East Canaan Methodist Church
Methodism came to Canaan with the early settlers. The history of Methodism during its first century in Canaan is described in the Chapter THE METHODIST CHURCH in William Allen Wallaces book, The History of Canaan, N. H.
Uniting Canaan Street Church and East Canaan Church
The current sanctuary was begun in 1858 when land was deeded for its construction as a union church. The structure was completed in 1861. The construction expenses were paid by selling pews for families to occupy during services. There was religious worship in the building, but there was no church organization. This was called East Canaan Church.
During the pastoral term of Reverend Joshua B. Holman from 1859 to 1860, the parsonage on Canaan Street was purchased and thoroughly repaired. A debt was contracted which remained to vex the souls of the pastor and people for many years. This debt was removed during the term of Reverend A.C. Coult in 1869 to 1871.
In 1863, Reverend C. U. Dunning arrived in Canaan and organized the Methodist church. The first quarterly conference of the Canaan Methodist Episcopal Church was held on May 1, 1863. The East Canaan Church had a separate pastor from Canaan Street Church until 1883, when the churches were united. When Reverend Dunning started preaching in Canaan, there were fifteen members of the East Canaan class. Four years later under his leadership, there were sixty members and twenty probationers.
In the report of March 3, 1873, the church property was valued at $4,000. The title was vested in one name for the benefit of the Society. There is no insurance on the church. There were no repairs made on the church that year.
At the beginning of the year in 1875, there was quite a division of feeling in the church, which gradually wore away giving place to a more kindly state of sentiment. The Baptist Church resumed their services, which took away part of the congregation. On Sunday evenings, union services were held alternately in the two churches and were well attended. It was the pastors feeling that these union services were not a hearty union and there was an unhappy feeling of antagonism between the two churches.
In 1883, the Canaan Street Church was united with the East Canaan Church, both churches being under the care of one pastor. From then until 1963, the East Canaan Church shared the same pastor with the Canaan Street Church.
Canaan Street Church in the 1900s
East Canaan Methodist Church
Reverend C. W. Taylor served the longest term as pastor at the Canaan Street Church, from April 1909 to April 1923. In 1909 the Ladies Social Circle voted to buy a 93L Mason and Hamlin organ for $283.50. They paid $200 down, with the balance to be paid one year from the date of the sale (November 22, 1909).
In 1920, the parsonage was wired for electricity at a cost of $170. A new range was also installed at a cost of $100. Most of the repairs on the Canaan Street Church, the parsonage, and Academy Hall was paid for by the Ladies' Social Circle. In 1923 a choir was organized under the leadership of Mrs. George Eggleston.
From 1946-1948, the pulpit was supplied by Doctor Richard Kellogg, District Superintendent of the Northern District. Reverend Floyd Mullis transferred from the Nebraska Conference and served here from June 1948 to May 1949.. He taught Bible courses at Cardigan Mountain School. About 25 boys from the school attended the church services.
On May 1, 1949, a young Adult Fellowship was organized with about sixty members present. They met twice a month at Academy Hall. The programs consisted of hymn sings, discussions, and recreation.
The parsonage was painted at a cost of $300. The money for this project was generously donated.
April 8, 1963, the Canaan Street Church was merged with the East Canaan Methodist Church. The parsonage was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Austin Welch. The Canaan Street Church was sold to Charles Brundage for Canaan College in August 1965.
In 1885 some replastering and painting was done to the church and a new pulpit, chair, and Bible was put in at a cost of $100. This was paid in full when done. Under Reverend A. M. Markey's pastoral care, the church felt in 1902-1903, the blessed spirit. It was during this period that a new piazza was put on the parsonage and other improvements made.
At the April, 1908, Quarterly Conference, it was recommended to adopt a weekly offering system for raising funds to support the church. The idea of raising funds by envelope failed. At the July 28, 1908, Quarterly Conference, it I was voted that the Trustees take charge of the repairs to the church. Prior to this, the Ladies' Social Circle had the work done and paid for it. At this meeting it was voted to make repairs to the church which consisted of new carpeting, cushions, pulpit, furniture, and alterations at the rear of the church. The total cost of this project was not to exceed $1,000.
At the June 1923, Quarterly Conference, Pastor C.W. Taylor retired from the Ministry after fifty years of continuous service. He served the Canaan church for fourteen consecutive years.
The Canaan churches merge
In August, 1926, the church interior was redecorated at a cost of $200. In 1931, one side of the church roof was reshingled. April 23, 1926, the Jeannette F. Murray fund was established for $1,000 - 80% of the interest went for the pastor's salary and 20% for needed repairs.
Baccalaureate services were held at the East Canaan Church with 178 people in attendance in June, 1931, 175 in June, 1932, and 217 in June, 1933. The 1933 Baccalaureate service was Pastor Savage's largest attendance since he arrived. The June, 1934, Baccalaureate was attended by 186 people. In 1934, new carpeting was laid in the church at a cost of $364. Mrs. Cora Smith reached a goal of being the organist for 50 years in this church. On October 8, 1934, the Dell J. Goss fund was established with $ 100 - 50% of the interest to be used for music and 50% for flowers.
On April 4, 1935, the Orin Palmer Wright Memorial fund was established for $ 1000 - 50% of the interest to be used for preaching and 50% for repairs. At the 1937 Quarterly Conference, Pastor Savage informed the board that if they could find four or more descendants of the original owners of the church, they could get a Quit Claim deed and then the church would be the property ofthe East Canaan Episcopal Church. As of this date the church building was not owned by the Methodists. Pastor Savage was to investigate this. No report of this investigation ever showed up in the church history.
The church avoided the fate of many other structures in Canaan Village during the great fire, which burned much of the town. The hurricane of 1938 did topple the steeple, which ended up protruding from the roof. It was reconstructed in 1939.
On March 10, 1952, Sherman B. Manning deeded over to the United Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church a plot of land adjacent to the Methodist church to be used as a parking lot for both Churches.
Building the vestry
April 8, 1963, the Canaan Street Church and the East Canaan Methodist Church merged thus becoming the United Methodist Church of Canaan. The Canaan Street Church and parsonage were sold. We merged with West Canaan Chapel and Enfield United Methodist Church to form the Mascoma Valley United Methodist Parish.
On October 10, 1964, the Canaan Church purchased St. Helena's share of the parking lot for $2,000. Plans were soon underway to build a vestry attached to the church. June 13, 1967, the church entered into a contract with Robert Bruce to build a vestry - two stories, 30 by 40 feet attached to the church.
July 1, 1969, the Elsie Barney Fund was established. This was a $1,000 gift given in her memory by her husband.
In 1969, the steeple was repaired and painted at a cost of $700. The W.S. C.S. made a donation of$300 toward this project. At the December, 1969, meeting it was voted to give a rose bud for all new babies that were baptized. The summer of 1970, the W.S.C.S. donated $800 toward paving of the church parking lot. On March 15, 1970, Bishop Matthews conducted a union service for the Mascoma Valley Parish at the Mascoma Valley Regional High School.
February 4, 1983, a new furnace was installed in the church at a cost of $2,793. March 9, 1983, the outside of the church was painted at a cost of $3,450. April 19, 1983, the steeple was reshingled and the three faces of the clock were repainted at a cost of $1,600. On July 8, 1984, Zeph Clarke resigned as organist after 42 years of faithful service. In 1985, storm windows were installed on the church and insulation was applied at a cost of $1,358.80. Various church members bought a window to raise money for this project, and a plaque was put by each window to note the donors.
May 8, 1985 a special charge conference was held. This meeting was to vote to merge the three churches of Canaan, West Canaan and Enfield into one church. This conference was held at Canaan and it was defeated.
The Enfield parsonage was painted in June, 1986, at a cost of $1,400. In February, 1992, the Outreach Committee began holding pie sales for the medication fund at the Outreach Clinic at Wilder, Vermont. On July 7, 1992, the Canaan Methodist Church purchased the home of Emily Lufkin for $88,000. This is to be used as a parsonage. Money for this was raised by pledges for five years. At the end of the pledge drive, there was a balance of $65,000. This was remortgaged for 25 years at 7.25% interest. The payments were put into the annual budget. The pastor moved from the Enfield parsonage to the Canaan parsonage in August, 1992. In 1996, the mortgage on the parsonage was paid off.