Street pastor touched by those he meets
found in Alberta Sweetgrass Aboriginal Newspaper, March 2012 issue
written by, Heather Andrews Miller
Twenty years ago, Peter Schultz saw a notice about the First Nations Alliance Church posted at the Canadian Native Friendship Centre.
“I knew right away that I would enjoy being a part of that church, and I’ve become involved as a member of the worship team at Sunday afternoon services, while still attending the church where I grew up in the mornings,” he said.
Through the years, he has extended his reach to the inner city agencies such as the Mustard Seed, House of Refuge Mission, the Hope Mission, the Bissell, and the Boyle Street Community Centre.
“My doctor persuaded me three months ago to retire so now I have more time to train people to work downtown where there is so much need,” he explained.
His 20 years as a licensed practical nurse at the University Hospital followed by an additional 10 years in the home-care industry gave Schultz an intimate look at people from all backgrounds and all walks of life.
“When I first felt a calling from God to work in the inner city, I wondered how the people would relate to me,” he said. He had never experience the day-to-day fight for survival that many of them experience, as he had lived a safe and secure life, and had never been involved with any kind of substance abuse. “But God gave me bi-polar so I’ve been as high as you can get and as low as you can get, so I felt I could fit right in.”
Schultz was influenced by German author Karl Mei who wrote stories about Indian people who were always the heroes, as opposed to the Hollywood westerns where they were always the enemy.
“He had a major influence on German people, giving them a love for Aboriginal people that continues to this day,” Schultz said.
Schultz enjoys the cultural activities as well as meeting people on an individual basis and often attends round dances and other ceremonies held in the various agencies downtown.
Schultz feels the best way he can help the people he meets is to be like Jesus in all his relationships.
“I took a big risk. I have let over 200 people stay overnight at my place during the last 20 years. Because I never asked for any favours, I built an immediate trust with them, so I’ve got a number of people that trust me more than anyone else,” he explained, adding that many were women who were unlikely to ever trust a man again.
“There is a wonderful promise in the Bible that all things work for good to them that love God and fit into his plans. So I don’t care what happens to me, if I get beat up or falsely accused of any kind of transgression and end up in jail, that’s okay,” he concluded. “I would welcome it because I would have a whole new audience of souls who need guidance and trust and friendship and I’d be truly working for Jesus.”