Paul Rankin

Community connector

Thursday, August 24, 2023
Brenton Stacey
About the Author

Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale University’s Public Relations and Philanthropy Officer. He brings to the role experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities.

Paul’s passion for ministry helps lift lives

A motorcycle accident perhaps helped shape Paul Rankin’s career. It limited his ability to continue nursing—he graduated from Sydney Adventist Hospital in 1978—which led to more serious consideration of a career in ministry and the beginning of a journey as a lifelong learner.

Paul helped established and served as first president of the then Avondale Student Association, although he remembers spending almost as much time playing sport and card games as studying. “When I graduated, one of the lecturers said I received a major in student politics, I minor in golf and a degree in theology by accident.”

He returned home to New Zealand to nurse before marrying wife Sonia. Then came calls to ministry, with pastoral roles in North and in South New Zealand bookending five years in Papua New Guinea, where Paul coordinated the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s work—much of it health focused—in the Eastern and Southern Highlands. A commercial pilot licence meant he could fly around the provinces.

Paul completed a Master of Public Health soon after a stint as director of Warburton Health Resort. Coordinating health education and promotion for the church in the New Zealand Pacific introduced him to the Complete Health Improvement Program. He would train others how to use the program—and developed one called Forgive to Live—as associate health director for the church in the South Pacific. Adding credibility to the program: research Paul used for his PhD from Avondale and professional recognition as one of the inaugural recipients of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine Fellowship. Paul graduated in the same 2014 class as son Caleb (BSc) and youngest daughter Rachel (DipOutdoorRec).

Paul retired in 2020 as health director for the church in Greater Sydney and since then has managed the Morisset ADRA Op-Shop, which Lake Macquarie City Council has recognised as its Community Group of the Year. A birder, he’s identified 148 species on the Avondale Estate.

The Class of 1983 honours Dr Paul Rankin for lifting lives through a passion for ministry that connects church to community.

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