'Peanuts' Lucy Inspires New York Minister to Set Up 'Spiritual Help Booth' on Sidewalk

Pastor Gregory Fryer mans his prayer booth just outside the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Manhattan, New York City.(Facebook/Immanuel Lutheran Church, New York City)

Taking inspiration from the famous "Psychiatric Help Booth" of Peanuts' Lucy van Pelt, a New York City pastor has put up a prayer booth on a sidewalk outside his church, the Gospel Herald reported.

Pastor Gregory Fryer of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Manhattan said he started the booth with the sign "The Pastor Is In" so people would notice the church. But then something else happened.

"The sign says '5 cents,' but that is simply part of the joke. I have a plate full of nickels for people to use if they want to put one into Lucy's jar," Fryer posted on Facebook. "People smile and put money in the jar – nickels and quarters and bills. I think they like the idea of a pastor being on the sidewalk."

As Fryer kept interacting with people who stop by for prayer, he confirmed a lingering suspicion. "This booth is confirming what many of us suspect: there is spiritual need in our town," he said.

Fryer said there has been a steady stream of people stopping by and asking him for prayers.

He said he has been approached by people with various concerns—from health problems to family issues—all asking for prayer. "Could you pray for me?" they would say, and Fryer was happy to oblige them.

"I take their hand and pray for them," the pastor said. "One young woman sat down and burst into tears. She was worried for her grandmother in Florida. People take a seat to talk about romance and family and illness and grief. 'Could you pray for me?' And I do."

Fryer said a reporter once asked him what makes him different from Lucy of Peanuts' fame who offered "psychiatric help" despite having no expertise in the area since she's only a child.

What qualifies you to deal with the complex issues of a very complex world? The reporter asked him.

Fryer responded that he only has one source of wisdom: the Bible.

"I know that I have no particular wisdom to share with others. But the Bible does. The teachings of the Church do. I have spent my career studying these things, and I am happy to share whatever I have learned," Fryer said in a Facebook post.