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19 October 2012

Canon David Lickess writes:
FOR more than 60 years, the Revd Paul Carter (right), who died on 28 September, aged 90, was a priest in Yorkshire, serving parishes in two dioceses, and on the General Synod. He died at home in West Tanfield, the village near Ripon to which he and his wife had retired in 1987.

Paul had grown up at Repton School, where his father, also a priest, taught. During the Second World War, he served in the RAF in North Africa, used his talents as a pianist and writer of songs to form a concert party, and accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour. After studies at King's College, London, and Warminster, he was ordained priest in York Minster in 1951, by the great Archbishop Cyril Garbett.

His first curacy was in Scarborough, where the vicar he expected to train him had just left because of ill health. He then served at Pocklington, and married Shirley, a young woman whom he had met on an SCM summer course. They had two children, and their marriage remained strong through 59 years.

In 1955, he was appointed vicar of a large inner-city parish in Hull, where he had about 100 baptisms, 100 weddings, and 100 funerals a year, for all of which he made at least three home visits, an example of pastoral care from which some of today's clergy could learn.

He moved in 1960 to Ripon diocese, to be Vicar of Ainderby Steeple, near Northallerton, where he served six villages for 27 years, and a church school, and used his large record collection to give musical evenings. Parishioners much valued his Bible-based sermons, gentle manner, and patience.

In 1970, he was elected to the then new General Synod, where he served for 17 years, and keenly supported the ordination of women to the priesthood. He was later made an Hon. Canon of Ripon Cathedral, and retired in 1987, but continued to take services, and to give record concerts.

Preaching on the 50th anniversary of his ordination, he said that being a priest was a great treasure and awesome responsibility, and that the heart of the Christian faith was not a set of rules to be obeyed, but a personal relationship with Jesus, based on love - the love of an unchanging God in a changing world.

He will be remembered as a faithful priest and good friend, who quietly got on with parish ministry, was conscientious in pastoral care, and drew people to Christ.

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