A Special Reflection from Wanda Harris-Cooper

August 18, 2022

One of my favorite things to do is take Campolo Scholars to visit Tony. These visits always turn out to be great blessings for all involved.

Just last week, it was my joy to bring Palmer Seminarian Wanda Harris-Cooper for an afternoon with Tony and Peggy.

After their time together, Wanda wrote the following reflection. I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I do:


“I had a lovely time visiting Tony and Peggy. From the pictures, plaques, honors, and awards that line the walls of his room, I felt like I was visiting a man whose experience in life and ministry dwarfed mine.

However, with all of this experience and knowledge, Tony was extremely personable and approachable.

We learned that we were both West Philly kids. As we recounted stories of our youths, it was interesting to realize that not only did we travel on the same streets in West Philadelphia, but we also attended the same elementary school. We walked the same halls and perhaps sat in the same classrooms.

We discussed the purpose of the church. Tony said that while we spread the gospel and make disciples, we, the Church, are to be “change agents” in the world. Whether in politics, education, social issues, or hot topics, we are to change the dynamics of the conversation and swing the pendulum in a way that is Christlike. Our example should not be worldly but heavenly. This requires boldness and courage. Our tools are the truths as proclaimed in the gospel and the Holy Spirit. As Christians, all of us are the Church of Jesus Christ. Through this posture, we can shift the atmosphere and make change.

Since I had Tony and Peggy’s ears, I took advantage of the moment to discuss my ministry challenge at Oxford Presbyterian Church. Tony leaned forward and offered a couple of deeply meaningful examples from his ministry. In reflecting on this conversation, I am reminded of the work that the early Christians did to spread the gospel and grow the Kingdom. The early church gave sacrificially and worked diligently and creatively to spread the gospel while making disciples. They were truly change agents. I took Tony’s examples and presented them to my ministry team on Sunday and we will revisit these ideas in our next monthly meeting.

My hour with Tony and Peggy went very quickly, and I could have continued the conversation much longer. They calmed my spirit with their love and graceful accommodation. I am thankful that Tony and Peggy continue to meet, support, engage, and encourage scholars who participate in the program that bears their name. Their generosity is beyond measure. We are truly blessed to have him as a ministry resource and leader.”

We are grateful for Wanda’s ministry and for Tony’s timeless wisdom and his ongoing efforts to speak life and truth into the future of the Church through our Scholars.

Thank you for your partnership with the Campolo Center for Ministry.

PS. Each year, the Campolo Center provides Scholars with tuition, mentoring, and vocation-specific training to prepare them for a variety of roles in Church and faith-based ministries. During the month of August, donations to the Campolo Scholarship Fund are being matched dollar-for-dollar. You can support Tony’s vision to raise up a new generation of church leaders by clicking here.