Canaan Institutional Baptist Church held its first meeting at the home of Sister Susie Washington on September 16, 1959. Temporary officers were also named, Mrs. Lula Roye was elected Church Clerk, Mrs. Annie Taylor was elected Treasurer, and Mrs. Elizabeth Blake was elected chairman of the Trustee Board. The next meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Inez Drew on September 23, 1959. At that meeting there was a discussion on laying the foundation for a new church at 60 Main Street, Norwalk, CT.
Mr. William Davenport was given the job of building the interior structure for the new church. Rev. Ball the Founder and Pastor of Canaan at that time is stated "We are going into our new church with God." The official board meeting was held on October 19, 1959 and officers were selected. Thus, Canaan Institutional Baptist Church was organize and the new address was 60 Main Street, Norwalk, CT.
Canaan received the Church Charter in January 1966. On February 4, 1971, Canaan was contracted to buy a new building for the church and papers were signed in June of 1972. The members of Canaan Institutional Baptist Church moved into its new building on 31 Concord Street, South Norwalk, CT under the leadership of Pastor and Founder, Rev. John P. Ball.
Rev. Ball was born on August 19, 1908 in Richmond, Virginia He was the son of Rev. William B. Ball and Mary Magdalene Ball. He came to Connecticut and founded the Goodwill Community Baptist Church, Ridgefield's first black church. He served on the Norwalk Common Council and as president of the NAACP. He co-founded NEON, Norwalk's anti-poverty agency, the Interdenominational Minister Fellowship and the Carver Community Center. In 1942, Rev. Ball was invited to pastor Grace Baptist Church where he illustrated dynamic ability in leadership. For many years he served the homeless, passing the City's Fair Housing Law and created the Fair Rent Commission, lobbying in Hartford, Norwalk, and Washington, D.C. for civil rights. He was instrumental in the hiring of the first black firefighter, teacher, police officer and the State's first black treasurer. Rev. John P. Ball left his mark upon Norwalk as a mighty warrior and an Ambassador for the cause of Christ. He died July 1992.
In October 1993, Rev. James E. Bibbs became the second pastor of the Canaan Institutional Baptist Church. After serving four years as pastor, Rev. Bibb retired in November 1997. Presently, he resides in Ohio, where he continues to do God's work.
Reverend Roosevelt Ewell became the third Pastor of Canaan in September 1998. Rev. Ewell was an Associate Minister at New Hope Baptist Church, Danbury, CT under the leadership of the late Rev. Dr. Aaron B. Samuels, Sr. He was also Interim Pastor at Christ Temple Holiness Church for three years in Danbury. He has many honors and recognitions, among which is serving as a Past President of the Congress of Christian Education of the Connecticut State Missionary Baptist Convention and as past President of the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship of Norwalk Ct. Rev. Ewell is an experienced and accomplished Leader
We do not vote members into Canaan but embrace them into the Fellowship.