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Bishop Peter Bruno Remembered As a Visionary, Spiritual Father, and Faithful Follower of Christ

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I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – 2 Tim. 4:7

By Tom Campisi, Publisher

After graduating from Elim Bible College in 1958, Peter Bruno, young and filled with Holy-ghost fire, traveled the East Coast as an evangelist with a tent that seated 1,800 people.

Accompanied by his new bride, Rose Marie, he preached the Gospel for five years, proclaiming the Good News, and setting the stage for a dynamic ministry that spanned six decades and included faithful service as a pastor, disciple-maker, and church planter.  

On June 12, 2021, Reverend Dr. Bishop Peter I. Bruno, senior pastor of Nutley Abundant Life Worship Center, passed away peacefully at the age of 83, surrounded by his family. As soon as an announcement came on social media, an outpouring of love and condolences was expressed by current and former church members, pastors, and ministry leaders.

At Nutley ALWC’s Sunday morning worship service the following day, Pastor Joe Cancelliere recalled how Bishop Bruno’s burning passion for the Lord and desire to serve him with excellence never wavered as he ran his race—he preached from the pulpit only a few days before he died.

“He finished strong,” said Rev. Cancelliere. “As an ex-coach and Phys-ed teacher, [you teach] that you never run for the finish line; you always want to [aim] for ten feet beyond the line, so that when you cross, you are at full speed and not slowing down. And that was Bishop. He went above the call of duty.”

At its graduation ceremony on June 14, Abundant Life Academy (ALA) honored Bishop Bruno, the school’s founder, not with a moment of silence, but with a moment of praise to the Lord. John Kuebler, the principal at ALA and an elder at Nutley ALWC, quoted Psalm 108, “Oh God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory…”

“Bishop Bruno was steadfast because he was a man of praise,” he said. “We honor his legacy today. He truly looked forward to every invocation at ALA and the opportunity to impart to the students and parents. He prayed for our students every day. We are part of his legacy.”

The legacy of Bishop Bruno is intertwined with Nutley ALWC. After serving as a pastor for seven years in Jamestown, New York, he came to Nutley Assembly of God (as the church was known then) in 1970. For the next fifty plus years, he sheperded the congregation, proudly presiding over ALWC’s centennial celebration in 2018.

As the founder of Abundant Life Ministries International, Bishop Bruno was instrumental in planting 28 churches and discipling more than 50 “pastor’s sons and daughters” into full-time service, internationally, in countries such as Italy and Brazil, and locally with Lincoln Park Abundant Life Worship Center and Pastor Tom Berninger; Abundant Life Church (Whippany) and the late Rev. Joe Arminio; and Abundant Life Church in Springfield and Rev. Cancelliere.

Bishop Bruno’s two biological sons are also pastors. Peter Bruno is the senior pastor of MetroChurch in North Haledon, while Paul Bruno is the senior pastor of Evangel Christian Church in Little Ferry. His daughters, Jillaine Gingerelli and Joyleen Mainiero, are active in the ministry of Nutley ALWC.

“The Lord gave us the vision of producing pastor sons and daughters, as well as going forth and opening up new churches,” Bishop Bruno said in 2018. “Many of these pastors are men and women who sat in my ministry training classes.”

Bishop Bruno is survived by his ministry partner and wife Rose Marie, four adult children, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren (full obituary here). On June 18, Nutley ALWC held a “Celebration of Life” service, which followed an afternoon viewing at the church. Two days later, a Father’s Day church service honored the man who was a spiritual father to so many believers.

In 2018, Bishop Bruno shared with tristatevoice.com how he was able to faithfully serve the Lord for over 60 years and live such a legacy in His honor. 

“I truly fell in love with Jesus,” he said. “I believe that what He said was the truth. I believe that the Gospel works. When you have a close relationship with the Lord and you hear the voice of the Lord that speaks to you daily—both from His Word and within your heart, your spirit—you can’t help but follow the person whom you love.”