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Obituary of Robert Canaan Harris
Robert Canaan Harris passed away unexpectedly on March 13, 2023. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky on February 22, 1974 to Bob and Martha Harris. Canaan was an avid reader from a very young age, always curious, wanting to understand and learn. He was a very talented visual artist and a beautiful singer. His voice was truly a gift from God.
Canaan attended Cedar Shoals High School in Athens, GA, University of Georgia in Athens, GA and Bethany College in West Virginia. When he was 10 years old he felt a very strong call into the ministry and in 1995, at the age of 21, Canaan started serving his first church in Valley, Alabama. In 1997, Canaan began his Master of Divinity at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, TX. It was on the first day of Orientation that Canaan met his future wife, Niki Jorgenson. Canaan and Niki were instant friends and this friendship became the foundation of their lives together. While in Fort Worth, Canaan was a founding member of Angel of Hope Christian Church.
On August 20, 2000 Canaan was ordained into Christian Ministry in Valley, Alabama. Niki’s ordination followed on September 2nd and together they began their journeys in Christian ministry. Canaan was called to serve Central Christian Church in Springfield, TN where he served faithfully for 3+ years. On May 3, 2003 Canaan and Niki were married at Navarre Beach, FL. He joined Niki in Owensboro, KY where she was the Associate Pastor of First Christian Church and together they served the church and community. One of Canaan’s favorite memories of Owensboro was starting a Sunday evening bluegrass service with his friend, Wendell. Canaan was always looking for an excuse to play his guitar, banjo and sing!
In 2004 their son, Ezekiel, was born and changed their lives forever. Their daughter, Eden, followed in 2011, making their family complete. Canaan absolutely loved being a dad and he left the ministry for a short time to be a full time father. In August 2005, Canaan moved to New Haven, Connecticut where he received a Master in Sacred Theology from Yale Divinity School. Niki and Ezekiel joined him in November 2005.
The family moved to Denver, CO in December 2006. Canaan stayed home with Ezekiel and Niki worked as the Chaplain at Tennyson Center for Children. In August 2007, Canaan was called as the Associate Pastor of Central Christian Church, Denver and in March 2012, he was made Senior Pastor, the position he served faithfully until his death. Canaan was a phenomenal Pastor, a trusted confidant and an amazing storyteller. He was a man of God, with his faith being the driving force of his life.
As much as Canaan enjoyed serving the church, his true loves were his children, Ezekiel and Eden. Canaan absolutely adored being a dad and there was nothing he enjoyed more than watching his children grow and discover their passions and interests. Canaan lived every day to bring the family joy, adventure and stability. He was always up for an adventure - taking the family hiking, biking, skiing, swimming, rock climbing - anything to make memories and be together. His favorite vacation spot was the beach where he took his family every summer. He loved the ocean - swimming, boating, paddle boarding. He was known for spending as many waking hours as possible on the water. Canaan loved to play his guitar, discover new hobbies, and do projects around the house. He traveled the world and made friends everywhere he went. He was nonstop energy and his enthusiasm was contagious. His presence will forever be missed.
In 1998, at the age of 24, Canaan, with the help of God, made the hard decision that alcohol would no longer control his life and for 24 years he was an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He mentored many people throughout those 24 years, speaking truth to the power of addiction. He lived his life in service - service to the Lord and to his fellow companions on the journey. Canaan believed wholeheartedly that with the help of God, true healing was possible. He led others with honesty, integrity and compassion. He loved the Lord with his whole heart and he was excited to share the Good News with others - often without them even realizing the message until much later. He was an excellent speaker, a man of great principles and a born leader.
Canaan’s life was not always easy. He faced much adversity in his life and in the church and he worked hard every day to turn the challenges into strengths and blessings. He led from his learned experiences and always, always spoke the truth (even when others wished he hadn’t). Canaan was a true man of God, a fierce protector of those he loved, a faithful servant of the church, a gifted scholar and a friend to those who knew him. He was strong, loyal, kind, thoughtful and very hardheaded! He will be missed by many for years to come.
Canaan is survived by his wife of almost 20 years, Niki Jorgenson, his children Ezekiel and Eden, his dad and stepmom, Bob and Jocelyn Harris, his mom and stepdad, Martha and Mickey Harris, his brother Andrew Harris and wife Melanie, his brother Micah Harris, his sister, Mary Elizabeth Rose Harris, his grandmother Carlene Harris, his nieces and nephews and a large and vast community of friends. Canaan is preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, Lloyd Harris and his maternal grandparents, Mildred and Ralph Caldwell and step-grandmother Jean Caldwell.
In lieu of flowers, donations can made to the Outreach Ministry of Central Christian Church, Denver (3690 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, CO 80219) in memory of Canaan and his life of service. Memorial Service will be held at Central Christian Church, Denver on Saturday, March 25 at 2:00pm MST. Service will be live-streamed on the church Facebook page, Central Christian Denver.