Each Tuesday, on a New York City street corner, a booth goes up, Pastor Gregory Fryer sits down and the crowd streams by.
“I have been pastor of this church for 25 years but I have learned its easier to meet people if I sit on the street corner,” Pastor Fryer told CBN News.
His bright yellow booth is a tribute to an old Peanuts comic.
“I’m charmed by the idea of Lucy and her psychiatric help booth, ‘Psychiatric Help, five cents, the doctor is in,’ and then I thought well, I could do a pastors version,” said Fryer.
Some people get the reference, others not so much. Either way, Pastor Fryer makes it work.
“All kinds of people stop by, but they all seem to stop with good will…sometimes people sit down at my booth and they burst into tears and the reason for that is because we all have our own story. We all have our hopes and dreams and sorrows and setbacks. I’m a pastor. My job is to listen as carefully as I can and then speak back words of encouragement by speaking about Jesus,” Fryer explained.
When you sit on the street corner as often as Pastor Fryer does, your community starts to notice. That’s why he started this whole thing in the first place, to let people know he’s here and available to them.
“The church itself is beautiful, I love it with all my heart–but it’s a little bit intimidating to people on the outside. That’s what I’m afraid of. So, I simply sit there in this kind of humble booth and make myself available,” said Fryer.
His approach helps take away any fear of rejection as he does this week after week.
“In theory nobody could stop by my booth. That would still be OK, because I’m looking at them. These are my neighbors. These are the neighbors to our church. So I try to look at them and when I see them in the neighborhood I recognize them and they recognize me,” Fryer said.
After making himself available for nearly a year, some of those he’s prayed with on the street, now walk through the doors of his church.
“If we save only one soul it’ll be worth it. Well, we can point to one soul because we just baptized, recently, a young man who we met through the booth,” Fryer said.
As for the five cent charge, the church provides your fee. Still, many drop in some coins or a few bucks to help in the cause.
“I think it’s because they like the idea. They like the idea of the pastor being available even if they themselves don’t feel the need for the pastor,” said Fryer.