MAN CALLED PETER-THE STORY Of PETER MARSHALL
A SCOTSMAN WHO FILLED THE
CHAPLAINCY OF THE SENATE OF THE USA.
We intend to show excepts from the book
'Compellingly told by much loved author Catherine Marshal -this is the
story of her first husband Peter Marshall. It is an irresistible account
of the love between a dynamic man and his GOD and the tender love
between a husband and wife.
The life of Peter Marshall -'the story
that had to be told'-recounts the triumph of a young Scottish immigrant
who made his way from his homeland to the chaplaincy of the United
Catherine's and Peter's life together
in the hall's of highest human happiness', as Peter often referred to
marriage, is related with love humour and immense wisdom.
'The best stories are those that
really happen. None of the novels...written during the last few years
touches the heart and appeals to the mind in the way that Catherine
Marshall does in telling the story of her husbands life.'
was the author of numerous bestselling books, including
Christy, Julie. The Helper, Beyond Our Selves and
A Closer Walk.
The book A Man Called PETER has sold
Hodder and Stoughton Ltd
338 Euston Road
London NWI 3 BH
We commence our brief search of the
life of a
A MAN CALLED PETER
with the Preface of the Book
Since Peter Marshall left us to be at
home in our Father's house, I have often dreamed of him. But one dream
was different from all the rest. It had the feel of reality about it
I dreamed that I was allowed to visit
Peter briefly, to see him in his new setting. I found him working in a
rose garden, surrounded by those perfect hybrid tea roses he always
wanted to grow
.After a while,
he said playfully, "I know perfectly well what you've been doing,
Catherine. You're writing a book. Now, now -no exposes! What
you're doing to me shouldn't happen to a dog!"
Then in a more serious vein, "It's all
right, Kate. Go ahead and write it. Tell it all, if it will prove to
people that a man can love the Lord and not be a sissy..."
So, in the months since then I have
written it. reliving and recording parts of the life that Peter and I
shared has a joyous task. The presence of Christ has shed glory on even
the hard-to-bear parts of it.
I hope that you will enjoy it, and that
by the time you have come to the last page [332p], you will know that if
God can do so much for a man called Peter, he can do as much for YOU .
April 29, 1951.
[As we have stated we shall be
revealing extracts of the publication and have decided to generally
restrict our recording to just three of the 20 chapters in the book
which is of 332 pages.]
Before we commence our journey of the
life of a Man called Peter we wish to explain that it was a recent
screening of the Fact-based drama
A MAN CALLED PETER
which prompted this mission into
the life of a Man of God. The distinguished actor portraying Peter
Marshal is Richard Todd of The Dambusters and The Longest Day and many
other fine patriotic films since the Second World War. He was himself
fighting at Pegasus Bridge a vital objective on D Day June 6-1944.
ABOVE TIME AND CIRCUMSTANCE
For ye shall go out with joy...and it
shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not
be cut off. Isaiah 55:12-13
The morning was bleak and cold. A damp
penetrating wind ruffled the steel-grey waters of the Potomac, chased
bits of paper and debris down the broad roped- off expanse of
Pennsylvania Avenue, and whistled around the dome of the Capital.
Everywhere Washington wore an air of
expectancy. The hillocks of lumber, which had been piled for weeks along
the Avenue, had finally been fashioned into grandstand and bleachers.
Every street corner was garnished with a navy blue of District
policemen. The gray lampposts were decorated with small American flags
and pictures of Truman and Barkley. Red, white, and blue bunting was
everywhere. In a few hours, forty thousand marchers and more than
forty floats would form a column seven miles long in honour of the
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
It was Inauguration Day , January 20,
Before the stately Capital building
with it's wide-spreading wings, I sat with 120,000 other people on
crudely built benches watching the dignitaries taking their places
on the special platform before us.
Radio, television, and motion -picture
technicians scurried up and down their newly built platforms, adjusting
and testing equipment. At twelve noon, the eyes and ears of most
Americans would be centered on this scene.
I knew that in the old Senate Chamber,
with it's plum-coloured leather seats and green-carpeted aisles, Peter
Marshall, the Senate Chaplain, called by many a reporter the
"Conscience of the Senate"
was at that moment praying. His simple,
sincere, down- to - earth prayers had been having an increasing profound
effect on the Senators. But it was an intimate thing - not the kind of
thing a man talks about readily.
I could picture the scene, as I had
often seen it -the sudden hush, the way the men reverently dropped their
heads as Peter prayed:
'God of our fathers in Whom we trust
and by Whose guidance and grace this nation was born, bless the Senators
of these United States at this important time in our history and give
all things needful to the faithful discharge of their responsibilities.
We pray especially today for our
President, and also for him who will preside over this chamber.
Give to them good health for the
physical strains of their office, good judgment for the decisions they
must make, wisdom beyond their own, and clear understanding for the
problems of this difficult hour.
We thank Thee for their humble
reliance upon Thee. May they go often to the throne of grace as we
commend them both to Thy loving care and Thy guiding hand.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Soon I spied Peter marching, hat in
hand, with the Senators, into the seats provided for them to the left of
the Inaugural stand. he was between Senator Lucas and Senator
Vandenberg. The expression on his face suggested he was particularly
pleased about something.
From where I was sitting, I could see
Peter and the Senators well enough to guess that much quiet camaraderie
was going on in that section of the stand.
Peter had been Chaplain of the Senate
for two years. he had not sought the job, nor wanted it at first.
In the beginning he had found it hard to believe that the Senators
regarded his opening prayer as more than a necessary gesture.
Time and closer acquaintance between
him and the men had changed that. The Senators were men of the world,
not easily impressed with preachers. Yet Peter had earned their respect
and the deep affection of the members on both sides of the aisle.
Elected by a Republican majority in
1947, he had been unanimously re-elected by the Democrats on December
31, 1948. On that day, Peter had telephoned me from the church office to
tell me the news. There was exultation in his voice.
"I'm glad, Catherine. At least it
shows I convinced them that I have no politics."
The affection the Senators felt for
their chaplain was reflected in the way Senator Arthur Vandenberg, who
presided as president pro tempore of the Senate in the absence of the
vice-[president, always called Peter "Dominie," the Dutch word for
" To know Peter is to love him,"
Senator Vandenberg said.
"My chaplain is my intimate and
In deed many an astute observer on
Capital Hill felt Senator Vandenberg's unobtrusive spiritual partnership
with Peter Marshall had under-girded the increasing stature of his
statesmanship, as he rose to become the architect of the
-and of America's first bipartisan
foreign policy in many years.
On that Inauguration Day, the vista of
an ever-growing and deepening ministry among all those men opened out
before Peter. long ago he had been
"tapped on the shoulder" by "the
-as he loved to call his lord.
Twenty-two years before he had landed
at Ellis Island - an immigrant boy. God sent him into strange places to
preach His message
It seemed to Peter that the old Senate
Chamber was almost the strangest of all. Yet , there in the highest
legislative hall in the nation, the Risen Christ and the wisdom of
Almighty God were surely needed. It thrilled Peter to have the
chance to be Christ's representative in that PLACE.
The uncertain Washington sun broke
through the heavy clouds as Harry S. Truman took the office as president
of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
His left hand was resting on two
bibles, a Gutenberg Bible and the White House Bible. His outstretched
fingers covered passages from the Sermon on the Mount and the Ten
Commandments as he intoned the solemn words:
"I do solemnly swear that I will
faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and
will defend the Constitution...."
The sky umbrella of planes was already
forming for the Inaugural parade as I made my way through the crush of
people to our parked car. It was quite a while before my husband joined
me. his rugged face was beaming.
"Guess what, Catherine
he said as he opened the car door. the
joy of a small boy was in his voice.
"What? What's happened?"
"Senator Vandenberg called me
It was a small thing. But it
represented the outstretched hand of friendship -the open door to a
A long and dramatic train of events had
led Peter Marshall to that memorable day. The story has about it the
feel of a Biblical saga; yet, it is a story of a modern man, a warmly
As I write I see a procession of vivid
mental pictures: A boy walking through a Scottish lane lined with
rhododendron trying to hear God's call; a ship ploughing through the cold
waters of the North Atlantic; a blast furnace in New Jersey; a boy on a
train going south to Birmingham. There are traces of wistfulness
in the story, and a procession of the haunted hearts of men and women.
There is much laughter -and sometimes a sob.
The story begins some thirty years ago
in a grimy industrial city in Scotland.
[We shall touch on the first steps to
his ministry at a later stage]
Soon to Follow
Washington - Opportunity
Peter's reputation as a "thrilling
evangelical preacher" soon resulted in long lines of people waiting
outside New York Avenue Church [Abraham Lincoln's Church] on a Sunday morning. Often four abreast,
they were patient and cheerful about the wait. They hoped to be able to
get into the sanctuary and find a seat. loud-speakers had to be
installed in the Lincoln Chapel and the downstairs lecture room to
handle the overflow crowds. When these rooms were filled, there was
nothing left to do but turn would-be worshipers away.
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