Robert Peters '63 M.Div.: A Heritage of Ministry
The Reverend Robert F.R. Peters and his wife, Ginny, are but two of a long line of people in their family who care deeply about parish ministry, and about Yale Divinity School. When Rob Peters graduated in 1963, he was already treading in the footsteps of his alumnus dad, who left YDS for parish ministry in 1932. His maternal grandfather was an ordained minister and also president of Defiance College. His grandfather Peters was the minister of the college church. Now retired, Peters still helps churches in the Central Atlantic region run their own campaigns for capital needs. Not surprisingly education and service run deeply through the roots of this family tree.
It was no big leap, then, for Rob and Ginny Peters-when they sat down to review their wills-to draw on those roots in making some new decisions that would help YDS and also a favorite charity of Ginny's. "I've been involved for a while in helping YDS raise funds for specific projects," Peters said. "I was the firstborn of four sons, so to gravitate toward Yale as a place to study for the ministry was natural. It was a life-forming experience for my father and me, as we know it is for students today. In reviewing our charitable distribution, we realized that things were going well enough for us that we could create a bequest that one day might result in a named scholarship at the Divinity School in honor of the parish ministers in our family."
"This bequest," Peters added, "is in honor of my parents and grandparents to support students studying for parish ministry. I think that parish ministry is an important and critical profession. It's an ongoing, growing challenge to have people who are well-prepared for doing ministry in times like these when social issues and worldwide division affect us every day. Granted, I also entered ministry at the beginning of that turbulent period of upheaval that was the `60s and 70's, but it's an even more complex world today. We need to provide tools for the crises of the day, and to teach ministers to be the leaders and motivators that are so critically needed by churches."
Like many YDS grads who have a fond place in their hearts for the school, but not necessarily the ability to make large gifts in the here and now, Peters saw the advantage of making a gift of a lifetime through estate planning. He noted, "A bequest is an avenue that can provide a donor with enormous satisfaction, as it does us. That's one of the benefits. We have the satisfaction of knowing that two charities, one of which is very dear to my wife, and one that is dear to me, are going to receive between them half of our estate, with the rest distributed to our six children. It's a source of enjoyment and pleasure to be able to do that, but it's also a feeling that 'I've done something.' In part it's payback, but it doesn't feel like that-it just feels like appreciation and a desire for the same kind of opportunity to be available for others that was available for me."
"Any size gift makes a difference," Peters emphasized. "That's why we've set it up as a proportional gift. It may mean it will be a gift that grows. We might not have the resources to do sizable trust arrangements at the moment, but this way we can accomplish a great deal in the area we most wish to fund-to support students that want to be parish ministers."