August 17 Today in OPC History

Leonard and Diana Coppes


On this day in 1963, Leonard Coppes married Diana Torell. Leonard was in his final year at Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul when his date introduced him to Diana, a freshman from the University of Minnesota. They had their first date two weeks later, were engaged within two more weeks, and then married three months after that. Leonard received his bachelor of divinity in 1963 from Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul, and was ordained by the Baptist General Conference of America that same year. He earned his master of theology in New Testament from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1964. Two years later he began teaching at Berean Bible School (later Pinebrook Junior College) in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Four years later, in 1970, Leonard was let go after he told the school president he was rethinking his position on baptism.

In the meantime, Leonard had earned his doctor of theology in Old Testament from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1968. He had also studied Semitic languages at Dropsie University from 1966 to 1970. Over the years Leonard has learned more than 15 languages through class and self-study. Leonard came into the OPC in 1971. Diana was a member of Calvary Community Church (OPC) in Harmony, New Jersey. He was called to serve as pastor of Calvary OPC in Harrisville, Pennsylvania for eleven years. In 1982 he received a pastoral call to Park Hill OPC in Denver, where he served until 1987. At that time, the Presbytery of the Dakotas allowed Leonard to start a new work in Denver. He became the pastor of Providence OPC in 1987 and served until he retired in 2011.

Leonard and Diana were honored by the General Assembly in 2006 for their 33 years of service to the Committee on Diaconal Ministries, which included his role as secretary–treasurer. He has written more than twenty books and often served on numerous study committees for his presbytery and General Assembly. The Coppeses are blessed with four children and seven grandchildren.



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