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Tribute to George Scipione by Ann Maree Goudzwaard

From the series:

I didn’t know George “Skip” Scipione for a long time, but he really did feel like a life-long friend. That’s just how George was; hospitable, thoughtful, and kind hearted. If you were fortunate to spend any time with George and his wife, Eileen, you know what I mean. Just to be in their presence was to experience self-less, sacrificial love.

I’ve had the privilege of working with a ministry that has George’s fingerprints all over it. IBCD exists because of George’s faithful vision. His passion for both the Lord and the Word brought this ministry to life. Today, his influence is widespread. Solid, biblical counseling instruction reverberates through the halls of hundreds of churches. Thousands of lives have been impacted by IBCD’s training.

George began what was first known as CCEF West in the early 1980’s. And, though he handed off his executive director hat to the competent leadership of Jim Newheiser in 2006, George remained involved all of the past fourteen years. I always knew there would be a thoughtful idea or gentle correction whenever I saw his greeting in my email inbox; “Dearest Loved Ones…”

George spoke at IBCD Training Institutes every year. It was a highlight for me to sit under his teaching when I attended my first Institute. IBCD free resources include hours of training by the master tutor; one of the founding fathers in the biblical counseling movement.

Recently, George recruited me to get a doctorate at Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Going back to school was not high on my priority list after completing an MDiv. But George convinced me that I had something to offer the biblical counseling community. George was a life-giving leader.

George knew it would be tough for me to be away from home, alone, navigating a new city during intensive classes for two weeks. Intensives are hard on many levels; having been one of only two women in the program not the least of those difficulties. So, George checked in with me daily. He made sure I had anything I needed. He offered rides, meals, housing; he made me feel right at home in the foreign classrooms and strange city. And he talked me through the challenges of finding my way as a female, counseling, DMin student.

On January 6 of this year, when I emailed George and Eileen a response to their Facebook request for prayer, I mentioned that I hoped they would sense the Lord walking so close that they might even feel His breath on their cheek. George responded immediately—“I take your concern as His breath on my cheek. Hope your life and work are growing under His grace.”

Pastor, Professor, Shepherd, Faithful, Servant, Friend, Life-giving Leader. May you be at peace and without pain, George, rejoicing as you gaze upon your Lord and Savior.