MISSISSAUGA, Ontario (ABP) — Leaders of Canada’s largest Baptist body have, for the first time, appointed a non-Caucasian to their top executive post.
Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) — an association of four regional and language-based Canadian Baptist conventions — announced June 29 that Sam Chaise had been tapped to become the group’s next general secretary. Chaise was previously the director of the William Carey Institute at Carey Theological College, a Baptist school in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Chaise — who was born in England, raised in Ontario, educated in Saskatchewan and British Columbia and has served in western Canada his entire ministry — is of Indian descent.
“Sam brings leadership and ministry experience at both the denominational and organizational levels,” said CBM board president Brenda Halk. “He has a keen understanding of the international and Canadian context of our work and partnerships and is passionate about integral mission. We look forward enthusiastically to his leadership as we move into the future of this dynamic organization.”
Gary Nelson, whom Chaise is succeeding as CBM general secretary, said in an e-mail message that he “couldn’t be more pleased” with the selection. “Sam is one of our strong young leaders and will serve our ‘tribe’ well,” he wrote.
Chaise received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and worked for a brief time in the oil industry before following a call to ministry and earning his M. Div. degree through a program jointly run by Carey Theological College and Regent College in Vancouver.
He has served as an associate pastor at Kitsilano Christian Community Church in Vancouver and Emmanuel Baptist Church in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He was lead pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in New Westminster, British Columbia, before going to the Carey Institute when it was founded in 2007.
Chaise has been involved in Canadian Baptist life for many years, including stints as board president for the Baptist Union of Western Canada (one of CBM’s constituent bodies) and as a member of CBM’s board from 2007 to 2009.
His wife, Cindie, is an art-history professor at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia.
Chaise will take over July 1 for Nelson, who will become president of Tyndale University College and Seminary, a non-denominational Christian school in Toronto. Nelson served for 10 years at CBM’s helm, and he is credited with expanding the denomination’s leadership-development and theological-education programs as well as programs for community development, missions and discipleship. Previously he was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Edmonton, Alberta, where he is credited with helping transform a moribund downtown church into a revitalized modern congregation.
A native Canadian, Nelson earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has taught extensively at colleges and seminaries throughout Canada and the United States.
He and his wife, Carla, a Tyndale professor and administrator, have an adult daughter and three grandchildren.
Robert Marus is managing editor and Washington bureau chief for Associated Baptist Press.