The Canaan United Methodist Church

The first Methodist sermon preached in Canaan was delivered in 1786 at the Lawrence Tavern. Early Methodist ministers were circuit preachers traveling from place to place on horseback. Canaan was part of the Columbia Circuit which ran from the Hudson River to Canaan Mountain. Traveling preachers took from two to six weeks to make the circuit of their appointments, preaching twice on the Sabbath, and nearly every weekday evening. Among the earliest ministers of this type in the vicinity of Canaan was Freeborn Garretson, who along with Bishop Francis Asbury visited the town in 1791. Through Garretson's efforts in 1793, the first building for the purpose of Methodist worship in the New England States was errected on Battle Hill in nearby Falls Village.

In 1834 the Columbia Circuit had become so large that it was split and a long and very narrow  strip became known as the Canaan Circuit. The first Methodist Church in the town of North Canaan was built in 1816. This building was used until the current church was built in 1868 due to the Methodist Society growing at such a rapid rate. The old church was abandoned and subsequently sold to a local farmer. The cost of the building was $11,430.28 (wow, how times have changed!). Funds were raised to cover $7,000 of the expenses and a loan was secured for the balance. In October of 1882, the loan was paid off and worship was debt free beginning with the first Sunday in October 1882.

In June of 1966, the Falls Village Methodist Church was merged with the Canaan Methodist Church. Many enhancements have been made to the orignal structure, notably the beautiful large stained glass window in the front of the church was added in 1905. Other items were a change to a new heating system in 1947, and in 1967, wall-to-wall carpeting was laid in the sanctuary and lecture room.



  November 2020  
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