The South Pacific Division (SPD) has appointed James Standish as communication director to fill the role left vacant by previous director, David Gibbons, who resigned for personal reasons.
Mr Standish after moving back to Australia from the United States, recently took up the role of media ministries director for the Adventist Media Network.* Before moving, he was the director of Legislative Affairs at the General Conference (GC) and increased the profile of the organisation with the US government and the United Nations. While in this role, Mr Standish met with politicians and religious leaders from around the world, including two US presidents, Obama and Bush.
The Adventist church globally is at a crossroads. We have not yet found a way to effectively communicate our message in highly developed, secular societies.
“His ability to network with politicians and influential leaders throughout the Pacific is a major advantage,“ said Neale Schofield, CEO of Adventist Media Network. “He has proven experience in increasing the Adventist church’s public profile with people in influential positions.”
“Church administration has complete confidence in him to manage any church crisis,” said Mr Schofield. “Not only is he a lawyer and a quick thinker, he has a great understanding of our church from the GC to local level in all the Divisions around the world.”
Although busy in the world of business and law, Mr Standish has always enjoyed working in the world of media and communication. “One thing I love doing more than anything is writing,” he said. “ I also enjoy doing television and radio.”
He has written a column for the Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” site http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/james_standish/ , created and co-hosted more than 100 episodes of a Hope Channel show called “Global Faith and Freedom”, and authored various journals articles and reports, some of which have been presented at the White House. While studying for his BBA at Newbold College, he was editor of the college newspaper, and held editorial roles at the University of Virginia, while completing his MBA, and at Georgetown University, while studying law.
With such an interesting and diverse career in the US, why come now? “We came back so our children could grow up near their extended family and so they could enjoy the unprecedented quality of life Australia offers,” said Mr Standish. “I’ve greatly enjoyed visits and working with church and political leaders in Papua New Guinea, the Solomons and Vanuatu and look forward to working closely with leaders across the Pacific.”
Mr Standish is also excited by the challenges the role presents. “I was ready for a new challenge professionally,” he said. “My perspective is that electronic media is the town square of today. If we don’t have a strong and effective voice, we don’t exist. Personal relationships are still the key but to have presence and impact in society we must have something more. The Adventist church globally is at a crossroads. We have not yet found a way to effectively communicate our message in highly developed, secular societies. I believe our best change of honing that message comes in the SPD. There is a willingness to innovate, a desire to reach and a team with a deep and broad skill set—these things are so necessary. I am looking forward to learning from and working together with the team, taking every opportunity to reach our societies.”
Mr Standish is married to Dr Leisa Standish, who is on the faculty at Macquarie University, and has two young daughters, Shea and Skye.
* If you are interested in the media ministries director role or know someone who might be, see the job description at http://www-adventistemployment-org-au.adventistconnect.org/vacant_positions/394