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Today in OPC History

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August 31

Thomas Tyson

After eleven years at the helm of the Committee on Christian Education, Tom Tyson stepped down on this date in 2000 to take up his new calling as Regional Home Missionary for the Presbytery of Philadelphia. Before becoming CCE general secretary, Tom had pastored two churches in Pennsylvania and two in New Zealand. He was serving as pastor at Knox OPC in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 1989 when he was asked several times to become the CCE general secretary. Although he was concerned he wouldn’t be preaching every Sunday, Tom finally agreed.

As general secretary, Tom discovered that he had many opportunities to preach and teach in churches throughout the OPC. He passionately spoke to congregations about what the OPC was, how to sing in worship, and the importance of catechism training. His zeal for teaching the catechism developed into a Ministerial Training Institute of the OPC class that he continues to teach to seminarians and pastors.

As editor of New Horizons in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Tom oversaw substantial upgrades in the magazine. At times the magazine featured opposing sides of an issue debated in the OPC. He helped move the CCE into the computer age by being one of the first general secretaries who traveled with a laptop. Tom worked well with the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension by going with their General Secretary Ross Graham to seminaries to recruit students and taking over the role of intern director from Ross. While working at the OPC’s administrative office in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, he promoted discussing issues during the lunch hour. Perhaps his greatest strength was bringing a pastoral perspective to the role of CCE’s general secretary. Tom’s wife Jean served as his office secretary during the latter part of his time with CCE.

Picture: The Tyson family in the mid-1970s at Trinity OPC, Hatboro. Daughter Natalie would be born in 1981.

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