Thursday, August 9, 2012
Priest embraces latest chapter in career
Wading through water above her ankles isn’t anything new to the Rev. Deb Carr. In 2004, while starting an Episcopal church in Oakdale, she witnessed flooding left by the remnants of Hurricane Ivan.
The experience is now paying off for Carr, the new priest at Carnegie’s Church of the Atonement, where the basement has flooded more than once this summer.
“My daughter said to me, ‘Mom, God must think you’re in the flood-recovery business.’ ”
From moldy church basements to missions scattered across the globe, Carr’s life as an educator, priest and mother of four has been a busy one. Settled since July 1 in a role essentially the same as rector — making her the first woman to fill that position at the Washington Avenue parish — Carr is embracing the next chapter in her well-traveled career.
“I’ve always just wanted to be obedient to God’s call,” said Carr, who was ordained in the Episcopal Church in 2003 and previously served as assistant to the rector at St. David’s Anglican Church in Peters.
“The people here have embraced me and loved me and been very kind and accepting. It’s really a joy to be here.”
It took some time for Carr to officially gain her new title. She was a part-time preacher for seven months following the departure of the Rev. Paul Sutcliffe.
It’s a role she has prepared for all her life, though. Growing up in Shillington, Berks County, Carr attended several churches before becoming an Episcopalian in 1985.
With a degree from Kutztown University in elementary education and special education for the visually impaired, she combined her passions and worked as a teacher, director of children’s ministries and preschool director.
In the meantime, missionary work sent her to far-flung locales such as Belize, Honduras, Kenya, Trinidad and Uganda. The trips would provide her with some of the most meaningful moments of her life.
“In all the places I’ve been in the Third World, people who have nothing have a great appreciation and dependence on the Lord, and they are so filled with the joy of the Lord,” Carr said. “It’s humbling, because we have so much.”
Carr singled out a prayer made by children in Uganda, a country ravaged by starvation and AIDS. “They were praying, ‘Thank you, Lord, that we woke up this morning. Thank you that my mom and dad didn’t die,’ ” she said.
Deb Carr was on staff at our former church St David's in Peters Township - 2003-2005 & 2007-2011