CCEF Past President, CCEF Past Director, CCSNA Past Trustee
The General Theological Seminary sent me with a Master of Divinity to South Dakota, which was my home diocese. During my seminary years at GTS my wife, Elizabeth, and I served in various capacities at the Diocese of Newark Camp and Conference Center. I was ordained a priest in 1965 and served as Curate at Calvary Cathedral in Sioux Falls, SD.
Following my curacy I served as the first full-time Rector of Church of All Angels in Spearfish and the first protestant chaplain at Black Hills State University. In South Dakota I became the director of the diocesan camp, director of youth in the diocese, and chair of the Commission on Ministry. We moved to the Diocese of New York to become the Rector of Christ Church, Tarrytown. Leaving that position I then returned to school at South Dakota State University to pursue a Masters in Counseling and a Ph.D in sociology. During those years I was appointed Director of a research project through the Department of Health, Education and Welfare for the State of South Dakota. Working in the governor's office, human services integration took place where local, state and federal agencies began working together to eliminate duplication of services. During those years I also served as a priest in four Episcopal churches in eastern South Dakota, and served as an interim in two Presbyterian churches and as a co-pastor in a United Church of Christ. I accepted a position as Human Services Coordinator in the Governor's Office in North Dakota, and served as the chair of the Human Services Council and for a short time as the Head of the State Health Department. During those years I served Episcopal churches in Minot and Jamestown, ND.
In all the above situations I was active as a priest in basically secular activities and was one of the first to be called a "worker priest" or a non-stipendiary priest. In 1982 I became Chaplain at Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, MN, then as Chaplain at St. Edwards Episcopal School in Vero Beach, FL. After that I was in the Diocese of Southern Virginia as the Counselor and Assistant to the Head of School in Norfolk Academy, Norfolk, Va. While there I also served a number of vacant parishes in the diocese, and was rector of a small parish in Norfolk. It was in the parish where some of the most vivid memories of how God works in the lives of people came alive to me. A story about Cheryl will be a topic of another feature sometime.
I was the Headmaster of an Episcopal School in Northern California, then became Executive Director and Vice President for St. Francis Academy in Kansas where we served children with psychiatric diagnoses in a number of states. I returned to South Dakota and served three churches in the Black Hills and taught in the Social Science Department of Black Hills State University in Spearfish. I accepted a position as Senior Chaplain at Trinity School in Midland, TX, and as Associate at Holy Trinity Church in Midland.
I have been officially retired since 1999, but have been working in at least two full-time positions since then. I have devoted my ordained years to the youth in our country, counseling, teaching, and chaplaincy work.
I have made God's redemptive love known to others through working with the youngest members of society, and it is because of that kind of work I have great hope for the future of our country. In my present position at Trinity School I serve 600 students each day in six different chapel services (3 year olds through 12th grade). A favorite prayer, the one attributed to St. Francis, is prayed at least once a week in all our chapels and has long been the favorite prayer to remind me of the hands-on ministry we are called to do.
Put me in front of a TV or as a person at a concert of The Gaithers and I will be the happiest person around. Renewal activities have filled my life starting with Cursillo, Faith Alive and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I have long been involved in the ministry of the Salvation Army where I was president for a number of years in Western South Dakota, and in that capacity I was privileged to be with The Gaithers.
I sincerely hope I never retire from active ministry. I am currently a member of a board that is launching a new, private non-profit prison for the State of South Dakota based on a model of Christian ministry. That will take a few more years, and I know I will be looking for another position in which I can fulfill the vows made at my Baptism and Ordination. The possibility of starting an Episcopal School somewhere in the United States is an exciting thought, and I am considering becoming involved with the Room for Reading project throughout the world.
One additional thing I know is God has been glorified through my ministry. Many former students from high school and university years write often, and many times they ask me if I would baptize their children. Things do not get better than that!
What I have told young priests (including my current priests) is to always love the situation and do not worry about the details: love shines forth in the end. I have taught numerous courses in Christian Ethics, and to see young adults begin to analyze their lives in accordance with Christian Ethics is a joy that never ends. You can probably tell I really love kids, and I hope that never ends.
We are so grateful for Fr. Tom's work and his service to the smallest in God's kingdom. We touch so many lives by sharing the love of Christ with a child. Tom has served God faithfully in many different settings and we are very excited he is here, blessing the people of this diocese.
In December of 1998 Tom returned to SD and the Black Hills to serve a small parish in Sturgis, and to help establish the Black Hill Highland Festival and Scottish Games which were held over Labor Day in 1999 with five thousand people attending. Tom is married to the lovely Elizabeth Ann Thompson Campbell, former Region 7 Commissioner for CCS(NA) and the CCS(NA) Store Manager. They are the proud parents of four sons and presently have five grandchildren.