Black History Month 2022: Fr. Denzil Carty

Vanne Owens Hayes, Holy Trinity St. Paul

Black History Month 2022: Fr. Denzil Carty

This Black History Month, we're sharing stories of Black Episcopalians within and outside of the diocese. While there are only four weeks in February, the time is always right to share these stories! If you've got a story to share that celebrates Black Episcopalians, or if you know of someone you think should be featured, please let us know by emailing Emilia Seay Allen, missioner for communications, at

Denzil Angus Carty was born in St. John’s Antigua, British West Indies on March 30, 1904. He was educated in the New York City high schools, City College of New York and General Theological Seminary, New York. He also did graduate work at Xavier University (New Orleans) and Wayne State University (Detroit). In the 1930’s, Carty served three New York City parishes: All Souls’, St. Philip’s and St. Luke’s. During World War II he served as Captain and Chaplin of the 512th Port Battalion in Europe.

Rev. Carty came to St. Paul, MN in 1950 as rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church and served until his retirement in 1975. At Holy Trinity, he is described as “God’s warrior for civil and human rights.” Since 2011, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church has celebrated Father Carty’s birthday on March 30th. In 2014, the East Metro Mission Area encouraged all member churches to honor Rev. Carty by observing March 30th as a journey to sainthood. He supported the ordination of Jeanette Piccard, the first woman Episcopal Priest in the nation. A proposal to recognize women priests had been narrowly defeated at General Convention in 1973. In July 1974, Rev. Carty escorted Piccard, a member of the “Philadelphia Eleven” women, as they were ordained to the priesthood. The Episcopal Church recognized her ordination in 1977.

Rev. Carty was a courageous advocate for civil rights and affordable housing for low-income minorities and called for “our rights, with dignity and equality, in education, jobs and housing. Rev. Carty was active in the Minnesota Council of Churches; Minnesota Jewish Council; American Legion; Fair Employment Practices Commission, NAACP St. Paul Urban Coalition, St. Paul Urban League, St Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the St. Paul and Minnesota Councils of Human and Civil Rights in St. Paul. The Opportunities and Industrialization Carty Heights, a senior residence at Episcopal Church Homes, is named after Father Carty. At the request of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and the support and endorsement of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States passed Resolution C006 to include the Rev. Fr. Denzil A. Carty in Holy Women, Holy Men.

Rev. Fr. Earl Neil preaches about Fr. Denzil Carty, August 2021