On the heels of Spectrum’s 50th birthday, the Adventist Forum Board felt it was time to revisit its Strategic Plan. Since announcing the selection of Alexander Carpenter to be executive editor elect beginning in June, I wanted to share some of the ways the Search Committee saw him to be in alignment with our group’s vision for the future.
The Search Committee, chaired by Brenton Reading, included Alita Byrd, Debbie Christensen, Jason Hines, Ken Peterson, Chuck Scriven, Gil Valentine and me. We met weekly for over 4 months. Brenton Reading notes, “Early on, we realized that his unique attributes made Alex a top choice to lead Spectrum into the future. His experience with the organization, creative talents, and interpersonal skills combined to make him our top choice and first recommendation for Adventist Forum executive director and Spectrum executive editor.”
First, in relation to the plan to create the premiere web presence in Adventism.
Carpenter said, “I envision a beautiful and media-rich website with easy access to our entire publishing record that provides all who produce content under the Spectrum name with significant audience and a sense of making a difference.”
As creator of the first Spectrum blog, Carpenter has shown temerity with a willingness to harness new technology.
Second, Adventist Forum seeks to continue to expand its independent reporting of news relevant to the Seventh-day Adventist Church via all of its media choices, including the Spectrum Journal, Adventist Voices podcast, and the Spectrum website. Founder of Spectrum’s Adventist Voices, Carpenter said, “I envision us building on our solid reputation for reporting on Adventist news by cultivating more sources and empowering journalists to tell compelling and fact-checked stories.”
Incidentally showing the importance of real time reporting that makes a difference, at the General Conference Session in 2015 during the debate and vote on women’s ordination, Carpenter live-streamed the meeting to thousands, causing the church leadership to end their media blackout of that day.
Next, as Adventist Forum seeks to take steps to increase the number of members and broaden its reach through its website, journal, books, convocations and increasing the use of video and digital media, Carpenter said, “I envision a role for a journal or journals in print and/or online that impact Adventism while exploring its meaning in conversation with an audience beyond our denominational borders.”
Carpenter has enrolled in a short-term certificate program in non-profit management at Cornell University, and he pictures “a financially stable, yet growing, organization that builds extensive organizational partnerships with a clearly defined brand and clear organizational name that symbolizes truth, beauty, and justice to all.”
Other goals for our group include nurturing strategic partnerships with Adventist Forum local chapters and with other entities with which we have common values.
Carpenter has spoken at several local Forum chapters, as well as at meetings of the Society of Adventist Philosophers and Adventist Society for Religious Studies. In addition, a few weeks ago, Carpenter coordinated a conversation with filmmaker Martin Doblemeier about his documentary, Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story.
Carpenter envisions “global growth in our conversation partners, particularly among marginalized and emerging communities.”
Early in the search process, Bonnie Dwyer reflected that many times in her tenure with Spectrum she had succeeded by using an entrepreneurial spirit, and this reinforced the idea to the Search Committee that the next executive editor/director would need an innovative spirit. I am confident that Alexander Carpenter has that spirit.
What’s encouraging is the way our fifty-year-old organization has added those key layers while maintaining our values and growing an audience. While I don’t yet know for sure what layers we’ll add next, I do think we are becoming a multimedia organization that stays true to this multilayered foundation. I’m confident that we have nothing to fear for the future as long as we continue to stay connected to the spirit of our community.
Carmen Lau is board chair of Adventist Forum, the organization that publishes Spectrum.
Image credit: Alexander Carpenter/Spectrum
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