The Donald N. and Kathleen G. Bastian Chair of Wesley studies focuses on the life, work and witness of John and Charles Welsey, together with their legacy to the church.
The training of Christian ministers and other Christian workers for future generations is at the very heart of the mission of Tyndale Seminary. Such training requires exemplary faculty who can prepare leaders who are equipped in mind and heart. One time-tested method to underwrite, through a special endowment, the cost of such education is to establish academic chairs.
The term chair is used in colleges, universities, and seminaries to identify a particular area of study which is funded by a special endowment. A seminary might have a chair of preaching, church growth, Christian spirituality, historical theology, prayer, or any number of other disciplines.
Development Of The Chair
In the late 1980s, Bishop Donald N. Bastian of the Free Methodist Church and President Neil Hightower of the Canadian Nazarene College shared a common concern for seminary training for Wesleyan-oriented ministers in Canada.
Bishop Bastian convened a meeting of denominational leaders of several denominations with Wesleyan heritage: the Brethren in Christ (now Be in Christ Church), the Church of the Nazarene, the Free Methodist Church, the Salvation Army, the Standard Church (now merged with the Wesleyan Church) and the Wesleyan Church. They agreed to seek from their respective denominations financial commitments. The same year, they approached Tyndale Seminary, which serves a broad spectrum of Christian evangelical traditions. The Chair was inaugurated in 1993 and is funded by a growing endowment along with continued financial support from the denominations and Tyndale Seminary.
The Chair was named in honour of Donald N. and Kathleen G. Bastian, in honour of their lifetime of service to the church and their remarkable twenty-year tenure as Canadian leaders of the Free Methodist Church.
The Wesley Studies Committee
The Bastian Chair of Wesley Studies is regulated by a charter that defines the academic qualifications and personal faith commitments required by the person occupying the Chair. The Wesley Studies committee is a representation of the supporting denominations and Tyndale Seminary.