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Khaleelee, O. (2019). The Very Revd Dr Arthur Wesley Carr KCVO 26 July 1941-15 July 2017. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 19(1):132-134.

(2019). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 19(1):132-134


The Very Revd Dr Arthur Wesley Carr KCVO 26 July 1941-15 July 2017

Olya Khaleelee

Although Wesley Carr was best known as a theologian and for his role as Dean of Westminster, officiating at the funerals of both Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and of Diana, Princess of Wales, his career and thinking was closely intertwined with, and influenced by, his understanding of group relations.

Wesley was born to Salvation Army parents on 26 July 1941. He won a scholarship to Dulwich College; read classics at Jesus College, Oxford; theology at Jesus College, Cambridge (Eric Miller's old college); and prepared for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He served a four-year curacy at Luton Parish Church, during which time he married Natalie Gill, who became his constant companion and support for the rest of his life. He returned briefly to Ridley as tutor, but then took up a Fellowship at Sheffield University where he received his PhD.

In 1974, Wesley moved to Chelmsford as deputy director for training and research. His mentor there, the Provost Richard (Dick) Herrick, had a relationship with the Tavistock Institute and used their services to clarify tasks, roles, and boundaries to help explain how teams functioned and the dynamics of cathedrals' and bishops' staffs.

Whilst there, Eric Miller, who was working with Andrew Szmidla and Olya Khaleelee on a “People Programme” in a factory in Waltham Cross, brought Wesley in from Chelmsford to run small study groups for shop floor workers, an intellectual and emotional learning opportunity for all. Meanwhile, at Chelmsford he had been promoted to Residentiary Canon in 1978 and during that period was an increasingly influential figure in post-ordination training, later becoming an inspector and then senior inspector of theological colleges. It was said that people experienced him as either liberating or forbidding.

Wesley also consulted on group relations conferences from the late 1970s and was both director and associate director of a number of Leicester Conferences during the 1990s. He had a markedly business-like directorial style and worked in an efficient and organised way.

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