Paul Bunyan meets the Intractable East and the mission is ongoing: A Tribute to Fr. Peter Guillquist

The Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) Board was blessed to have Father Peter Gillquist as an advisor for more than 12 years. From day one, when I met him, he was bigger than life. Physically he was tall, robust and exuberant in nature. He reminded me of Paul Bunyan. He energized our board when he attended meetings and was our featured speaker at open forums and programs. He truly transcended all the Orthodox Christian groupings that exist in America.

The Holy Spirit, present everywhere, and filling all creation, brought Father Peter and his brothers and sisters to Orthodox Christianity in 1987; and Orthodox Christianity in the United States has been nourished and nurtured by his sense of mission and outreach; and, it will never be the same. His vision and love for Orthodox Christianity is recorded in his written works. His work with assisting in developing the Orthodox Study Bible (Old and New Testaments) is monumental. He was dedicated to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), because our college youth are our future. He was truly a missionary and evangelist.  

In the character of Father Peter, the east truly met the west. No wonder the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the forces of Hellenism in Greece and in the Archdiocese and the Patriarchate in Istanbul were taken aback by his optimism, sense of mission, Christ-centredness and inquiring and open mind.   But Orthodox Christianity transcends all these human elements, and he found his way into Orthodoxy. His legacy is that if we remain Christ-centered and live within the sacramental life of the Apostolic Church, we can move mountains. Father Peter believed that Orthodox Christianity is still the best kept secret in America, and that it is our challenge to bring the Light of Christ through the Orthodox faith to our brothers and sisters in America. May His memory be eternal. His work will continue.

*   *   *

Fr. Peter E. Gillquist, a retired clergyman of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, fell asleep in the Lord last night [July 1, 2012] at the age of seventy-three. Born into a Lutheran family, the future priest went on after university to become a full-time staff member of the Evangelical Protestant Campus Crusade for Christ, eventually becoming one of the organization's regional directors. He also worked as a senior editor for Thomas Nelson Publishers, being involved in the 1970s on the overview committee for the New King James Version Bible.

While still working with Campus Crusade Fr. Peter and some of his colleagues became convinced through their studies that the Orthodox Church was the only one that had preserved the ancient Christian Faith through the centuries. In 1973 this led to their organization of a network of house churches in the USA and Canada, at first called the "New Covenant Apostolic Order" and later (after 1979) the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC), as part of their efforts to live the Orthodox Faith as they knew it.

After exploring the possibility of joining the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America or the American Orthodox Church (OCA) the majority of the EOC joined the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. (Although several EOC parishes that initially refused to be united with the Orthodox Church were later accepted through the OCA.) Fr. Peter went on to serve as director of the archdiocesan department for missions and evangelism as well as project director for the Orthodox Study Bible. He reposed due to a recurring skin cancer. May his memory be eternal!

Orthodox Christian Laity

3 июля 2012 г.

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