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EC announces communications staff additions

NASHVILLE (BP) — The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee (EC) has expanded its communications team with the hiring of Tess Schoonhoven in late 2019 and Jon Wilke and Kyle Cochran this month.

“As we looked to add to the communications team, we wanted to expand our offerings and services to Southern Baptists and media members,” Jonathan Howe, EC vice president for communications, told Baptist Press. “With the addition of Jon, Kyle and Tess, we now have a team better equipped for online media distribution and relations. It’s exciting to see where God is leading and equipping us as we strive to better tell the Southern Baptist story and to report relevant news for and about Southern Baptists.”

Jon D. Wilke will serve as media relations director at the EC. In this role, Wilke will work with members of the media to share the news, vision and mission of the SBC. Over the past 17 years, Wilke has used his experience and skills as a former U.S. Marine Corps and Army correspondent, community newspaper reporter, spokesperson, and media producer to help Christian ministries communicate their Kingdom work. Wilke has worked with Faith Comes By Hearing and Voice of the Martyrs, led LifeWay Christian Resources’ media relations efforts for several years and worked as a national radio show and TV producer and executive.

Wilke holds a degree in public relations from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and has traveled to more than 40 countries for the military or missions projects. He is the father of two elementary school-aged daughters and is a member of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Gallatin, Tenn.

Tess Schoonhoven joins the EC as a fulltime staff writer, where she will report on breaking news and cover relevant cultural topics for both Baptist Press and SBC Life. Her writings have appeared in numerous publications including Facts & Trends, Leader’s Edge Magazine and Pursuit Magazine.

Formerly a freelance writer and intern at LifeWay, Schoonhoven holds a bachelor’s in public relations and strategic communications from California Baptist University in Riverside, Calif., where she also wrote and served as editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Banner Online. Schoonhoven is passionate about music and has volunteered as a worship leader in various churches. Currently she is a worship leader and band member at Immanuel Church in Nashville.

Kyle Cochran will serve as director of digital content for the EC. Raised in Raleigh, N.C., and a 2012 graduate of North Carolina State University, Cochran will use his passion and skills in digital and social media to further the SBC’s communications efforts online.

Cochran has been married to Caitlyn since 2014, and they have a 10-month-old son, Theo. Kyle is currently a member of The Summit Church in Raleigh and will be part of Proclamation Church, a new church plant in Nashville, upon his relocation.

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