“I went through six majors in two years — music, philosophy, architecture, but I failed mechanical drawing, so I began to consider botany. I wasn’t very good at it, and at the end of a fairly miserable sophomore year, I was all worked up. I didn’t know what was wrong. None of those things was what I was called to do,” he added.
He called his father, who suggested that he become an Episcopal priest. Peek hesitated. The next day, a friend of his father’s called and said, “I hear you want to be an Episcopal priest.”
“You heard wrong,” Peek said.
He hung up, but he kept hearing his father’s words. “I realized I’d been running away from it,” he said. Once he threw in the towel and decided to become a priest, he felt peace. “I had a happy year.”
In 1965, he married his wife Nancy, whom he’d met at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on the UNL campus. He had been dating another girl, but as soon as he met Nancy, “that was the end of my dating the other girl.”
He graduated from UNL, earned a divinity degree in 1971 and moved to Flagstaff, where he taught English, philosophy and American studies for six years at Northern Arizona University and created the American Studies Program.
At the same time, he led a small church in Williams, Ariz., “but I learned that I didn’t know how to do a job half-time,” he said. The church had just 40 members. At Peek’s suggestion, the congregation merged with a small ELCA church in Williams. It’s now a joint congregation.