With hearts heavy from our loss, yet rejoicing in the hope of the gospel,
the community of Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary notes the
passing into glory of beloved professor Dr. George “Skip” Scipione this
morning as he was surrounded by his loved ones.
Skip was hired in 2008 by former President Jerry O’Neill to develop and
direct a new Biblical Counseling Institute (BCI) for RPTS. In God’s amazing
providence, Skip helped sanctify a former bar in Pittsburgh, once known for
its drunkenness, carousing, and even murders, into a place where the
life-giving waters of Christ now flow as people are regularly brought under
the gospel counsel of Christ. He faithfully served at BCI from 2008 to
2018. Skip and his wife, Eileen, have been instrumental in developing a
generation of biblical counselors, with their ministry impacting thousands
of lives with the promise of God’s Word. During his time at RPTS and into
his retirement, he also taught abroad in such places as Brazil, the Czech
Republic, Uganda, and Romania, where he also represented RPTS and recruited
students for us.
Skip was a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church for forty-five
years, and had many experiences in ministry and counseling before coming to
RPTS that prepared him for his service here so well. He was ordained and
installed as pastor of Calvary Community Church (OPC) in 1974, where he
pastored until 1982. Moving to California, Skip was one of the founders of
what is now the Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship (IBCD)
from 1982 to 2006. He then was a church planter at Covenant Community OPC
in Taylors, South Carolina, from 2006 to 2008.
Skip had a profound impact here at RPTS. The students admired and loved him
for his biblical precision, mentoring, and loving demeanor, all delivered
in his Philly streetwise style. His influence on our new Professor of
Biblical Counseling, Keith Evans, and others who serve at RPTS such as Mark
and Sharon Sampson, was profound. Though an Orthodox Presbyterian minister,
Skip always demonstrated respect for the Reformed Presbyterian Church.
One of my favorite memories of George, besides the joy and joking you could
always count on, was of our times of prayer on Tuesdays for RPTS. He was a
bedrock of that time together, always there and always earnest in his
prayers for the Seminary. Even in his retirement, he made it a point to
join us around the throne of the Lord. The RPTS community will continue to
beseech that throne of grace on behalf of his dear wife, Eileen, their five
children, and two grandchildren as they mourn the loss of their beloved
husband and father.
During his last chapel messages at RPTS, Skip expounded the Pastoral
Epistles. Often his voice would crack and eyes tear up over the thought of
God’s grace for His people and how we will one day appear before the Lord
who loves us so. Skip knew that the words of the Apostle Paul had become
his through the Lord’s grace. “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown
of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on
that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing”
(2 Tim. 4:8). On behalf of the RPTS community, I give public thanks for the
life, ministry, and gift of Dr. George Scipione.
Dr. Barry York
President, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary