Rev. Kevin Tabuchi and his wife, Pastor Teresa Tabuchi, have been in charge of the school since Feb. 19.
Going forward, Fryters will remain on board as a transition advisor.
“I would say this: That we’re successors,” Kevin said.
“In other words, the school is being passed on to us, and I would say that the vision is going to be furthered, and that would be to honour John in this sense -- that I think he’s done a tremendous job in setting everything up, and I think he understands that we have a personality and a heart to fulfill what we feel has to be done.”
Fryters is passing on his responsibilities to the Tabuchis in part to devote more attention to the school’s overseas missions, now located in countries as diverse as Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan and Peru.
Although Fryters first floated the idea of partnering with the Tabuchis at the school several years ago, it was only recently that Kevin believed he finally had the requisite knowledge and experience to take on the responsibility.
But for CHAKAM’s founder, there was something more spiritual about the arrangement.
“I think it’s the spirit of God who’s moving people together,” Fryters said.
He elaborated further: “The spirit of God moved us together in the situation that was needed for them and was needed for us, meeting needs on both ends, because they wanted to have a Bible school -- an operational, functional Bible school – and we wanted to find somebody to succeed. So it’s a match.”
One of the qualities that recommended Kevin and Teresa for the leadership positions was their comfort in an intercultural context. The couple has travelled extensively throughout the world spreading the gospel, reaching more than 100 First Nations communities in Canada alone.
Even their relationship itself is a testament to the multiculturalism that has become an increasingly important element of Christianity in the 21st century -- particularly in a growing community like Prince Albert.
“I think one of the things that we can offer is our marriage together … We come from two different ethnicities,” Teresa said. “We both were born and raised in Canada, but we have different backgrounds, different parenting and different languages that we come from …
“I look at our city and I think the strength of our city and this region, or even our nation, would be our families and our ability to work together interculturally, and I see Prince Albert and this area really headed in that direction.
“You can look at it even by the different immigrants that they’re bringing in. So I think it’s very timely.”
The Tabuchis moved to Prince Albert approximately nine years ago and are currently senior pastors at the Canadian Revival Centre on 38th Street.
The spirit of God moved us together in the situation that was needed for them and was needed for us. - John Fryters
Their building, which now also serves as the new home of CHAKAM, is currently undergoing extensive renovations in advance of a national conference called “The God Who Still Answers Prayer,” set to take place from March 10-17.
The planned changes are designed to better service the needs of students at the facility, which includes a 250-seat “sanctuary” and a K-12 private Christian school.
“We’re servicing the classrooms so there’s a proper sound system in there, and we’ve put a widescreen TV in,” Kevin said.
“We have recording for students who are wanting correspondence courses … We have a computer lab, sound room (and) media set, so we’ll be able to introduce them to some other courses that we couldn’t offer before.”
As the Tabuchis take over the reins at CHAKAM from Fryters, they are anticipating a two to three year transition period during which the school will expand in three main areas.
The first is a new ministerial graduate program, which will be offered to students who have already obtained a degree from a registered Bible school but wish to pursue further study.
The second is an expansion into the skilled trades.
“We’re looking at expanding in the area of vocational trades, where we’re helping people to get set up into journeyman positions and connect them with other businessmen in the city who can help train them -- some of them are Christians, some are not -- and we’re helping them get trained into a vocation so that they can build houses, they can build the future church, they can build the future training centre, and they’re finding it a rich reward,” Kevin said.
“We have a lot of carpenters here now and tradespeople and young people really who had no vision in life to do anything, and all of a sudden they pick up a hammer and they start getting the formalized training, because we do have a couple courses that are registered with Saskatchewan Advanced Education.”
Finally, the Tabuchis intend to place a renewed focus on Prince Albert itself rather than communities farther north.
In doing so, they have drawn inspiration from the Rev. James Nesbit, who originally founded the city in 1866 as a Presbyterian mission station.
“We’re not saying that we’re making any comparisons,” Kevin said.
“We’re just saying that we find ourselves at this particular time really receiving some amazing contacts from people, and God’s just making it easy for this to happen.”