The Rev. William Carter is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Clarks Summit, PA, and a well-known jazz musician. He serves as the pastor and head of staff of the First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. A well-known preacher in the northeast, he is also a highly regarded jazz pianist who frequently weaves his music into his ministry.
A native of Owego, NY, Rev. Carter received his B.A. from Binghamton University in 1982, with a major in philosophy and a certificate in religious studies. He earned his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1985. Ordained as a minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), he previously served as pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Catasauqua, Pennsylvania. Currently the president of the Alumni/ae Association of Princeton Theological Seminary, Rev. Carter was elected by Princeton alumni/ae to a position on the seminary’s Board of Trustees.
As a jazz musician, Rev. Carter has extensive experience as a composer and arranger, having studied and performed with noted jazz artists such as Phil Woods, Jim McNeely, Jimmy Knepper, and Bob Brookmeyer. He holds the piano chair in Al Hamme’s Swing Street Orchestra and performs regularly on the Binghamton University (NY) campus. Rev. Carter has written liturgical music for the popular jazz communion services in his congregation and has traveled widely in presenting jazz worship services in churches.
His primary musical association is with the Presbybop Quartet, which he proudly calls “the only jazz quartet pictured in the Presbyterian Church’s Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study (1997 edition, p. 368). The Presbybop Quartet has recently recorded a CD, entitled “Faith in a New Key.” The CD is full of original tunes and jazz interpretations of two favorite hymns. Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck recently gave it a glowing endorsement, declaring, “I highly recommend it!”
He is the author of seven books with national recognition for his preaching and writing. His sermons and articles have appeared in Journal for Preachers, Presbyterian Survey, Preaching, Lectionary Homiletics, The Christian Ministry, and Best Sermons 7 (HarperCollins, 1994).