Reverend B. J. Tatum
Rev. B. J. Tatum is a native of Marshall, Texas. His ministry began at age five, and he was ordained as a Minister of the Gospel at age twelve. Prior to relocating to Urbana in 1971, he was employed on the managerial level at Motorola, Inc. in Chicago.
As Founding and Senior Pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Urbana, Rev. B. J. Tatum instituted a plethora of Evangelism and Discipleship ministries that have impacted the Champaign-Urban community. The ministries at Canaan are replete with Expository Preaching, Effective Teaching, Educational Excellence, Economic Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, and an Environment of Hope for Substance Abusers.
Rev. Tatum implemented an Evangelistic Soul Winning Action Team (SWAT) that has canvassed neighborhoods since June 8, 1980, sharing the Good News of the Gospel with lost souls. Over 35,000 homes have been visited, and more than 1,500 souls have been saved.
A Discipleship Follow-Up Ministry was launched February 15, 1988. People Available to Contact and Encourage (PACE) encourages and edifies weak and backslidden Christians.
Rev. Tatum is Superintendent of Canaan Academy, a private elementary school that he envisioned over 20 years, which became a reality on September 9, 1996. Under his leadership, construction of a new building for grades Pre-Kindergarten through five was completed in 1999. Students are academic achievers, and are scoring in the 97th percentile nationwide. The school is recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education.
He is Director and CEO of Canaan Credit Union, the fulfillment of his dream for economic empowerment that offers a practical approach to solving the problem of persistent economic violence that has historically plagued the African American community. The Credit Union opened its window to the future on October 12, 2001. People now "Bank at God's House." Rev. Tatum is also President and CEO of Canaan Development Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.
Canaan's Substance Abuse Ministry was the model for a separate male and female residential SAFE House (Substance Abuse Free Environment), where men and women can break free from controlling addictions and troublesome habits. SAFE House is recognized by the Champaign County Court System as an option for substance abusers.
A mentoring Ministry for men and women and boys and girls emanated from Rev. Tatum’s weekly Men's Discipleship Class, designed to empower African American men in the areas of parenting, successful relationships, self-esteem, and being role models in the community.
Rev. Tatum was an Auxiliary Chaplain at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul and served 12 years as Pastor/Director of a Sunday Inspirational Hour. He was the first African American Chaplain to provide worship services and pastoral duties. He traveled to other Air Bases preaching the Gospel and establishing an Inspirational Hour. Rev. Tatum received international prominence when he was invited as guest evangelist to the United States Armed Forces in Crete, Greece. This Christian mission was highlighted by the baptizing of four candidates in the Aegean Sea, which was a "first" for the Island of Crete.
He and his wife, Barbara, are parents of three children: Stephanie Tatum, Ph.D., College Professor in New York, Bryant Tatum, Principal of Canaan Academy, PhD from the University of Illinois, and Yolanda Tatum-Brown, a registered pharmacist in Houston, Texas. (A daughter, Pamela, is deceased. She was a Probation Officer.) They also have three grandsons.