Recollections: the Very Revd Dr Wesley Carr

by
01 September 2017

UPP

High-profile challenges: the Very Revd Dr Wesley Carr, Dean of Westminster, in February 1997. The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, was held at the Abbey in the September of that year

High-profile challenges: the Very Revd Dr Wesley Carr, Dean of Westminster, in February 1997. The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, was held at the...

Canon Paul Denyer writes:

Further to your obituary of the Very Revd Dr Wesley Carr (Gazette, 28 July), when Wesley was Dean of Bristol, and I was Diocesan Director of Ordinands, he advised me, when interviewing a prospective ordin­and, to “go for the gaps”. For ex­­ample, if a candidate gave very full information in his or her applica­tion about two of their three chil­dren, but hardly any information about the third, it was the story of the third which I should ask about.

In meetings he could be direct. He once said that, contrary to con­ven­­tional sentiment, the church build­ing standing in the community was often a more eloquent testi­mony to the glory of God than the people who worshipped in it.

Wesley was someone of whose intellectual prowess one was always aware. A topic would be brought up. Wesley would initially remain silent. Then he would speak. “I think there are four points we should note here.” In four crisp sentences he would list them. We would sit back in awe of his wisdom and clarity.

He was enormously kind and supportive of me as a rookie DDO. I will always be very grateful. Behind a sometimes frowning providence, he hid a smiling face.

Sir Peter Marshall adds: During his years as Dean of Westminster, and especially in 2002, the Golden Jubilee year, Dr Carr masterminded a groundbreaking transformation in the annual Common­wealth Day Ob­­servance; so as both to correspond to evolving percep­tions of how to portray and present the Commonwealth, and to take ad­­vantage of the widening scope for interfaith co-operation and worship which, in its capacity as a Royal Peculiar, the Abbey was most par­ticularly able to promote.

In this he showed the same clarity of mind, and sureness of instinct, which he displayed in the extra­ordinary na­­tional moment of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Both as he grappled with physical limitations while still in office, and in his disabling and frustrating re­­tirement, he could surely have had no greater care and support than that which his wife, Natalie, lavished upon him.

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