September 15, 2014

Fr. Peter Guillquist — May His Memory be Eternal

– I first met Fr. Peter when he stayed with my wife and myself during a speaking engagement he had in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He sure was a gracious guest and he also loved sports. He relaxed in our living room watching a football game as I recall. It was a great visit. I had converted to the Orthodox Church a few years earlier and watched with great interest the conversion of the former Campus Crusaders because it mirrored my own journey in ways. Seeing such a large group come in made it a bit easier actually.

Throughout the years we keep in touch here and there. He was a real people-person as we say, and it was authentic and genuine. The man knew Christ, loved Christ, and it always showed by his graciousness towards me, my family, and the other people I would see him interact with in different settings and occasions. That is what I remember about Fr. Peter the most, his gregarious and generous spirit. We have lost a good man.

For more information go to All Saints Orthodox Church.

Archpriest Peter Gillquist, longtime pastor of All Saints Orthodox Church in Bloomington, Indiana and prominent American convert to Orthodox Christianity, died on Sunday, July 1, 2012 after a long battle with metastatic melanoma cancer.

In the 1960s, when Fr. Peter was on staff with the Evangelical parachurch organization Campus Crusade for Christ, he and some friends began to search for the apostolic, historic Christian Church. Under their leadership, a large number of evangelical congregations united as the Evangelical Orthodox Church. Almost twenty years later, in 1987, the EOC was received into the Orthodox Church by the Antiochian Orthodox Church of North America. Fr. Peter recorded this story in his book, “Becoming Orthodox”.

In the 1960s Fr. Peter was a senior editor with Thomas Nelson Publishing. He later helped found Conciliar press, and was its chairman for many years. He served as project director for the Orthodox Study Bible project. Conciliar press published a number of his books, which in addition to “Becoming Orthodox” included “Let’s Quit Fighting over the Holy Spirit”, “The Physical Side of Being Spiritual”, “Love is Now”, and “Why We Haven’t Changed the World”.

Memory eternal!

Comments

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    He was very helpful, easy to approach, and talked to you like he had known you your whole life, not to mention the encouragement he gave after the publication of “The Orthodox Church of Tomorrow.” A great man, a great American, and a great evangelist for Christ.

    Memory eternal!

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    Fr. Peter was a loving and faithful shepherd of our Lord. Not only did he bring many Americans into the Orthodox Church, but his powerful and public witness to the truth also helped re-kindle the faith and inspire many cradle Orthodox Christians, like myself, to better understand the depth and richness of our Christian Tradition and embrace our heritage with renewed fervor and commitment.

    The fruits of his labors stand as a testament of the power of Christ and the timeless truths of Christianity. May his memory be eternal!

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    M. Stankovich says:

    I only met Fr. Peter in person once, but I had been “schooled” in everything about him, or more appropriately, “them,” the Campus Crusaders, at the hand of my dearest friend, Fr. Jon Braun. In fact, to this day, having heard their story from its beginning, it is difficult to think of them individually.

    There are perhaps too many trite, repetitious stories of their journey “coming home” to Orthodoxy, but in these moments of “between-rounds” alléguer, I think about “possession” and “treasure.” This group of men had recognition (interviewed, if not on the cover, of every national and international form of media), respect (they were lauded by educators, family and parent groups, and government officials, not necessarily for Christian values, but for promoting values), fame (and this was frequently measured in parody and scorn), and imitation by nearly every major denomination, Christian or not (the “highest form of flattery”). Recognized, renowned, respected scholars, authors, teachers, preachers, and ministers. Imagine the cost in today’s PR for such attention! And as one, they walked away.

    When I listened to Fr. Jon speak of their relationships with one another, it was not as simple as, “He is a good man,” or “He is a good friend,” but I imagined this was how the saints described one another: “I studied the Fathers, but Fr. — loved the Fathers”; “Certainly we could all preach, but Fr. —- was truly guided by the Holy Spirit”; “Ah, my singing was all over the place, but Fr. — sang like the angels.” There was genuine love, there was genuine affection, and there was genuine respect between these men. And when I finally met Fr. Peter, it was at vespers following a meeting at Fr. Jon’s home (I believe related to the Orthodox Study Bible) in the context of the “Crusaders,” the group. And it was every bit as genuine as Fr. Jon described, and as inspiring as I had ever imagined.

    I believe we have lost a father of our generation, as one who dedicated himself to re-articulating the Truth, first in his own mind, and having seized it, safely delivering it to anyone who would listen. May God always remember him.

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    Memory eternal.

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    Michael Bauman says:

    I only met him once when he came to my parish to speak not long after I had been received into the Church. What I remember was his steadfast refusal to condemn from where he had come (it got him to the Church afterall) and his simple and infectious joy at being in the Church. He had come into the Ark. Here he could be free.

    Even with all of our problems, dysfunctions and disagreements, the Church is still the most joyful and joyous place to be. Perhaps as we remember Fr. Peter, it would behoove us to remember the joy as well.

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