The History of New Canaan Baptist Church

    Reverend Alex W. Bussey

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          In 1943, the Reverend Alex W. Bussey moved to Washington, D.C. from Edgefield, South Carolina. Rev. Bussey was the former pastor of the China Grove and Cedar Grove Baptist Churches in Edgefield. Desiring to continue his work in ministry, Rev. Bussey began calling relatives and friends together to establish a church. On March 14, 1945, the New Canaan Baptist Church Mission met at the home of Brother Tandy and Sister Grace Gilchrist, 517 2nd Street, N.W. for their first meeting. Later a meeting was held at the home of Charlie, Helen, Walter, Jessie and Andrew Cain, 1722 Montello Avenue, N.E.; during this meeting the first officers were elected. They were:


    Walter Cain, Chairman
    Rufus Cain
    Tandy Gilchrist
    William Morrison


    Charlie Cain, Chairman
    Andrew Cain
    Tandy Gilchrist

    Church Clerk:

    Elizabeth Gilchrist

          The members also discussed the availability of a church at 4th and L Streets, N.W., where services could be held on a regular basis. On the following Sunday, April 1, 1945 services were held at the new site. Church enrollment consisted of 27 members.

          On May 18, 1945, the New Canaan Baptist Church was officially established with representatives from five Baptist churches to participate in the ceremonies. The enrollment had grown to 50 members. Realizing that the responsibility of the church did not rest with one man, but with a group of baptized believers, Rev. Bussey instituted a set of bylaws by which the Church should be governed.

    The following is a list of the auxiliaries established during Rev. Bussey's tenure as Pastor:

    Sunday school - Deacon Walter Cain, Superintendent
    Baptist Training Union (BTU) - Elizabeth Gilchrist, Director
    Missionary Society - Elizabeth Gilchrist
    Usher Board - First president unknown
    Vocal Choir - Grace Gilchrist, President
          (the Vocal Choir is New Canaan's oldest choir)
    Senior choir - Elizabeth Gilchrist, President
    Youth Choir - Jannie Patten Randolph
    Minister of Music - Alma Bryant

    On January 18, 1953, God called Rev. Bussey to eternal rest.

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    Reverend Jack Dawson

          Reverend Jack Dawson succeeded Rev. Bussey as Pastor in 1954. During his tenure, New Canaan continued worshipping at 4th and L Streets, N.W. On December 1959, the membership moved to 701 15th Street, N.E. Rev. Dawson resigned in January 1960.

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    Reverend Albert Norris

          In October 1960, New Canaan elected Reverend Albert Norris to lead the congregation. During Rev. Norris' tenure, the Church installed an air condition, a heating system, and a baptismal pool. Rev. Norris resigned in January 1970

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    Reverend Lindell Bridges

          On August 8, 1970, Reverend Lindell Bridges was elected to serve as Pastor. Under Rev. Bridges' leadership, new office equipment and the church house at 1502 Gales Street, N.E., were purchased and New Canaan’s bylaws were revised. Rev. Bridges resigned in April 1977.

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    Reverend Terry D. Streeter

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          On April 22, 1978, Reverend Terry D. Streeter was installed as Pastor. Under his leadership, the Church grew both spiritually and numerically, creating a need for an additional Sunday service. During Rev. Streeter's tenure, the Church continued to make improvements to the property by purchasing new pews and carpet. The Church also purchased a new van. Rev. Streeter resigned as Pastor on August 23, 1989.

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    Reverend Gregory M. Sims

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          On August 29, 1989, Reverend Gregory M. Sims was called as pastor-elect. He was installed as Pastor on December 16, 1989. In June 1990, Pastor Sims resigned his job to become New Canaan's first fulltime pastor. The focus of Pastor Sims' ministry has been on strengthening the family. He stresses building men who will in turn build their families and ultimately build the Church. The Men's discipleship Ministry has experienced significant growth under his pastorate. Since coming to New Canaan, Pastor Sims' ministry continues to flourish. In March 1990, New Canaan purchased a second church house at 1504 Gales Street, N.E. and during the same year purchased a computer system to automate the church's records. Additional improvements have been made which included the purchase of new carpet, a new church marquee, and an air conditioner system.

    Under Pastor Sims' leadership the following ministries have been established:

    Youth Ministries

    Educational Encouragement, Junior Youth Ministry
    Male Apprentice Network (Young Men’s Fellowship), Sunday Youth Sessions, Youth Bible Study, Youth Department, Youth Fellowship, Young Men’s Discipleship Class, Young Women’s Fellowship, and Youth Ushers.


    Back-to-School Blessings, CTC Commitment to Community, Meals on Wheels (Homeless Feeding and Clothes Closet), and SHARE Program.

    Community of Faith

    Couple’s Retreat, Couple’s Enrichment Ministry, Courtesy Attendants, Employment Ministry, Floral Ministry, Hospitality Ministry, Kitchen Ministry, Men’s Fellowship, Noon Prayer and Bible Class, Parenting Ministry, Senior Ministry, Shepherding Ministry, Strong Bodies, Substance Ministry (A Way Out), Van Ministry, Young Adult Choir and Young Adult Sunday School.

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    The Lord also blessed New Canaan on October 16, 1991, to purchase property at 2826 Bladensburg Road, N.E. The Ground Breaking Service was on Saturday, October 4, 1997.

    Through intense prayer and God’s grace the New Canaan Baptist Church Family marched into our present edifice on Saturday, June 3, 2000. In March 2001, a shed was constructed to house lawn and other equipment. We were blessed to acquire an 8,000 square feet property, 2830 Bladensburg Road, NE, adjacent to our Church; as a cash purchase in March of 2002. In answer to prayer, the Lord has provided complete ministry coverage, for the first time, for children through Senior citizens. On October of 2004, the Church Annex was dedicated through a prayer service, followed by an open house on Sunday, October 10, 2004.

    In March of 2005 our Church came together to provide funds for construction of a Church/School in the Philippines. During this same time, we began a construction upgrade project on our Church Annex to provide convenient access between our properties.

    In the fall of 2007 a “Mommy Room” was prepared to minister to parents of young children during the 11:00 a.m., Worship Service. In October 2007, the Lord blessed our Church to install the long awaited stain glass window in the front and rear of our Sanctuary.

    New Canaan was also blessed to participate in seeding resources for the construction of a Church in East Cape, South Africa and to a sonogram machine and printer for a hospital in Nigeria.

    Pastor Sims was led to combine the worship services on fifth Sundays. This merge has served to create a wonderful experience in our fellowship. Additionally, we were blessed to facilitate some major upgrades to our sound system in the fall of 2011.

    We continue to depend upon the Lord for wisdom and guidance, in order to maintain a spirit of excellence in ministry. We also endeavor to develop a heart for service, so that we can minister to others.

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