MEMORIES OF FATHER MICHAEL
The following are extracts from letters sent by friends all over the world when they heard of Fr.
Michael’s falling asleep in January, 2010. The last two items are an illuminating personal memory by
Michael himself, and an account by Charles Whitehead (chairman of ICC) of our Thanksgiving service
for Michael’s life, held in August of the same year.
A member of the Orthodox parish which Fr. Michael founded – St. Botolph’s, which was the first
totally English-speaking Orthodox parish in London.
I want to let you know just how much you mean to me. I may have said it before, but from the very
first moment I entered St Botolph’s and stood for just a few minutes listening to the Liturgy at the
back of the church, I was struck by your warm and welcoming spirit which has infused through the
whole community. This, I thought back then, is the place for me! Since then I have been incredibly
touched by the deep love and care you have shown to me as I have begun my married life.
Tom and Mary Maree, erstwhile members of St. Botolph’s, now in Ireland.
We feel Father Michael is, still, always around keeping an eye on things and helping our family no
end. We very much thank God for this. Father Michael and your good self are deep in our hearts. I
can never forget that dear Father Michael guided me into the fold of our Most Holy Orthodox
Christian Church. How can I ever repay him? All I can try and do is to remember how he was a true
Christian, overflowing with Love who always taught everyone how to love and love and love again
seventy times seven!
Fr Michael was our religious consultant for Orthodox religions and was a great source of advice and
guidance. On behalf of Chaplaincy Headquarters, may we offer our condolences and prayers in his
Preb. John and Mrs. Diana Collins
You and Michael were such a blessing and encouragement to us (and to countless others) in opening
our eyes to the person and work of the Third Glorious Member of the Holy Trinity – he through his
talks and books, and you through your music, and, indirectly through all the inspiring speakers you
both invited to this country.
Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
I wanted to write a word to assure you of my sincerest sympathy and continuing prayers. Michael
was someone for whom I had an immense respect and affection over many years, someone who
contributed exceptionally to the life of so many Christian communities and confessions. In our
personal dealings, it was always a joy to be with him. I still have in my study an icon he gave me
some years ago, which has meant that he has often been in my mind. With you and many more, I
give thanks for his witness and service to Christ, and hope that you are upheld both by the
knowledge of all that God gave through him into the lives of others and by the knowledge of God’s
faithfulness in all things.
Rene Barrow (Borneo)
My mother remembers you during the Charismatic Renewal, you came to Borneo to preach about the
Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Due to the foundation that the Fountain Trust had laid in the churches
there earlier, we were ready to experience the miraculous. Many people were healed, wheelchairs and
crutches were discarded and the paralysed chief of secret police was healed. Many came to the faith
because of that and it helped to turn the tide of Islam. Muslims saw the reality of the power of God,
and now, over 30 years later, rather than Christians getting locked up in jail by the government,
there are Christians in all sectors of society including an openly Christian church elder who is in a top
position in the Prime Minister’s department. So thank you for the work you did all those years ago! It
helped me to become the person I am today.
Michael Basham (Ancient Faith Radio, and Director of the Institute of Orthodox Christian
Father Harper lived his faith at the deep end of the pool. He was fearless in his openness to explore
all aspects and dimensions of the Christian experience. He always did so humbly and without fanfare
or a supercilious attitude. He was a spiritual explorer – quite an accomplishment given our modern
tendency to stake out positions, draw a fence around them, and defend them regardless.
I first met Father Harper through his written lectures in THE WAY. That was a blessing. Then, during
Summer School in 2009, I met him in person. It was clear, after walking away from him after each of
our conversations, that I had been in the presence of an extraordinary human being. What a
blessing he was to me and to so many others. He shall be missed by all of us who are still in this
dimension but there is joy and singing in heaven as our beloved friend is welcomed home.
Editor’s note: The Way course: www.iocs.cam.ac.uk/theway (on 5 DVDs)
Father Tom Forrest (visionary of the Decade of Evangelism which was launched by ICCOWE (now
ICC,) and chaired by Michael, at the World Conference in Brighton in 1991)
A letter dated Jan 8th 2010 to Fr. Michael:
...I certainly speak of you as one of the most important friends and brothers that God has given me in
my own priestly life. I have no doubt that Almighty God has been deeply pleased by your own
priestliness and for the tremendous dedication which for so many years you have answered His
calling and responded to it as you did, with so much courage and determination and with plenty of
good old sweat as well.
Once more, with tremendous appreciation, admiration and very happy memories of the years of
brotherly effort and association I greet you, my brother! Tom
And a reflection by Father Tom: ‘Sharing the Friendship of Christ’
Differences regarding our religious beliefs can certainly be among our more divisive experiences.
Even so, they need not trouble those who love each other as friends. Michael Harper and I certainly
had certain theological differences, Michael first as an Anglican and then as an Orthodox priest and I
as a Catholic. The more important fact, though, was that we both knew Jesus Christ the Lord and
Master, who came from Heaven, and for love of us went all the way to Calvary and death on a Cross.
Despite the differences, we held many essential truths in common, and that assured us of forever
remaining true brothers, enjoying an enduring friendship.
For many other reasons, but most essentially because Michael held his convictions so intently, only
one word comes to mind when remembering him, and the word is BELIEVING.
Michael truly held Jesus Christ to be our true and only Saviour, the one and only source of Eternal life.
Regarding both, Michael, first as an Anglican and then as an Orthodox priest, and myself as a
Catholic, there certainly were certain important theological differences, but they never endangered
our relationship. We remained good friends until God took him to Paradise. I look forward hopefully
to some day joining him there. This means that I expect our friendship to prove everlasting.
When both of us are joined together in contemplating the face of Christ, those theological
differences, about which we were able here on earth to remain peaceful, will finally come together in
absolute harmony, because then we will not be believing, but rather seeing clearly the absolute truth
that is Jesus Christ.
Bob Balkam USA
One could say that the work of the Holy Spirit amongst Catholics in Britain began through the wisdom
and encouragement of Michael Harper, whom as an individual Catholic I encountered at the Guildford
Fountain Trust Conference in 1971.
While participating in a Catholic Pentecostal prayer group in Maryland, USA, in ’68 and ’69, my wife
Laurin and I heard of the Fountain Trust and the Rev. Michael Harper. Shortly after, we moved to
England to help with an ecumenical conference centre. I contacted Michael in September ’69. He
invited us to a Fountain Trust meeting in a Baptist church in the Elephant and Castle in December.
There we met Esmond Gwatkin, the first English Catholic to tell us he had been baptised in the Holy
Spirit – at an Assemblies of God church in Portsmouth!
In June, 1970 Michael invited me to serve on the Planning Committee for a Fountain Trust
Conference to be held at the University of Surrey, Guildford, July, 1971. For the first time during that
conference about 20 members of the few Catholic Pentecostal prayer groups (later called Catholic
Charismatic prayer groups) in England met one another. It was truly a landmark experience for us all.
Following the conference Michael graciously invited us to form some link with, or become a part of,
the Fountain Trust. After some consideration, I thanked him sincerely (knowing he was taking some
risk himself in inviting Catholics) but said that if we were to have any impact in the Catholic Church in
England and Wales, it would be necessary to establish a clearly identifiable Catholic Group. Michael
readily accepted the point, still offering assistance in any helpful way. Although quite different from
the Conference, it was another landmark event which led us to the next step.
In 1972 we organised an International Ecumenical Conference at Digby Stuart College in
Roehampton: ;The Holy Spirit in the Churches Today’. The next year saw a similar Conference:
‘Freedom and Order in the Holy Spirit’ in Guildford. Both Conferences were largely patterned after
the successful 1971 Fountain Trust Conference with Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox speakers and
participants, although in our case the majority of those attending were Catholics.
1973 saw the formation of the National Service Committee for Catholic Charismatic Renewal which
sponsored its first conference the following year at Hopwood Hall, Middleton, Manchester.
It is very difficult to imagine how the sequence of events described above would ever have taken
place if it had not been for Michael Harper’s vision, although I daresay even he could not have
predicted such things in 1969/70. His openness and genuine charity constituted true ecumenism.
Catholic Charismatic Renewal in England and Wales is certainly indebted to Michael for his generous
and selfless support in the early critical days of organisation. I am deeply appreciative of the support
he gave me personally during that time. The passage of 30 years provides a perspective which I most
certainly didn’t fully appreciate then.
Canon David MacInnes
…..I was interested in what you said about the way the obituaries in the Times and Telegraph missed
out the Brighton ‘91 Conference. Other papers which did mention it, still omitted its true significance.
(See below).It was extraordinary what happened there, and I wonder whether the effects have yet
to be fully realised. The same is true of so many of those conferences which broke through the
impasse in ecumenical relationships and opened up a new way in which the different denominations
could relate to one another. Did you see the PhD thesis written by Connie Ho An Yau on the Fountain
Trust conferences in the ‘70s? She makes a very interesting case for the impact that they had on all
the churches. I am so glad that you are doing further work on the history – that is brilliant - that
there is going to be a record of these decades and I certainly hope it all comes off…(Editor’s note:
See Connie Ho An Yau’s memory contribution below.)
Addenda to Obituary in the Daily Telegraph
There was an important omission in the obituary about Michael Harper on February 5th. Father
Harper also headed up ICCOWE (International Charismatic Consultation On World Evangelism) which
in 1991 privately invited 3,100 leaders of churches throughout the world (including indigenous
churches and Orthodox churches like the Coptic church in Egypt) to a Conference in the Brighton
Centre (of political fame). The leaders met and heard something of the staggering growth of the
churches overseas but more importantly exchanged business cards during the free time, so that after
the Conference they could plan on an equal footing, missions in their respective areas. The results
were dramatic, whether in Tanzania or Australia – Third world or ‘developed’ countries – great
things happened..Much of this will remain untold because communication is so difficult in many parts
of the world, but enough is known that should whet our appetite for more of the same.
The Rev. Michael and Mrs. June Barling
We first met when I was a student preparing for ordination and then when I was a curate at Portman
Square in London. Michael ministered to us then and opened up to us a new dimension in our walk
In those early days of the Charismatic Movement with the Fountain Trust, God used Michael and you,
especially through music, in a unique and special way to open up to the church neglected truths
about the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Countless people, of whom June and I are two, were
blessed by this ministry and through them many others down the years. God alone knows the
enduring fruit of the pioneer ministry Michael had. We give God the glory but we honour Michael for
all that he gave to us in our walk with God.
Priory of St Mildred, Benedictine Nuns
Fr Michael supported the dialogue meetings held at the Abbey and we have good relations with the
Orthodox and especially Antiochian Orthodox Church. I am sure Fr Michael will continue to support
us from his place, now even closer to the Lord.
Don Brewin –former SOMA National Director, UK
Michael has been used by the Lord to establish many different ministries, which have had a profound
effect on the work of renewal throughout the World and for the Kingdom in general. His writings will
continue to be a blessing to many.
Gladys Bland (ex head of Stamford High School for girls, and Fr. Michael’s personal
assistant during his Orthodox years.)
It is not possible to say just how much Fr Michael has meant to me. He guided me into the Orthodox
church where life and understanding is transformed. His warmth and wisdom were never failing, and
indeed we shall be able to recall all the fun we had together, the three of us. It was an inspiration to
know Fr Michael in countless ways, springing from the fact that his life was centred in the Holy
Trinity. He was radiant with the love of Christ. His guidance as a spiritual father will remain with me.
I have just looked at the last Christmas card he sent me - even then his writing and love were as
strong as ever, his faith joining with care, it was so like him.
Indeed the scripture may be echoed by us all, ‘I thank my God on every remembrance of you". It is a
privilege beyond price to have known this great man these last ten years.
I have always thought of Michael as one of those special people who entered my life almost
unexpectedly. When I first became National Director of SOMA Canada, Michael was there to welcome
and encourage me. I was always grateful for his support, love, challenge and wisdom. Whilst I
knew of Michael Harper through his writings and speaking, it was when I got to know him personally
that I realised just how privileged and blessed I was to be able to call him ‘friend ‘….. and to be able
to learn so much from him.
I am so grateful to have known both you and Michael. You and he have been a tremendous influence
in our lives. You not only talked the talk, but you also walked the walk. I do hope that one day in
the not too distant future we might see each other again. In the meantime know that we love you
and are praying for you during this difficult time.
Michael Cassidy –Leader of ‘Africa Enterprise’
Carol and I appreciated both you and Michael, and I particularly had the privilege of celebrating his
friendship, his encouragement, and his spiritual integrity and inspiration. His books were always very
helpful also when I myself was seeking a new and deeper experience of the Holy Spirit in the mid and
Michael Cassidy, leader of ‘Africa Enterprise’, is on the left with his wife.
Michael certainly walked a distinguished road of service to His Lord and one could certainly describe
him as a true Christian gentleman. He was much loved in many places, including here in South Africa
and by us and many others. You must be very thankful to the Lord that He privileged you with being
married to such a man for so long.
Bishop David Chislett, Australia
I met Fr Michael during his initial visit to Australia. Subsequently, as part of The Temple Trust
travelling roadshow, staging the large Charismatic Conferences around Australia through the 1970s,
I observed “close up” a humble man with a deep reality in his walk with God. His advice to some of
us back then was to try to integrate ALL of what the Father has revealed in Christ through the Holy
Spirit. So, I was not surprised by his eventual journey to Orthodoxy. At the time of my consecration
in 2005 I received an encouraging note from him.
Bishop David Collins, USA
What a wonderful brother on both sides of the Atlantic!
Our memories of Brother Michael go back to the first time we met in Lusaka, Zambia. That contact
eventually led to our involvement in ICCOWE for which we are most grateful. Michael’s contribution
to the Kingdom and the cause of worldwide evangelization will yet be recorded in history. But more
than that I believe he has already heard the Master say “Well done, good and faithful servant! You
have been faithful…. Come and share your Master’s happiness”.
Jack and Margaret Danes (family friends in Michael’s younger days)
Michael was, and of course will always be my very special friend for more than 75years! I still possess
the first photograph I took of him on our balcony holding our kitten, in 1935. Even at that early stage
the caring side of his nature shines out from that print taken so long ago. My enduring memory of
those times is his sense of humour and the fun we had together.
Jean Darnall, USA
I'll always be grateful to our dear Saviour for you and Michael's humble obedience to the Holy Spirit.
You had far more to do with any measure of service I was allowed to give to the Church in Britain,
than most people realise.
Fr. Philip Hall, Deanery Priest - Tribute to Fr. Michael as Dean of the first UK Antiochian
It was never going to be an easy task – I was there with all of us starry-eyed Anglican priests, at the
beginning of the ‘Pilgrimage to Orthodoxy’. But, generally, expectations were that the Deanery would
never get off the ground – indeed there were those who counted it a threat and therefore
undesirable in the first place. Thank God you were quietly strong and had unshakeable faith. Had you
fallen at that hurdle so much would have vanished. I am very grateful Antioch did get going. We….
largely through your leadership, have changed the face of Orthodoxy in this country. There are too
many developments to list that have your finger prints on them.. There would be no ‘Way’ course had
you not been here, no Cambridge Institute, no Antiochian Deanery. You continued through the years
unobtrusively working for what you knew was right. Thank you, Father. You always chose the right
path and stuck to it, surmounting HUGE obstacles, - eventually others run from behind and catch up.
When the history of the Orthodox Church is written finally by St. Peter, he will have many good
things to write about your work.
Editor’s note: The Way course of twelve lectures on basic Orthodox doctrines is obtainable from the
Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies. www.iocs.cam.ac.uk/theway Fr. Michael contributes three of
the lectures, on the Holy Spirit, the Church and the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist).
Prof. David Frost, Principal of the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies
It is sad to report the loss of one of our Directors, Father Michael Harper, who from our first
beginnings has been a major force in establishing the Institute as a place where the ancient Orthodox
Jurisdictions in the United Kingdom collaborate together and relate to the world at large. Father
Michael was invariably a force for peace, good sense and brotherly love which he instilled in us. On
our behalf Father Raphael Armour ministered to Father Michael during his sickness and his last days.
Among our IOCS members he, Father Alexander, (St.Botolph’s,London), Father Samir(St George’s
Cathedral, London)and Father Gregory Hallam,(the Dean of the Antiochian Orthodox Deanery,) were
among the large number of priests at the funeral in St.George’s Cathedral, January 2010. We are
grateful that both of our chaplains did what we would have wished to do, and were the channel for
our love and support.
Kalevi Lehtinen, Finnish Evangelist to Leningrad, and many other cities in Russia and
elsewhere in Europe
ECC leaders. Kalevi Lehtinen is to Michael’s right.
Michael was and is one of the most important persons ever to encourage me to walk with Jesus. His
openness, availability, readiness to cross barriers with love and acceptance, and the sense of living in
the presence of the Lord have meant so much to me that I do not have words to express it. His mere
existence strengthens my walk with Jesus even without being physically together. Now, after his
new place in God's kingdom, he continues to influence my life through his intercession. I long for the
moment we meet again and talk without hurry. (Editor’s note: The Lord took Kalevi this year, leaving
his wife, Leena, who was God’s gift to him after his first wife passed away a number of years ago.)
Michael and Penny Dawson
I think it would have been 1971/2 and the Fountain Trust was organising a conference for clergy at
the Crieff Hydro. At that time Penny and I were running a Youth Fellowship. Some of our
youngsters had just been baptized in the Spirit, so I wanted to find out if what we had experienced a
few years previously was the baptism, and if not, to get it ! I remember writing, explaining my
situation as an Elder in the Church of Scotland. Michael so graciously said I could and those were
such significant days for me. That’s where my baptism in the Spirit was confirmed and I first heard a
group of people singing in tongues, (ie. praise with one’s spirit, not learnt songs with the mind) - an
experience never to be forgotten.
Anne E Dyer, Mattersey Hall Bible College, Doncaster
It is appropriate for him to go on the feast of the Epiphany. Michael is now with our Lord, whom he
loved and served so well for so long! He made a lasting impact on many people globally and has
fulfilled the purposes the Lord has had for him.
William Kay, Assemblies of God minister, Prof. Theology, Glyndwr University
I have happy memories of meeting Michael. He was always cheerful and optimistic and had interesting
things to say about many things, being knowledgeable about what was going on in the world as well
as in the church. He performed a vital role during the Charismatic movement and helped to shape the
direction of what happened. I am sure with his faith and love he helped to ensure that the work of
the Lord moved forward in a positive direction. I shall miss him and feel privileged to have known him.
The Very Rev. Gerald Stranraen – Mull, Dean Emeritus of Aberdeen /Orkney
I will have to give thanks at a distance from Inverness- for Michaels’ life. There is so much to be
grateful for, in all that he did and was. I will take the time of the Thanksgiving service as a time of
prayer and give my own renewed thanks to God for his life.
Sister Eulalia – The Mary Sisterhood, Germany
When we think of our ministry in England, we owe so much to you both. You and your husband
invited Mother Basilea to your home and then to speak at Holy Trinity Brompton. Do you remember
how Michael suggested we share the message of repentance with the Lydias when you took over the
UK leadership ? We loved meeting with you over the years. We only regret that Father Michael’s last
visit to Darmstadt had to be cancelled due to the sudden passing of Princess Margaret at Hesse.
Father Michael was a man of his convictions in every area of his life and ministry. Our Mothers
respected him greatly for the book, ‘The Love Affair’ which he wrote after nearly losing his life in the
Pacific. It was written with such humility. We will always remember your dear husband with deep
Michael’s book ‘The Love Affair’ (see Link 7). Fr. Michael wrote:
The first ideas for this book can be traces to the near drowning of its author in a lake in New Zealand.
On New Year’s Eve 1976 I was sailing solo on Lake Taupo when my boat capsized in a sudden and
particularly violent squall about a mile offshore. Clinging to the side of the boat and unable to right it,
I was rescued after over an hour in the glacial waters. I was told that ten minutes later I would have
died of hypothermia.
When I recovered I asked God why He had saved me and what He wanted me to do. The reply came
something like this. ‘I want you to learn how to love people the same way as I do’ A few days later I
met a chubby Presbyterian called Leonard Evans. Together with Robert Frost, we were the speakers
at Summer Schools arranged by Christian Advance Ministries of New Zealand. Leonard gave us what
he calls ‘the love message’. He ribbed us mercilessly. He got us to laugh at ourselves and our spurious
pieties. He taught us the true meaning of love and I have never forgotten those talks.
From then on I have wanted to write a book on this great subject. Many of the most loving people I
have met haven’t written books. They are too busy loving others to have time to write about it. They
find it a full-time job. Maybe I am being a bit hard on writers. Nevertheless, the greatest lover of all,
whose love affair with mankind has no beginning and will have no end, not only wrote nothing about
it, but didn’t speak much about it either. The greatest verbal statements about love in the New
Testament do not come from the lips of Jesus but from the pen of Paul particularly in the so-called
hymn of love in 1 Corinthians 13. Jesus did not have to teach it, because He was it. Every thought of
his mind, every word of His mouth and every action of his body were demonstrations of love. A
person like that does not need to speak or write about love: you just have to look at him or her and
you get the message.`
Actually Jesus did write something. When confronted by the woman who had been caught in bed
with someone else’s husband, He didn’t embarrass her by looking at her but simply traced doodles in
the dust. (Or perhaps they weren’t doodles?)
His was one of the most rational voices of the Renewal, and his theology was seldom open to attack
by reactionaries. But it lacked nothing in passion or in testimony!
I attended a highly political / liberal seminary in my forties, having spent twenty years as an engineer
before hearing God’s call to full time ministry. It would have destroyed my faith, but my earlier
reading of Michael’s books among others had encouraged me to find out for myself if the New
Testament could be taken as a guide as to what God can do. It can! I saw miracles, healings and
new life in abundance. I was able to say to my political peers (to whom Jesus was the Saviour who
‘would deliver South Africa from apartheid’): “How can you believe for that, when you doubt the
power of God even to cure a headache?”
Editor’s note: ‘Jesus the Healer,’ a comprehensive treatment of the subject, is obtainable from 01223
362933 or: email@example.com
Dr. Tim Grass
I knew him through my involvement with the Dialogues between Evangelicals and Orthodox. I met
with them both on several occasions, beginning during his and Jeanne’s years in Haywards Heath,
when he was not only an encourager in this but also pointed me to useful resources. Indeed, he first
told me about the Seminars on this theme which took place at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey,
Switzerland, from 2000 on, otherwise I would never have known about them – that opened up a
whole new dimension to this work.
Dr. David-Wyn Griffiths (University lecturer in Patristics)
I have such happy memories of staying with you both. Without your help, I could not have
completed the Certificate in Orthodox Studies (with IOCS, the Institute of Orthodox Christian
Studies). Fr Michael showed such tender compassion and love towards me. He was a true spiritual
father to me.
The Rev. John and Margaret Gunstone – Anglo-Catholic Charismatic leader
Meeting Michael in 1964 was a very important encounter on my spiritual journey. It was in the
Gondoliers Room of the Savoy Hotel where he was introducing Jean Stone. Afterwards he prayed
with me and it was the first time I heard speaking in tongues (praying with the spirit (1 Corinthians
14 v 15). He suggested I listen to David du Plessis, a gifted man of God. Then there were the various
Fountain Trust gatherings and the pre-Lambeth Conference at Canterbury in 1978. I didn't see him
much after that until a few years ago when he came to address a conference at Mirfield college. We
had lunch and enjoyed recalling '' the old days''. It was the last time I saw him. I'm sure he will be
regarded as one of the Holy Spirit's significant pioneers during the last decades of the 20th century.
He must have helped thousands to learn from the Pentecostal movement how God is renewing and
equipping his people for worship and mission in His world. My experience sums up Michael's ministry
over the last 30 years: he brings Christians together so that they can hear and see more of God's
saving and redeeming work in and through each other. He has been a sort of super - midwife in
thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands- of ''Spirit births.''
Looking back it's remarkable to see how many of the developments we take for granted today are
foreshadowed in his early activities and writings: There is a prophetic quality about Michael's ministry
which will, I'm sure, be recognised by future historians. They will list him among those who are
preparing the Church for her mission in the 21st century. So many have so much to thank him for,
The Very Rev. Chris and Susie Hancock – Cambridge Holy Trinity Church/Bradford
Cathedral and Oxford
A great shock. Please know of our immense respect and affection for him, we treasure all our
memories of our times with the Harpers. Michael was kindness and inspiration personified. I shall
greatly miss him.
Bryn and Sally Haworth - Music ministry in, prisons
When someone recommended us to go to Holy Trinity church, in Hounslow, - when we moved to the
area in ’79, we were so excited at the prospect of meeting a Leader we knew and had so much to
give thanks for. Then when we met you both we found you weren’t just anointed with the Holy
Spirit, you were such good fun, and we came to find a whole new side of being a Christian – free to
be ourselves in Jesus.
Richard Hines (SOMA USA Board)
David Harper, Chairman of USA SOMA Board, of which Richard Hines was a member
I recall the happy dinner we had with you both in Washington DC during one of your visits to the
Church of the Apostles. Indeed we haven’t eaten there since and we think of it as our ‘Dinner with
the Harpers’ spot. I experienced Michael as such a generous person, so loving while so totally
committed to God’s call on his life and a vision for the global church renewed by the power of the
Holy Spirit. I had not yet become part of SOMA (in 1988) so did not attend the Lambeth Conference
but am aware of his key role in bringing the proclamation of the 1990s as a decade of Evangelism. I
still remember with great joy the 1991 ICCOWE conference and the pre-Lambeth Conference of
Anglicans in Canterbury. As a deeply committed Ecumenist, that moment lives on my heart and I am
astounded to think back on the scope and forces of Michael’s vision to bring it about. Yes, we press
on ahead to the prize once again. We miss him, but Wow! as Christians our hearts at the same time
rejoice: he has joined the saints who have gone before.
Connie Ho Yan An
I will never forget both Fr Michael and you for the rest of my life. Without your huge support and
help, my thesis would not have been successful. Fr Michael is always my charismatic and ecumenical
hero and his faith has influenced my life so much. American publisher, WIPF & Stock, Oregon, USA,
has agreed to publish my thesis. I will certainly make it perfect for publication as a way to give
thanks to Fr Michael. It is God’s grace for me to do this research and to become friends of yours.
(‘Grassroots unity in the Charismatic Renewal’ ISBN: 978 – 1 – 60899 -561 -5. A theological and
detailed analysis showing that the Fountain Trust Conferences especially Guildford ‘71 (and by
implication, the big Conferences of the ‘80s and ‘90s, especially the World Conference: ‘Brighton ’
91’) prepared the way for the current ecumenical initiatives.(see ‘News’ link).
I still remember that both Fr Michael and you encouraged me to have hope in God for he had a plan
for me. The opportunity of publication and this good job that I have now, are signs of the
faithfulness of our God and His answers to your prayers.
George & Elizabeth Hobbs
His ministry was seminal to our new life in the Spirit. In 1966 we returned from missionary work in
Nigeria utterly crushed. Through Preb.John Collins we were given new life in the Spirit. Thereafter
we were continuously fed by Michael’s ministry:
• The Fountain Trust and its journal, the ‘Renewal’ magasine
• The wonderful conference at Guildford’s cathedral of the Holy Spirit in 1971, where Michael
challenged us to raise the roof (and we almost did !);
• The Ashburnham conferences, where the campers heard angels singing;
• Canterbury ’78 praying as we walked round the campus;
• Brighton ’91 (was it here the African bishops taught us “We are marching, marching, we are
marching O Ho’’ in a glorious song going around the hall ?).
The gift of the Holy Spirit enabled us to return to Nigeria for a further 5 years – undefeated.
Elizabeth remembers the time Michael prayed for her at Pyrford church when she was severely ill with
Aplastic Anaemia. No cure, but she has already had 30 further years of life and ministry!
Dr Samir Hraiki, Chairman of the Orthodox Society, St George’s Cathedral Council, London
I had a great respect and admiration for the late Father Michael Harper. I respected him for his deep
beliefs in Orthodoxy, and greatly admired his book the “True Light” (now named by its American
publisher ‘Faith Fulfilled’) and his transformation to Orthodoxy. It takes a brave person to do such a
thing in your ‘60s.
We always exchanged our views and took his wise advice, he was a man of wisdom and knowledge.
During his deanery presidency, we shared all kinds of thoughts and exchanged views regarding a
new Bishop to lead Europe, after Metropolitan Gabriel Saliby’s death.
We consider we lost a great leader, believer - and friend for Orthodoxy in Great Britain. We always
remember the beginnings and the moments spent in our Cathedral with the British Deanery followers
and how Father Michael always left a lot of love and kindness in the place.
Bishop Hamish Jamieson, Diocese of Bunbury, Australia
There is no question that Michael had a huge impact on so many lives, and we thank God for his
faithfulness, perseverance under great difficulties, indeed opposition, and patient endurance to the
end. We thank God for the initiatives that he was involved in, especially on the international scene
with SOMA and ICCOWE and so much more. It has been a massive contribution to the life of God’s
The Revd Richard Kew
Development Director – Ridley Hall, Cambridge where Michael trained for the Anglican
I do remember an occasion in the early 1970s when I was a curate in Bristol, when Michael came to
address the Diocese of Bristol Clergy Conference at Lee Abbey. At the final Eucharist we found
ourselves sitting next to each other and at the peace exchanged an unforgettable hug, which I think
probably took us both by surprise.
He stimulated and challenged the church, taught us to think, believe and pray differently and his life
was an example of someone who followed God’s leading, even when there were twists and turns in
Archimandrite Jacques Khalil, Lebanon
I met Fr Michael for the first time in 1995-6 when I was a student of Theology in Balamand
University, and I felt myself immediately very close to him and his beloved wife, Jeanne, because of
our common love of Christ. I was happy to meet him again in Cambridge and to pay him visits in his
warm and lovely home.
My own memory will always be charmed by his ever young spirit and his blessed soul. May the
memory of our co-servant in the Liturgy, Fr Michael, be eternal.
Zachariah Koshy, leader in the Charismatic Renewal , India
Michael has blessed us as an Apostle of the Lord for most of the 20th century- My….. personal…….
One of the many conferences in India
Albert Laham (a prominent Arab Orthodox layman)
On these days of Pentecost my thoughts go to Fr Michael as he was a promoter of the Charismatic
movement and found in the Orthodox Church what Fr. Sfallassier called "The Church of the Holy
Spirit". This, he found was a church where the Spirit reveals the meaning of the scriptures from
generation to generation, in Holy Tradition leads the church to the whole truth, accomplishes the
sacraments and guides the members of the Holy Christ into newness of life, initiating the process of
their glorification, nay, of the transfiguration of the universe. Had not Fr Michael found these
characteristics in the Orthodox Church and her liturgy, he would never have abandoned the Church
of the land of his fathers- not with joy and thanksgiving- and led the Antiochian Deanery and his
clergy and lay people to the land of Promise- like a new Moses.
I had met Fr Michael in Paris, and since then I've followed his activity as Dean of the Antiochian
communities in the UK and Ireland Deanery, through the Bulletin which he published. And as
promoter of the Orthodox Way course which is now part of the foundation of the Orthodox Institute
I have read two of his books, "Equal and Different" and “The True Light"(‘Faith Fulfilled’). They
reveal a solid theologian versed in the scriptures and the Traditions of the Fathers, aware of the
challenges which the so called "modernity" and "post- modernity" set against the Christian faith- and
eager to bring his contribution to a sound and lucid response to these challenges….
Samir Laham & family
Michael Harper has been, for years, the light of Orthodoxy in the UK and in the world over. I
remember his presence in Syria, his spiritual heart and his dedication to spread Orthodoxy in his
context, as well as his endeavours to promote and develop the Orthodox Institute in Cambridge..
Our church is so greatly privileged to have such a witness amongst people to whom God has almost
become a stranger. His achievements will be for ever in our hearts and souls.
Michael was a particular blessing to me when I started a ministry in Australia back in the 1970s,
similar in some ways to the Fountain Trust, - called The Temple Trust. He was one of the speakers at
our first conference in 1973, as well as ministering at other times in Australia.
Last year I sent him a copy of my wife’s book “Called Together”, and was delighted to receive a
warm response to it.
I am thankful to God that I had the opportunity to meet Michael Harper and be involved with him for
the last few years. He was a remarkable servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I was always blessed
in conversation with him. There was always about him a quiet confidence in the wonderful grace of
Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Father Michael Harper Foundation
The original 'Gang of three'.Fr. Tom is on the right.
Fr Michael Harper Foundation
3 West View, Newnham Croft
Cambridge CB3 9JB, UK
Tel: +44 1223 362933