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Lansing State Journal

Lansing State Journal

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Carter was ordained a priest July 1 at St.

Michael's Episcopal Church in south Lansing, where she has served as both an intern and a deacon.

"I think she's going to be a fabulous priest," said the Rev.


Richard Hamlin, rector of St.


"She is very thoughtful, very much aware of what people want and need." Carter said she is thrilled at the opportunity to serve others.

"What I think I'm called to do is to be present and to witness," she said.

For the 58-year-old, the call to ministry came and went over a lifetime, with a clear moment of realization in 2004.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Carter is a lifelong Episcopalian whose father was a civilian employee of the U.S.


Her family spent six years of her childhood in France while he worked at a NATO base.

Carter graduated from high school in the southwest Michigan city of Niles, then attended Michigan State University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in humanities.

Carter started her radio career on the news staff at WVIC radio in Lansing, then worked for a series of broadcast stations in Detroit, including WDIV-TV.

It was at that point she started thinking about a career change.

"I looked around the newsroom and said, 'I don't really see many 50-year-old women working here,' " Carter said.

She enrolled in Wayne State University, where she earned a master's degree in history and a law degree at the same time.

By the time she graduated in 1988, Carter realized she thrived on university life.

She took a position teaching journalism at Wayne State and moved to Michigan State University in the fall of 1991, teaching broadcasting and media law.

Marquette-based journalist Frida Waara participated with Carter on the all-woman expedition to the North Pole in 2001 -- a trip that was in the planning stages for years.

"Without Sue, that trip never, ever would have happened," Waara said.

"She's the one who pulled the group together.

She's the one who figured out how to finance it." Waara said Carter also knew when to relinquish the leadership role once the trek began.

"She also knew on the ice she wasn't the one to make decisions," Waara said.

Carter remembers skiing over the arctic ice, marveling that everything around her was God's creation.

"It's humbling to be in a place where what humans do is for naught," she said.

Carter found her calling in another quiet, still place -- a Benedictine monastery in southwest Michigan.

She made regular retreats there, and on a November 2004 visit became convinced that her next expedition was an inner journey.

"I was at the monastery and in a period of prayer and meditation and was struck by an overwhelming sense that it was time," she said.

"It was a very discernible call to ministry, to serve and to be with God's people." Over the next several years, Carter studied at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, then transferred to General Theological Seminary in New York City, where she spent the 2008-09 academic year on sabbatical from Michigan State completing her master of divinity degree.

Carter will be back at Michigan State this fall and plans to continue teaching.

She'll wear her priestly collar on Sundays at St.

Michael's, where she has been named priest associate for the congregation of 200.

Hamlin said she'll be scheduled to preach once a month and help him as needed.

Carter is looking forward to it: "It's an awesome responsibility to feel God's grace and blessing, and to extend that," she said.

------ Information from: Lansing State Journal,,0,5578856.story
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