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Colorado CollegeBulletin | March 2006
by Melissa Barton '06

Reverend Peter Marty '80

Marty Finds Ordinary Grace

When he entered Colorado College, the Reverend Peter Marty ’80 planned to become a history professor. However, during his senior year studying at Oxford University, the “transcendent” worship services there and his volunteer work in a home for mentally disabled children directed him toward ministry.

Following graduation from CC, Marty led building crews in Cameroon, West Africa, at a primitive mission outpost. “Tools were extremely hard to come by, and we made our own concrete blocks. The hospital was mostly dirt floors except for the surgical room,” Marty says. “It was very rewarding work.”

Today Marty, who also holds a degree from Yale Divinity School, hosts the nationally syndicated radio show “Grace Matters.” Marty interviews people “who do ordinary or extraordinary things in life,” from brain surgeons to Holocaust survivors, and bases weekly reflections on the interviews. He’s also the full-time senior pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church, a 3,000-person congregation in Davenport, Iowa, where he lives with his wife, Susan Ward Marty ’81, and their two children.

This spring, Marty traveled to Israel to perform the on-camera narration for a documentary on Jesus of Nazareth. “To stand in the remains of the Capernaum synagogue, where Jesus preached, or to stand on the hillside where he likely fed 5,000 or so people, or to walk around Nazareth where he grew up … for the first time, I have a sense of how the geography connects with the Biblical story,” Marty says.

“I see my life-long task to be the expansion of what I try to do every day — live creatively, believe in other people, cherish life, give thanks, and ground my life in God. I’m a person who lives with great hope, and a person who says ‘yes’ to life. Colorado College helped implant some of that ‘yes.’”