By ALEX MALM Rev. Sam Chesser began his role as the pastor of Warwick Central Baptist Church on Feb.1, but like most things during the pandemic his installation service was put on hold. He said that under normal circumstances it would've taken place
Rev. Sam Chesser began his role as the pastor of Warwick Central Baptist Church on Feb. 1, but like most things during the pandemic his installation service was put on hold.
He said that under normal circumstances it would’ve taken place sometime in the spring but because of COVID and particularly because they have an older demographic they decided to wait.
“We wanted to make sure everything was safe before we had the service,” Chesser.
On Sunday, Sept.26 at 3 p.m. that service will be take place, with a reception to follow.
Chesser came to Warwick from Norwich, Connecticut where he served as a pastor at First Baptist Church of Norwich for the last seven years.
During the pandemic Chesser said that he wanted to make a change.
“I decided that I needed a change I needed a refreshing and new challenges in my life,” he said.
Like many organizations, Chesser said the church has a profile system where people can submit their names as being someone who interested in going to a new church and church leadership is able to connect with interested applicants and interview them like any other profession.
He said that Warwick Central Baptist Church found him and after connecting both parties thought it would be a good fit.
Chesser began has been a pastor for about 10 years. He became a full-time pastor after graduating seminary eight years ago at 24 years old.
His roots in the Baptist Church community date much further back. His father, Tim, is a retired pastor out of Ohio.
“I ended up following in his footsteps,” Chesser said.
But his journey of becoming a pastor wasn’t on purpose.
He said that for a long time he didn’t want to be one because he didn’t want to do the same thing as his dad.
While in college he wanted to pursue law school so he studied political science for his undergraduate degree. During that time he was also preaching part-time.
It was then that he felt it was right to become a pastor.
“I really felt that God was calling me to be a pastor,” he said.
During his senior year he applied to seminary school where he earned his masters degree in divinity and was ordained as an American Baptist Pastor.
While he has been able to meet more of his congregation over the last few months, Chesser said that he was faced with unusual challenges during the beginning of his tenure in Warwick, especially in terms of having face-to-face interactions.
“The first three months I was doing this job I was basically preaching to a video camera in an empty room,” he said.
He said that they didn’t have in person services until the beginning of June, which has helped him to meet more people and to learn more about the community.
On a normal Sunday they have about 60 people in person, he said and they still have a video broadcast of their services through Zoom for those who aren’t comfortable with being in person.
Also moving to Rhode Island with Chesser was his wife and his three children who are two, four, and six years old.
He said that they “love it here.”
“They were excited to be close to the ocean, they love Rhode Island, they’ve become Rhode Islanders very quickly,” Chesser said.
And down the road in Cranston his father serves as the interim pastor for Philips Baptist Church. Originally his parents moved to Connecticut from Ohio to be closer to him and his family and after they moved to Rhode Island they were able to move to the Ocean State as well.