastor, and the church name was suggested by Sister Eddie Mae Strong. Pastor Strong served as Pastor from 1941 until 1949, but not before purchasing a house located at 2130 Fort Street. This is where the foundation began. Rev. H.M. Strong accepted the call in 1955 and remained until 1962.
Rev. W.S. Strong
2130 Fort Street
In August 1962, Rev. Melvin Jordan was called to pastor the Church. He was only eight months in the ministry, but made a great impact. Of all the Pastors who served, Pastor Melvin Jordan served the longest – 40 years. Pastor Melvin Jordan was very instrumental in building a new church building located at 2307 Ocoee Street.
Pastor Melvin Jordan
On January 19, 1969, Pastor Melvin Jordan led the congregation on a long cross-town motorcade from Fort Street to Ocoee Street. Mt. Canaan worshipped there for 11 years. Tragedy struck on January 24, 1980 – the church building mysteriously burned to the ground, a total loss. Pastor Jordan made arrangements for the church to temporarily worship in Hardy Junior High School February – May 1980. During this time Pastor Jordan led the church to purchase the 2800 N. Chamberlain Avenue property.
2307 Ocoee Street
In May 1980, Pastor Jordan again led the congregation on a historical march from Ocoee Street to 2800 N. Chamberlain Avenue. This event was covered by local radio stations, newspaper and television media. What a wonderful and exciting Church Pre-Anniversary celebration!
2800 N Chamberlain Ave
On Sunday, July 27, 2002, Pastor Melvin Jordan announced his retirement to the membership to be effective December 31, 2002. The search for a new Pastor began. In a church business meeting, February 3, 2003, the membership voted for Pastor Melvin Jordan to be named Pastor Emeritus of Mt. Canaan. During the 18-month search, faithful members of Mt. Canaan gathered weekly to pray that God would send them a Pastor. They still gather on Thursdays at noon to pray for the church membership and Pastor.
Pastor Melvin Jordan
In July, 2003, membership voted Rev. Timothy Sykes to the ministerial staff, and he served as Interim Pastor during the pastoral search.
Rev. Timothy Sykes
In July 2004, God and the Mt. Canaan Baptist Church, chose Pastor Ternae T. Jordan, Sr., to serve as Pastor. He accepted the call and preached his first sermon as Pastor on July 4, 2004. In an installation service, October 17, 2004, the mantle was passed from father to son. In February 2005, Pastor Melvin Jordan was officially and publicly recognized as Pastor Emeritus Melvin Jordan and Patriarch of the Faith for his long and dedicated service at Mt. Canaan for 40 years.
Pastor Ternae T. Jordan, Sr.
On April 24, 2011, because of the rapid growth in membership, Mt. Canaan moved its worship service to the Tennessee Temple University campus in the Chauncey-Goode Auditorium. We were able to bring both church services (8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.) together and have more room to accommodate those that we had to turn away for lack of seating space. Bible Seminar (now called the School of the Bible), ministry meetings and choir rehearsals continued to be held at the 2800 N. Chamberlain site.
In 2012, the Melvin Jordan Pastoral/Leadership Institute (MJP/LI) was established and held its first class with 40 students, on August 27, 2012, on the Tennessee Temple University (TTU) campus. In May 2014, twenty-six (26) students graduated with a Certificate in Pastoral Ministries. Our leader, Pastor Ternae T. Jordan, Sr., made history as the first African American to give the commencement address at TTU. Also, in 2012, the Mass Choir was renamed the Melvin Jordan Gospel Choir.
In 2013, Mt. Canaan moved its worship service to the Memorial Auditorium. We worshiped at this location until another mighty move of God in July of 2014.
In July 2014, Mt. Canaan purchased property at 4801 Highway 58, and on Sunday, November 2, 2014, held a Groundbreaking/Renovation Ceremony and walked in to have its first worship service there.
4801 Highway 58
In 2020, Purpose Point Community Resource Center (the non-profit arm of the Mt. Canaan Baptist Church), created two area of focus to impact the community. Purpose Point Community Health opened at our 2800 North Chamberlain Avenue location, in the heart of East Chattanooga, to be an all-inclusive medical clinic providing healing and access to care through core values of love, respect, compassion and dignity.