About me

IMG_0398 (2)I am a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I was ordained in 1982 and served as pastor of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Teaneck, New Jersey from then until 1987 when I resigned to pursue a law degree at Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey. Following graduation in 1990, I began practicing law full time at the firm of Francis & Berry in Morristown, New Jersey. In 1994 I accepted a call as assistant to the Pastor at Church of the Savior in Paramus, New Jersey where I served as a part time minister and supply preacher for churches throughout Bergen County. I left the full time practice of law and my pastorate at Church of the Savior in October of 2008 to accept the call to serve as senior pastor of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bogota, New Jersey. I retired from active full time ministry in June of 2018 and now reside in Wellfleet, Massachusetts with my wife. I have three adult children and four grandchildren.


29 thoughts on “About me

  1. I just read — then posted to my FB feed — your letter to Franklin Graham. What a wonderful piece of writing! You said everything I’ve wanted to say to “Frank”, but in a much nicer way. I’m not sure he’s able to take in your message, but I hope some of these missives we’ve been seeing of late at least reach a portion of his followers. I’m not sure they understand the damage they’re doing to their own cause, but we can’t not try. Our leaders are faltering, and we all need to step up.

    Thank you!

  2. I certainly agree with what Shannon had to say about your letter. It was spot on about the actions of Franklin Graham and some of his close followers like the Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress. “Like father, like son” is certainly not the case in the Graham family!

  3. I am offended by your disrespectful, mean spirited open letter to Franklin Graham. He and his organization have done more for the poor, neglected, downtrodden people in the world than you and your pitiful efforts. You seem to equate the bakery refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding as heinous as child pornography. What a stupid way to judge Christians. Did you go to the Mexican side of the border to minister with food, water, shelter and clothing for those trying to enter the US? Franklin Graham did,personally. Did you go to African and Latino countries taking Christmas boxes to children who otherwise wouldn’t have anything for Christmas. Franklin Graham did, personally. Have you spoken out against the murders of unborn babies? Franklin Graham did, personally. Your statement to REV. Graham said that he should read the Bible. He has, many times, personally. Probably a hundred times more than you. You imply that you know the Bible better than REV. Graham and that your interpretation is better than his. Did God tell you that? You are doing just what your letter does……..judging others.

    1. Marian Dudash,
      Just because a person performs a few decent “good samaritan” acts doesn’t make him (or her) an all-together good person. There are many who “act” as good Christians in order to profit from your naivety You should do some research on your Franklin Graham, he’s a shyster, a false leader, he’s worth millions….many many millions; in 2014 Franklin was one of the highest paid Samaritan Purse employee, earning more than $880,000 annually. Just because a person goes through the motions doesn’t make them christians, someone who puts money and power over the true teachings of christ is an actor pure and simply. He profits from being a shyster, sort of sad that you defend him when there are some truly good decent Christian leaders out there who are NOT in it for the money or power. The fact he condones and defends Donald Trump’s actions instead of trying to lead him to be a better man is disgraceful. As a Christian leader it is Franklin’s duty to point out the character flaws that Trump exhibits daily that go against Christian beliefs and to guide Trump into being more godly, not defend or ignore the behavior that goes against Christian beliefs. We call those actions “Hypocrisy”. Sad when men choose money and power over faith and belief, even christian leaders are guilty of the sins of greed. Peter has every right to call out a man who chooses money and power (and the abuse of) over his own self proclaimed faith and teachings. Franklin claims to be a Christian, and chooses to be a christian leader no less…..do you know what a christian is?…..truly is? Not the hypocritical nastiness that I see coming from those who put money in the offering plate a few sundays a month then lie, cheat, swear, and say hateful things to others on social media once they’ve done their christian duties of going through the motions. But to truly be a child of christ?? Do you remember what you were taught in Sunday school? The true meaning of Christ’s love? Do you? The fact that you defend Franklin shows you yourself choose to be blinded by gilt (definition: superficial brilliance)….very very sad. Maybe you could benefit from listening to more of Peter’s words, it might help you find your way back to Christ’s teachings, and to love the way Jesus meant for us to love. I see so many adults who claim to be christians yet who walk around with hate in their hearts against anyone who do not parrot their prejudisms…..this is not what Christ believed in. He loved the worst of us, the poorest, the sick, the old, those who despaired, the downtrodden, he loathed those who valued money and idols, remember? “You cannot serve both god and Money”; have you truly forgotten his teachings? I pray for you and others who feel like you do.

      Peter, please don’t let Marian’s comments bother you, she is misguided and hopefully will find peace and love in her life. You words are inspiring! 🙂

      1. Thanks for your comments Marie and no Marian’s comments don’t bother me. Thirty-seven years of parish ministry and eighteen years practicing law have given me a pretty thick skin.

    2. WRONG about Pastor Peter he never claimed that God told him anything. What has always seemed a bit odd to me is that as you who do claim to hear from God why does He tell each of you different things about the same subject which you then go and fight amongst yourselves and worse are always trying to make it into laws for everyone regardless of their beliefs? However this guy you are defending a guy who lives in luxury made off of these piss poor people (I am referring to the poor gullible Americans who’ve made him rich and the “African and Latino” people the wealthy pastor brought Christmas gifts to when he should have given up at least part of his wealth (as Jesus instructed) to help them where they really need it the most not give their kids boxes of teddy bears and candy. Sham that’s the word.

      1. Plus, there was not an iota of mean spiritedness in Pastor Peter’s letter only the truth. By your definition of mean spiritedness then I guess Jesus was mean spirited toward the Pharisees and St. Paul well just mean spirited.

    3. I agree with you Marian. I think all these people here are judging a man, because he supports the president. Maybe he doesn’t use the same language as “Peter” no last name! But he does preach the word of God, and he calls sin, SIN! I think more than anything all these people agreeing with “Peter” never see the other side of anything. Liberals only see what they want to see, and hear what they want to hear. That is a fact! I cannot believe all you people are judging this man of God, that doesn’t sound Christ-like to me. I read my Bible daily, that doesn’t make me a Christian. I believe every word of it, but that doesn’t make me a Christian. It all comes down to money, or the lack of it. People judge others if they are wealthy, and God Forbid should they use a little of it for themselves. You are right, he does do these things personally, he feeds the poor, he clothes the naked, he visits the imprisoned. His organization helps all over the world. So Trump haters please open your eyes and ears. It is just the ways of the world today. Christ did not come to have us judge each other, he came to have us love each other. The two great commandments is our recipe to loving one another. Marie even if you belittle Marian, and suck up to “Peter” that doesn’t sound like what you learned in Sunday School!!

      1. Dear Patricia: You wrote:
        “I think more than anything all these people agreeing with “Peter” never see the other side of anything. Liberals only see what they want to see, and hear what they want to hear. That is a fact!”
        Then you say:
        “I cannot believe all you people are judging this man of God, that doesn’t sound Christ-like to me.”
        And finally you accuse another contributor of flattering me with an obscenity. Sounds to me like you are pretty liberal yourself when it comes to dishing out judgment on other people. I don’t know what Bible you are reading every day, but mine tells me that the one thing that riles Jesus more than anything else is people who dish out judgement on others. While I welcome your comments, I must ask that you treat other contributors with the courtesy and respect you would wish shown to you.

  4. I love your letter to Franklin Graham! Maybe he is actually just ALL about the money. Perhaps more people should ask themselves WWJD?

  5. I do not know how to thank you Pastor for your “An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor” article. As a person born into the Catholic traditions who suffers from a couple mental diorders (the most crippling for me severe OCD) which of course back in the 60s and 70s and even into the 80s there was no name or diagnosis and a physical one that was incurable when I was 4 to which my mother prayed her heart out to St. Jude who she always credited with my survival (I am 63 now) and then during the worst part of my OCD discovering I was gay and as we use to say “on my way to hell in a hand basket” would cry my eyes at (as soon as I found out God hated me and where I would wind up) every night on my bed for Jesus to change me this as an 11 or 12 year old child well into his early twenties. Then becoming a born again in my late teens with the promise that God was going to change my sexual orientation and becoming quite confused when He did not, left and as they say went down the rabbit hole in a big way, but not before attending two different ex-gay ministries and giving it a couple more tries. I have had just about every gay demon cast out of me plus a few more like the spirit of the 60s (whatever that means). I finally fell into a place where I just thought I had done something, so wrong (a lot due to my OCD thinking another long twisted tale) and God’s Spirit just left me. This is where I am pulling out from now. I started attending a very supportive and socially concious Catholic Church here in NYC (when I can make it of the house) and am trying to feel God’s presense again, but it is very difficult. Anyway, back to your response to Frank I want you to know that it was the first positive reinforcements I have received that actually cut a sliver through me in over thrity plus years from a pastor and a church. Thank you a million and God bless you.

    1. Ricky: Thanks for your powerful testimony and the courage to share your experiences. The suffering you describe at the hands of deranged religion is precisely why I felt compelled to write. We need to let the world know that Franklin Graham and the brand of Christianity he represents is not the only brand and certainly not the voice of Jesus we need so much to hear. God bless you in your new community of faith!

  6. Thank you for your thoughtful and eloquent letter, Rev. Peter. The current national conversation has fairly well turned me away from churches and many who identify as Christian, leaving a hole in my life. Your letter reminds me not all have discarded the most central teachings of Christ. Truly. Thank you.

  7. Thank you for writing this letter. It said so much that needed saying. It is not unexpected that Graham’s followers have among them several who will follow blindly both Graham and this president. I am sure you had hoped to open some eyes but it seems those eyes are blind instead of just closed.

  8. I did some work for Franklin and Jane many years ago. I remember Jane was very nice and Franklin was already insincere by looking over your shoulder while shaking your hand. Must have been hard that his father was a busy man. He could be one life experience away from being a complete human but seems to need a nudge. I hope the pastor’s letter serves as a nudge. So many people are putting portfolio over character. Maybe I would understand why if I had a portfolio.

  9. I’ve never heard of you until a friend posted your letter to “Frank” on my Facebook page. I guess it was to send me a message about how ignorant I am because I support the only person that I know of that doesn’t condone the murder of little babies, born or unborn these days.
    Just curious as to a couple of things without much writing. Yes or no preferably.
    Do you think abortion of a nine month old unborn child is ok? Or is abortion ok at anytime?
    Do you think someone who is trying to kill themselves should be helped or since it’s their body, just let them off themselves?
    Oh, and could you repost your letter to Osama? Im sure it wasn’t sent to me during the eight long years he spoke….kinda of like you do, down to the uneducated, like myself.
    I’m interested to hear your derogatory and condescending remarks you made about him as he “fundamentally changed” America. Surely you called him out for all the hungry and underprivileged children he put in cages and shipped back to wherever it was they came from etc etc. If you didn’t write one, feel free to just say so. I’m not looking for a sermon, just a couple of simple yes or no answers. I don’t have your extensive and impressive credentials so don’t beat me up with your vocabulary judo please.
    Thanks Peter.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Randall. First, I don’t believe it is ever OK to take another life at any point whatever the rationale. Nevertheless, believe there are circumstances when an abortion is the best of many bad options. Which circumstances? That’s where it gets complicated. Someone has to decide in these cases what the best course is. Some people believe that the government knows best and should make these decisions. I happen to think that women and their families can and should be trusted. Since God placed the care of his only begotten Son in the hands of a women, I think I am on pretty sound biblical ground. Second, no, I’m not a fan of assisted suicide. Finally, no, I never wrote a letter to Osama (I assume you mean Osama bin Laden?). Never had an address for him and I’m not sure we have much to talk about anyway. Again, thanks for your comments.

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