Mr. Petrie was born in Toronto in 1945 of European parents. He attended university in the U.S. and graduated with a degree in psychology. He underetook additional graduate studies in theology.
In 1966 Mr. Petrie worked with Teen Challenge, a drug rehabilitation center in New York City. After his marriage, he and Rebecca founded a drug rehabilitation and teenage center in Lexington, Kentucky. With 20 full-time staff, a number of services were rendered to the inner city and university population of the area.
During the period, Mr. Petrie traveled in a professional capacity in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia, communicating the insights and dynamics he had learned through the work in Kentucky.
In 1967 Mr. and Mrs. Petrie traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), which was the first of many trips to the region. Out of that trip came an effort to create a structure for economic and relational development for the region. Administrated from a ranch comprising 30,000 hectares in the interior, their efforts provided economic development, medical services and training for the surrounding communities.
In 1971 Mr. Petrie and his family moved to Europe where they traveled extensively, speaking in conferences and founding a European Teen Challenge Training Center in Germany.
The Petries then returned to the US in 1974, settling again in Lexington, Kentucky, where he founded a Christian community while continuing to travel widely, both in North America and internationally, speaking at conferences, helping found other communities and mentoring leaders in various organizations.
In 1985 Mr. Petrie founded International Outreach Ministries, a Non-Governmental Organization, which now works in 28 nations, serving through development, education, and medical and other services, with the intention of revealing God's care and concern through a variety of means.
In 1986 Mr. Petrie and his family moved to Brussels, Belgium, and helped found the organization "Antioch Network" to serve both Belgians and expatriates living there. Antioch is now the largest protestant network of churches in Belgium, comprising over 80 congregations. In the same year Mr. Petrie helped found the Association of Covenant Ministries in North America.
In 1996 Mr. Petrie, with a small group of like-minded professionals, founded the European Prayer Breakfast, which serves Members of the European Parliament, Commission, NATO and the diplomatic corps in Brussels. That same year, in conjunction with a European Parliamentarian, he facilitated gatherings at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg with the same goals. This has led to wide involvement with members of European governments, within and beyond the European Union. There are now gatherings in Parliaments in 30 nations in Europe.
In 2002 Mr. Petrie co-founded the Middle East Program, an initiative to develop relationships in the Middle East that will promote greater stability and peace in the region.
In 2017 Mr. Petrie was inducted into and Knighted in the Order of St. George – A European Order of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
He continues today, working among a number of European, African, Middle Eastern and North American organizations, governments and individuals. He is an active public speaker, consultant and advisor to both public and private organizations.