When I think of George (Skip) Scipione what comes to mind are two words – humble and crusty! He was an accomplished counselor, a pastor and a seminary professor with a Ph.D. after his name, but he was “just” Skip, and he made you feel very comfortable around him. I loved his crusty persona and the fact that he was comfortable enough to tell you when he thought you were incorrect. But even with that crustiness, he was sweet as well. His and Eileen’s hospitality were known far and wide.
I can’t remember exactly what year I met him, but after taking a Biblical counseling intro class from my pastor, Jim Newheiser, and then going to my first IBCD conference, I signed up to take an “on the road” class from Skip on marriage and family. That weekend course was a real delight to take, partly because of George’s sense of humor. Then the Lord drew me away from my insurance career to become the Administrator for Grace Bible Church and IBCD in early 2007 after GBC had taken over the ministry of IBCD. As a result of this move, I was not just attending the conferences, but actually helping to put them on. At that time George and Eileen were already living in another state, but they would fly to San Diego to speak at the conferences. You could always count on George to offer his help at the conference besides being one of the keynote speakers – that could mean moving tables and chairs or other non-keynote speaker tasks! One time when he and I and other volunteers were taking the offering, I shared with him that I was uncomfortable doing it thinking that a man should handle the offering. He quickly said, “Marsha, this isn’t church you know, you can do this!”
Regarding his counseling, I have met many couples who have shared with me that the Lord had saved their marriage through George’s counsel. I am thankful for his testimony and his giftedness in sharing the gospel to so many and teaching others to use the Bible to help people with their problems. He will be sorely missed.