Local Pastor Offers Prayers at Five-Cent Prayer Booth Inspired by ‘Peanuts'

Every Tuesday, from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., Rev. Gregory Fryer offers prayers and words of comfort to passersby on the corner of Lexington and 88th Street. 

Not that he's just standing around on the corner, of course -- he's set up to offer his counsel from something straight out of a comic strip.

Fryer, who has served Immanuel Lutheran Church for 25 years, was inspired by Lucy Van Pelt's faux psychiatrist booth in the 'Peanuts' comics.

He designed and started using the booth last October.

The booth reads 'Spiritual Help 5 cents, The Pastor is in,' to which many react with a smile, a wave or a thumbs up.

"The human story; it interests me. People tell me what's on their heart and I pray for them and I try to give them encouragement," he said.

A sit down with the pastor doesn't actually cost five cents, but people can choose to leave a small donation of their own.

The donations amounted to a couple hundred dollars since the project began; proceeds go to Almoners Fund for the poor. 

"I do it partly for fun but mostly for real," he said.

Members of the community, parishioners and strangers often stop by the booth to sit with the pastor and talk about anything from life struggles to worries. An average of five to six people stop by the booth a day.

"I was here on Election Day... Nobody who sat down that day asked for victory for any particular party but they did ask for unity among the people, peace in our hearts. One woman asks for grace that she not hate people who voted on the other side," Rev. Fryer recalled.  

People often get emotional when expressing their thoughts, for which he keeps a box of tissues handy. Yet after a sit down with the pastor, people can go in the church for free coffee and muffins. 

Fryer plans to retire in four years at 70 years old, but he hopes to pass the idea onto other ministries. 

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