Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Campbell was honored on the evening of June 21, 2023, at the 192nd General Assembly for his service and contributions to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church with the Program of Alternate Studies. Dr. Campbell was the Director of the Program of Alternate Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary for sixteen years. He has served as the moderator of General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination, moderator of Texas Synod and moderator of four different presbyteries. He has served congregations in Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, and Tennessee, with three of those being new church developments and one redevelopment. Dr. Campbell has preached revivals at more than 40 churches across the denomination. His writings include Brothers of the Faith, One Family Under God, The Bible and the Calendar and Campbell’s Collection.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Campbell addressed the proposed amendments, emphasizing the inclusive nature of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, lifting up a plea for the embrace of all Cumberland Presbyterians:

“I grew up in an inclusive [Cumberland Presbyterian] church. We didn’t know the word exclusive. I don’t like it. I don’t. That’s not who we are. We do not exclude anybody, including our own people!”

“The great NBA coach, Doc Rivers, he was the coach of the Boston Celtics for many years and he was an African American. He spoke on an issue one time, the fact that black people were simply not appreciated and often had disadvantages caused by bad policing among other things. He said these words, “We love America. Why can’t you love us back?”

Well, I know some Cumberland Presbyterians who grew up in the church, who learned from the church, who were nurtured in the church, who gave their money to the church, who have been educated in our institutions in this church, and they’re asking…(by the way I’ve just named myself an honorary member, dues-paying member of the Welcoming Cumberland Presbyterians) and they are asking now, ‘We love the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, why can’t you love us back.’”

Note: Welcoming Cumberland Presbyterians is a grassroots movement operating without dues as an all-volunteer group. Dr. Campbell’s mention of being a “dues-paying member” is a figure of speech emphasizing his personal commitment and support for the aims of the group.

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