In a historic vote on February 24, 2022, the Executive Committee of the Nevada-Utah Conference (NUC) elected Pastor Chanda Nunes as executive secretary. Pastor Nunes is the first woman elected to this position in the NUC and the first Black female elected as executive secretary in a local conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Pastor Nunes is a trailblazer and has been a “first” in every church position she has held. She came to the NUC from the Pacific Union College church, where she served as senior pastor—the first person of color and the first woman to have served in this capacity. With compassionate care, dynamic preaching, and contagious joy, she shepherded the faculty, students, and community through a global pandemic and devastating wildfires.
“I’m amazed by God’s love and how He leads,” shared Pastor Nunes. “I’m humbled by this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to being used by God in this new assignment.” As executive secretary, Elder Nunes is the conference officer responsible for developing, implementing, and interpreting church policies; addressing personnel and membership issues; documenting meetings; maintaining employee records and credentials; and compiling statistical reports.
NUC President Carlos Camacho expressed his appreciation for Pastor Nunes: “God called Pastor Chanda Nunes for such a time as this. Let me say that again. God called Elder Chanda Nunes, and we were obedient to Him. Nevada-Utah is committed to reflecting and celebrating the diversity of our conference, our world, and the kingdom of God with gifted and faithful leaders of all races, male and female.” The NUC has one of the most diverse conference leadership teams in Adventist history. The administration includes Elder Camacho, a Hispanic man; Elder Nunes, a Black woman; and treasurer Karen Schneider, a Caucasian woman.
Elder Nunes is no stranger to leadership and began serving God and the Adventist Church as a child. She was born to God-fearing Jamaican parents and raised in Toronto, Canada. Pastor Nunes recognized her call to ministry at the age of 9 and credits many church leaders who acknowledged her gifts and calling by assigning her various leadership roles.
Nunes nurtured these ministry gifts through education, earning a B.A. degree in religious studies with a minor in biblical languages from Burman University and a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University. She also received Associate degrees in private investigation and paralegal studies and is a certified life coach practitioner.
The Alberta Conference called Pastor Nunes to ministry on the campus of Burman University in 2003. She was the first Black female pastor at the College Heights church and quickly became known as a powerful preacher, organized administrator, and spiritual caregiver to diverse populations of people.
In 2008, Pastor Nunes was called to the Kansas-Nebraska Conference to serve as associate pastor of the New Haven church. She was the first Black pastor in that conference as well as the first Black woman pastor in the Mid-America Union. She was commissioned in 2011, and she often preached, presented seminars, and conducted special services at churches in the neighboring Central States Conference.
The Northern California Conference called Pastor Nunes in 2015. Once again, she was the first Black female to pastor in the conference. She served the Capitol City church in Sacramento and was ordained to the gospel ministry in 2018.
Elder Nunes enjoys interior decorating and appreciates meeting new people and hearing their stories. She is a car enthusiast who relishes road trips. She loves spending time with her three brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces, and nephews.
Wherever God has led her, Pastor Chanda Nunes has served with excellence, bold vision, and faithfulness. Through her, God has opened the doors of ministry for other women and people of color and is changing our church’s culture for the better.
By Darriel Hoy