The Rev. Robbie Low
I am so pleased that the interview with Michael was well received. He was a delight to talk to and one
of the easiest church ‘dignitaries’ to interview because he was so ‘straight’ and his love of the Lord
shone through everything. (This interview is featured in Link 12.)
Fr Kilian McDonnell, (Benedictine,) co-Chairman with David Duplessis (white-haired, pictured here,)
of the Roman Catholic/Pentecostal/Anglican Dialogues in Rome.
He was a pioneer and he ploughed new fields. He will be missed also at the international level.
John Middleton - Intercessor for ICCOWE
I remember well how Michael encouraged me to pray and then gave me a wonderful message in
Tongues, which he then interpreted as ‘’Do not struggle; rest in my love’’.
I always admired the clarity of the books that Michael wrote, especially “None Can Guess” and “A
new Way of Living”.
George Mims - Music ministry in the Church of the Redeemer, Houston, featured in Fr Michael’s book
‘A New Way of Living’.
Fr Michael served the Lord and the Body of Christ in a most significant way through personal witness
and through thoughtful teaching. His books have blessed many far and wide. Jeanne’s gift through
music in worship has had a tremendous effect on the worship life of parishes in many parts of the
Rev. Michael Mitton
I will never forget Michael’s kindness to me when I first started with ARM, (Anglican Renewal
Ministries) and recall his taking great care of me when I felt very junior and young at meetings of
international Charismatic stars!
It was always a pleasure to meet Michael, and he was one of the most inspiring men I have known.
We owe an enormous sense of gratitude to the both of you, particularly for your courageous
pioneering ministry in those early years when there was such resistance to the Renewal.
Rev. R. Probart
So we praise the Lord as the “Trumpets are sounding on the other side” and rejoice that He is
unerringly building his Church through us, while Michael watches and prays!
Ian Randall – Cambridge
Fr.Michael’s work, through speaking and writing, within the early Charismatic movement, was an
inspiration to me. He reached out ecumenically in a way which broadened my vision of the kingdom
of God. I recall with thanks the amazing World Conference at Brighton in 1991, when so many from
different countries and different Christian traditions were present: 3,100 leaders all privately invited,
plus a parallel Conference for us British. Then with the move he made to Orthodoxy, I was
encouraged, in what had been my own interest for some years in the riches of the spirituality of that
tradition. I was living and working in Prague when Fr Michael was involved in leading a Charismatic
Conference there, which attracted many Orthodox brothers and sisters, especially from Romania.
Most recently, having moved to Cambridge, I met Fr Michael again, and then saw him once in his last
days, as I am a part-time chaplain at Addenbrookes hospital, where he spent a few days. I thank God
for Fr Michael’s life and ministry.
Mel Robeck - World Pentecostal leader and co-Chairman of the Catholic/Pentecostal
I have fond memories of working with Michael in various places from Brighton to Prague, and others
in between. His contribution to the Charismatic world was enormous at a time when it was much
needed. Little could he have imagined the significance of his work through the years. I especially
remember the dinner we shared, at the home of Fr Ioan Sauca at Bossey, (Switzerland) that one
summer. It was a delightful time.
I still remember how joyful and full of love Michael whenever I saw him was. It was during my
Master’s year in 2001/2 when he never forgot to ask me about the progress of my work and how my
exams went. He has left a mark on me, especially his dedication to the Church and the Orthodox faith,
and the way he never ceased to search,- to be open to new things from the Lord. A true disciple of
Fr Ioan Sauca – Romanian, on the staff of the WCC, Bossey, Switzerland
I have vivid memories of the moments shared with him and of the times we met together with you.
He was a great man of faith, an enthusiastic and committed worker in the vineyard of the Lord.
John Sherrill – noted author with his wife ‘Tib’
What a treasured friend he was, and how you must miss his boldness and commitment while
somehow managing to keep that sense of humour we love.
I and the Swedish Oasis movement, remember you both well, and recognise Fr Michael as a "father"
of the Charismatic Renewal which has been such a blessing to us in Sweden as well as elsewhere.
Ivan Lundgren - Leader of the Charismatic Renewal in Sweden (Oasis)
I first met Michael at the European Charismatic Conference in Guildford in 1971. That led me to take
the initiative at the first Charismatic Conference in Sweden in 1972: Michael won our hearts in
Sweden then and in the years following, with his lovely personality and his rich and joyful spiritual
teaching. He made such a contribution to the development of the Renewal and to the change that
took place ecumenically. I arranged for the translation of his book ‘None can guess’ and several more
of his books were published in Sweden. He showed our church people everywhere that the gifts of
the Holy Spirit were something natural in our own Christian traditions, not only for ‘wild
Pentecostals’. He helped to open doors to a new spiritual era in the Swedish churches.
We owe him a lot and we miss him greatly.
The Rev. Stanley Sjoberg (interpreter for Fr. Michael in Pakistan and elsewhere)
I thank God for the fellowship we had in the past. Your husband was a real man of God and I was
surprised that Hans Weichbrodt will be with you. He is a man of the same Divine call as Michael had
on life. God bless you!
Vinson Synan - Pentecostal leader in the States
He was a great Leader of the Charismatic movement and a very close personal friend indeed. We will
miss him greatly, but his books and radiant personality will be with us forever.
Fr Michael’s presence, influence and spirit have always been a very large in my life. This is a season
when I have reflected on my beginnings in SOMA – I retired from the office of National Director of
SOMA, USA in February this year. I doubt I would have emerged as a confident leader without the
blessing and guidance of Fr Michael. He spread his wings over me!
Fr Michael’s understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and his ability to teach, write and minister
under the anointing of the Holy Spirit brought many into a new release of ministry. He used his
entrepreneurial gifting to found SOMA and the blessings continue to abound in the lives of bishops,
archbishops, clergy and laity of the Church.
The history of Christianity is significantly different because of this Giant – Michael Harper.
Pastor Giovanni Traettino – Pentecostal leader, and pioneer of reconciliation between the
Catholic Church and the Pentecostals in Italy
Michael has been one of the key influences in my walk with the Lord. As a man he will always have a
special place in my heart! I will always remember him as a special friend, a man of deep spirituality,
great heart and mind and unusual courage. A pioneer and bridge builder in many ways, I and my
wife Franca will miss him very much, but we are sure that we will meet him soon in the Presence of
David and Valerie Trentham
I shall always be grateful for the major help and guidance Michael gave in the 1960s/70s in the
heady days of the so-called Charismatic Movement (really a restoration of the true Church). He was
so wise and encouraging, and his infectious sense of humour frequently bubbled up, never allowing
any of us to take ourselves too seriously. (An example of this sense of humour from later years: ‘The
greatest contribution the Orthodox have made to Britain has been to introduce coffee!’ – through the
Greek Orthodox apparently..) You blended together so beautifully in ministry – he with his great
teaching gift and you with your wonderful musical ability. Thank you both so much.
George and Norah Tuck – Fr Michael’s old College friend
I met Michael on my first day at Emmanuel in October 1950. He had come up to read Law. I had
discovered that he and two other Law students enjoyed a hand of bridge, after dinner and before
settling down to our studies. I was already finding my course tough going and had no one to talk to
about it as I was the only Emmanuel College man on the course.
I was also very disconsolate as one of my main reasons for going to Cambridge was to be able to
play Rugby football as I had played for England Schools. I was unable to play as I had broken my
wrist and was in plaster.
Fortunately John Mockford, who had played in the same team, invited me to tea in his rooms on my
first Sunday, also to meet Eldryd Parry and John Church, fellow Christians. John Church, on
discovering that I was on the Philosophy course said to me “The most important and urgent question
that you need to find the answer to, is “Can I know God personally?” I knew at once that I did not
have the answer, so I spent my first weeks going to Cambridge Christian Union (CICCU) Bible
Studies and Sermons and on 10th November invited Jesus to be my Saviour.
On November 11th I was playing bridge with the lawyers and Michael turned to me and said “George,
you seem so relaxed and happy today, something I have never seen in you before. Have you had
some very good news, maybe you have inherited money?” I invited Michael to my room and told him
how my search had been satisfied the evening before.
The Holy Spirit had clearly whetted Michael’s interest and he agreed to come with me to CICCU
events, and together we read through the epistle to the Romans and it was not many weeks later that
Michael accepted Jesus as His Saviour. We both joined the College CICCU group, and went together
on outreach work during our vacations.
I had to leave Ridley Hall towards the end of my first year due to illness and I got a job in a factory in
Stockport. I spent 2 years there and then had a year at the London School of Economics, before
getting further employment in London.
I met up again with Michael, who was then curate in a parish under its vicar, Canon Reg Bazire and
later at All Souls under John Stott. However, it was in the late 50s and early 60s that I shared with
Michael and a small group of others, an urgency to know the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. I
went to some meetings with Michael, led by David du Plessis, the South African Pentecostal leader,
and we both asked for the anointing of oil and laying on of hands for the Baptism of the Spirit.
I owe so much to Michael’s wise counsel in the months and years that followed, and it was at a
reunion at Emmanuel in 1966 that Michael encouraged me to get alone with Jesus and invite Him to
fill me with such love for Him that I had never known. I identified with St Paul, who referred to an
experience of being in the heavenlies. ( 2 Corinthians 12 vs 1-6) I found myself praising the Lord in
song with my spirit, my heart beating so hard it could burst! I believe it was the Lord Who led me to
read Ephesians 4, and the Lord told me that from then on He would use me to work as a ‘joint’ in His
Body, bringing Christians into unity. This has been my commission ever since and led my wife, Norah,
and myself into various ministries that took us beyond the shores of Britain.
Father Gordon and Kh. Mary Sue Walker, USA
Only God knows how Father Michael and your ministry have been in the UK and many other places
around the Globe. I feel certain that the Lord will richly repay him in Heaven and maybe even begin
repaying you while you are still on Earth.
Bishop Michael and Veronica Whinney
Memories flood in as I look back over the past 50 years, especially when the Charismatic Renewal
started in the UK. Michael had a tough time being obedient to the vision the Lord gave him in the face
of serious opposition. He won through and the Lord blessed those early years through his ministry
and with those inspiring and encouraging Renewal leaders’ gatherings at Canterbury, Those days
stand out so clearly in my memory, and with much thanksgiving in my heart. Michael was the Lord’s
man, a prophet, visionary and empowered with God's Spirit to stir and mobilise the Church of God for
witness and service.
Rev.Thomas and Jenny Collett White
Michael meant so much to us; you both did, when I began the journey 44 years ago. We have so
much to thank Michael for, his guidance, his teaching, his writing particularly “Equal and Different" on
the gender issue and his leadership in so many spheres. We thank God for his life and his example of
faith. We were very pleased you were both able to go to our little house in Italy and share that
fabulous place. It’s lovely to know that there is a little bit of Michael there! Both Jennifer and I owe a
lot to you and Michael in the early days of the Charismatic Movement – memories of the Youth House
party at St Mark’s Gillingham, and you led the prayers at our wedding. His book “Equal and
Different” was an important contribution to the debate on the roles of men and women in church and
Rev. Larry Christenson, Lutheran Leader in the Charismatic Renewal (USA)
Michael was one of the giants. The Charismatic movement raised up a worldwide network of
outstanding spiritual leaders. Michael moved among them with uncommon grace and dignity, a Leader
Rev. Graham Cray, Missioner for the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
I remember how Michael invited me to surrender my mind to the Lord and then prophesied that God
would use my mind and that I ‘would touch many lives’. This word has stayed with me all my
ministry, (of 39 years) and has proved to be the most significant prophetic word I have ever received.
The Rt. Rev. Moses Tay, Anglican Bishop of Singapore
I treasure fond memories of fellowship with Michael and Jeanne in the development and ministry of
SOMA over the years and decades. The impact of Michael’s ministry has been global, not excluding
I have had lots of contact with him over the years. He was undoubtedly an apostle, one of the few I
was sure should be described that way, and a great inspiration to my husband, Michael, and myself.
Although we never met, I knew Michael well from his writings when I was a young university student
in the ‘60s and several of his books still grace my bookshelf. I then came across him again when
surfing the internet in 2008 this time in his more recent role as Dean of the Antiochian Deanery and it
was this event that spurred on my subsequent journey homewards to Orthodoxy, a journey which is
still in progress.
I shall always revere Michael, and thank God that by His grace and loving support I was able to view
the Kingdom in all its glory and to take up the homeward path. His memory will be treasured by the
Church for his wonderful ability to speak the truth in love. I am sure there are many people who will
thank him for his witness to the grace of Christ, and to the life of the Church as the Body of Christ.
As I said to him in an earlier note, ‘I really do look forward to hearing from you again, and feeling
your hand of spiritual comfort on my shoulder. Converting to Orthodoxy was never easy! Bless you
for taking that huge step, - and in your sixties!
May his memory always be revered, now that he has moved on into that greater light and joined the
saints in Heaven.
Jon Metes (the Philippines)
I feel honoured to have known Fr. Michael and I cherish the memory of his ministries as far back as
his SOMA days when you both visited Singapore in the ‘80s. From SOMA, an Anglican work, to the
Antiochian Orthodox church – what an amazing step to take, what fantastic achievements! Bravo, Fr
Michael! Surely the Lord has reserved a very special place in his mansions for this very special servant
Very Rev Archpriest Daniel Joseph, speaker at Deanery conference, 2008
Fr Michael was always very kind indeed to me whenever I had the privilege of being in his company.
Fr. Michael radiated peace and holiness. He inspired me to continue my exploration of Orthodoxy.
Rev. Duncan Sladden
Michael was such an encourager. When the history of the church in the 20th century is written, he
will surely be seen as one of the most significant figures, founding the Fountain Trust in the ‘60s and
encouraging Anglican Renewal Ministries, then founding SOMA which owed so much to his original
vision. He also made many friends in the Renewal in Europe with the formation of ECC, (European
Charismatic Consultation.) And then there was ICCOWE..
I well remember how he came and spoke at our first Scotland Renewal Fellowship at Scottish
Churches House. He went out of his way to say how much he enjoyed and appreciated our very
unambitious, but thoughtful magazine ‘the Go-between’.
Meanwhile Michael moved to the Orthodox Church, where he expected to be a layman but was made
Dean of the first British Antiochian Orthodox Deanery. He has been a blessing to the whole world-
wide Church and we thank God for every remembrance of him.
Bishop Martin Breytenback, Diocese of St. Mark, South Africa
As a young ordination candidate I participated in a Day of Renewal at St George’s Cathedral in Cape
Town some time in 1979 or 1980. The Cathedral was packed. The atmosphere was charged partly
with expectation as the Holy Spirit moved amongst us and partly with tension because apartheid was
at its height in those difficult days. I remember Michael sharing a vision he had seen, which he
believed was a picture for South Africa: it was of a rainbow over the land and was to give us hope
Many people responded with anger! How could this man from another part of the world say that
there was hope amidst such a terrible situation in South Africa? Yet the vision remained with me and
I recalled it many times in the following years when I was praying for our country.
Then the miracle happened in the early 1990s and South Africa was transformed, - in no small part
due to the prayers and actions of Christians. Desmond Tutu coined the phrase ‘the rainbow nation’ to
signify the opportunity for a beautiful unity in diversity to come to this land. I realised then that
Michael’s vision of a rainbow had indeed become reality.
God is great! He had been with us throughout the dark times. He is still with us to establish his reign
here on earth.
Michael Bretherton, (prayer group in London)
The reason for writing is in some ways to remind myself of the very deep prayer that took place in my
office prior to the Pre-Lambeth Conference that Michael and his colleagues arranged.
May I fill you in with a little bit more of my background: I had a Pauline type conversion and was
greatly helped by John Collins and Michael at that time. After being married to Jane in 1960 we were
in touch with the Fountain Trust. We felt its work was so important in sharing a new understanding
of the work of the Holy Spirit. We also shared some of the rejection that you went through at that
This may be the reason for Michael contacting me and asking if I knew of a place in central London
where he could pray with various colleagues concerning his vision, and the arrangements for a Pre-
Lambeth Conference in 1978 ( Lambeth conferences took place every ten years, drawing together
Anglican bishops from all over the Anglican Communion). I arranged for the meetings in a small
office by Green Park Tube station.
Michael had arranged to meet for about six months before the actual event so that we could pray into
every aspect of the arrangements concerning this mind-boggling vision that the rest of us had now
bought into. We met once a month. I had very little to do with the actual physical arrangements
which they all beavered away at, enabling the building up of the vision step-by-step into reality.
We prayed with ‘the mind’ of Christ and used both ears to hear the ‘still small voice’. I do remember
that there were many amazing answers to prayer in overcoming some mammoth obstacles.
After that most wonderful and miraculous Event, we met at the office to try and establish the new
Thing which we knew the Conference had given birth to. How should we act now? What should we
call this Vision, now it would surely be actualised into a new type of ministry? In the event SOMA
became its name as many people now know well: Sharing Of Ministries Abroad.
Editor’s note: Michael’s big question was ‘Why should so many, many people in the so-called
‘Developing World’, not be having the kind of ministry we all enjoy in the West, just because they
haven’t the money to pay for things like plane fares?’
Mircea Buta and family, Romania
I am still very overwhelmed by having had the opportunity to meet you today. For me and my wife it
was a very blessed gift from God to be face-to face with someone who wrote the books that I’ve
read and thought about for the past months…it was an enlightenment and a gift for Orthodoxy -
what you have been through and experienced.
I am looking forward to getting back to Romania tomorrow and being able to share with our bishop
and the vicar, my experience in Cambridge. We shall stay in touch so that the people in our Diocese
can have a spiritual Orthodox conference at any stage in Romania.
Thank you for the warmth with which you received us in Cambridge, for your prayers and blessings.
With all the love in Christ,
John and Christine Noble, leaders in the House Church Movement, UK
Here are some anecdotes from how Christine and I started out...I guess it was 1958 or thereabouts,
when Michael was appointed as a curate at All Souls, Langham Place and one of his roles was
Chaplain to London’s Oxford Street stores. The first store he visited, being the nearest to the church,
was Peter Robinson’s in Oxford Circus and at the time I was the chairman of the Christian Union and
therefore the first person he met in that connection. I was a back-slider with a drink problem and a
bit of a rebel full of questions and arguments – not exactly the person Michael was looking for to
support him in his new job! Some time later he lovingly introduced me at a gathering where I was
giving a testimony, as ‘a thorn in the flesh’.
However, he was very patient and took me under his wing along with my new wife, Christine.
Together we were seeking God but were heavily involved in the occult. In their endeavours to help us
Michael and Jeanne invited us to their appartment but were uncertain how to entertain us and make
these two weirdos feel welcome. So Jeanne got on the piano and played songs from Gilbert and
Sullivan while Michael went full throttle into ‘Three Little Maids Are We’! – not what you would call
‘seeker sensitive’ in the light of our background!!
Nevertheless the story has a happy ending! In spite of our very different background and
circumstances, they were a great help to us and we came right through to the Lord and were soon
baptised in the Holy Spirit, - much to Michael’s dismay at the time, he being a ‘good Evangelical’ and
suspicious of these things. You can imagine our joy when Michael too was gloriously filled with the
Spirit of God. He it was who brought us together in a godly unity – to work in many different ways
together over a period of very many years. Editor’s note: John led the National Charismatic leaders’
annual conferences, a key group founded by Michael comprising leaders from all the churches
including Catholics. It is still functioning, to the blessing of many.
Rev. Richard Hay, SOMA
Since I heard the news, I have been remembering – and there is so much to recall, mostly from our
brief time with you in Haywards Heath – a momentous time for you both as you moved towards the
Orthodox Church. Here are some points in random order: your garden – and the pond, - and your
shared pleasure in it – (why does that come first?) – Michael’s fondness for his computer by which
he ’flew’ aircraft across the world – your shared leadership of a gathering at the Diocesan Retreat
house at Morley (you taught us a song based on Isaiah 43). – Michael organising a big service at
Southwark Cathedral, blending tradition and renewal. – Michael and the other SOMA directors having
a tense meeting at Luray, working out the vision of Short Term ministries to needy countries by
church congregations ie. SOMA. Michael developed shingles and proved what he had been told was
correct – that the first words you hear from any doctor in the States is ‘How are you going to pay?’
(Michael recovered quickly!) – having a ‘proper’ Indian curry lunch with Prince Gunaratnam in
Malaysia (so much warmer than the bitter cold of his air-conditioned church building!) – your
hospitality and generosity on many occasions and in many ways. – Your shared delight in the ‘Yes,
Minister’ series and in the Winston Churchill one, too. – Michael painstakingly and prayerfully, putting
SOMA teams together, your shared anguish as we listened to the news about another retreat about
the ordination of women, and in the time to come, as you sought the way ahead. – Michael’s gentle
support of my continued progress towards Anglican theological college, - more recently, Michael
continuing to pour wisdom into ICCOWE Trustee meetings. – you both telling us about the Great
Storm which put a tree across your driveway and amazing photos into your camera!
And so much more….
Rev. Michael Cooper, Intercession SOMA network
Having met Michael and Jeanne a number of times in the 1980s, my wife, Lesley and I accepted their
invitation to lead a SOMA TEAM to the Kwara Diocese in Nigeria, in 1991. As the date drew nearer I
got more and more nervous and unsure that I could do it. I wasn’t the right person, someone with
more faith, more knowledge of the Lord, more experience of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, but
definitely not me.
We were due to attend an ICCOWE event that summer and knowing there would be an opportunity
to speak to Michael and Jeanne, I determined to tell them I was quite the wrong person to lead a
SOMA team and would quit. They would have no trouble finding someone far more gifted, far better
qualified and altogether a better team leader.
The opportunity came at a coffee break. Michael was engaged in conversation with someone so I
tagged on behind, my little speech of resignation well rehearsed.
The other person left and Michael turned round, saw me and before I could open my mouth, said,
‘Ah, Michael, I’m so glad you are going to Kwara, you are just the right person for that team.’ That
was it. Resignation speech in tatters, no way out now!
We went to Nigeria, the visit was a great blessing both to them and to us. The team experienced the
Lord and His abundant provision every day of the visit and it marked for Lesley and me the beginning
of a long and cherished association with SOMA. All because Michael Harper was far more in tune with
the Lord than ever I was or would probably ever be.
Olaf from Germany
On our various meetings with Michael on the ECC and ICCOWE Boards, I will always remember
Michael’s fatherly love and compassion, his prayers, his pioneer work – and also his sense of humour:
One anecdote I can never forget is: Once at Michael’s home in Cambridge, he had dinner, a good chat
and showed us his chapel, we watched a good soccer game and also one of his favourite TV shows
called ‘Dad’s army’. He hesitated a little to show us his most favourite programme, when they capture
the crew of a German U-boat, because he was concerned if we would be offended because the
Germans were made fun of, but we laughed our heads off and had a great time (and we were proud
to translate one German part of the dialogue that in the programme had not been translated into
English.) The only thing we were a little puzzled about was the fact that those German soldiers all had
a strong Czech accent.
There's nothing like a good laugh. M. and J. on a camping holiday
...or a good swing...
And another anecdote: When we used to speak about the different mentalities of the European
nations, we came across one of our common favourite movies: ‘Those magnificent men in their flying
machines.’ The German officer, von Holstein is unable to fly a plane but learns it from the book of
instructions – ( like every good German soldier! ) He also learns how to blow the trumpet signals
without any instrument – just with the mouth. So Michael and I would often greet one another by
doing just that!! I will miss him.
Rev Vernon Stoop, Exec. Director, Focus Renewal Ministries in the United Church of Christ
in the USA
In the realm of Charismatic Renewal many persons have crossed my path. The listing of them is like
an honour roll of persons instrumental in phases of God’s revelation of the Holy Spirit in the Body of
In that listing the name Michael Harper stands out in ecumenical circles. My personal acquaintance
with him was by means of the North American Renewal Service Committee and the Charismatic
Leaders Fellowship. He was a valuable and contributing member of the mosaic tapestry which was
and is the Holy Sprit empowered portion of the Body of Christ. Surely he has now joined the saints in
glory who continue in praise of God for ever, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Rev Stephen Trott, (‘Forward in Faith’)
Michael was both kindness and inspiration personified and I shall greatly miss him.
Godfrey and Frances Armitage, Haywards Heath, Sussex. (‘Fran’ was secretary to
ICCOWE, now called simply ICC)
When Godfrey and I were post-graduate students in Vancouver in the early 1970s, Godfrey received
from his father a small book called ‘Power for the Body of Christ’ which he had bought after hearing
Michael speak at his church in Shrewsbury. (It had the picture of a rocket on the front!) This book
proved to be of immense significance for us at the time: together with encounters with many people
experiencing renewal of their Christian faith through the ‘Baptism in the Holy Spirit’. Indeed the book
proved to be life-changing.
Many years later, at the village church which we were attending in Sussex, England, we were
surprised to find Michael and Jeanne sitting in the congregation one day, and then delighted as they
joined our church fellowship for a number of years – in fact until they made the decision to join the
Antiochian Orthodox Church in 1995. Michael was then running SOMA and Godfrey went on two
SOMA missions to Zambia, as a direct result of the friendship with Michael and Jeanne in our parish.
In 1990, when our youngest son started school, Michael asked me if I would be willing to help part-
time with the administration of a large Conference he was planning for Brighton the following year.
This fitted well with my family arrangements and so I agreed. So started my long association with
what is now ICC. And I helped with Brighton ’91, then conferences in Malaysia 1994, in Prague 1997
and 2000, when Michael handed over the chairmanship of ICC to Charles Whitehead.
Working for Michael was a delight and there was always the perception that we were about God’s
business and therefore dependent on Him for all the planning, correspondence and negotiation that
had to be undertaken.
The two people principally responsible for leading me home to Orthodoxy are Metropolitan Kallistos
and Fr. Michael Harper, the former through his book ‘The Orthodox church, which I came across over
forty years ago.
Fr Michael is different; I first knew him through his writings as a curate at All Souls, Langham Place,
London, when I was a student at York in the mid ‘60s. Brought up as a son of the vicarage, I
experienced a personal conversion to Jesus Christ in my first year at university through the
intercession of an evangelical friend, and found great spiritual sustenance in Fr. Michael’s books, both
as an evangelical Anglican and as a Charismatic; I still have several of his books on my bookshelf.
However, it was the second encounter with him which has had the greater impact on my spiritual
journey. Having been out of touch with public worship for many years, I had become a member of
my local Methodist church in recent times, but felt that I had only found a temporary resting place,
and was awaiting God’s leading me to the next stage. Then I came across the name of Michael Harper
one day when I was surfing the internet, and found that the person in question was the dean of the
new Antiochian Deanery in Britain.
I wrote in my journal:
However, I now came across the name of Michael Harper, someone I’d known and read as an
Anglican evangelical clergyman and Charismatic when I was a student, but who now appeared to be
an Orthodox priest and the Dean of the new Antiochian Orthodox Deanery in Britain and Ireland.
Could this possibly the same person? How could someone so strongly and demonstrably a child of the
Protestant Reformation have crossed the ecclesiastical spectrum and emerged as a priest of the
original Catholic Church? The mind boggled. However, when I searched further, it became quite clear
that this was indeed the same person.
‘The experience was like being plugged into the main; I shot up in excitement, my spiritual nerve
endings were tingling, and life has never been the same since. I trawled further and discovered the
story of the great and wonderful movement of thousands of North American evangelicals to the
Orthodox Church in the 1980s, and the subsequent similar move by many Anglicans and others in this
country in the 1990s. Life is now a feverish round of learning, and my laptop is filling up rapidly with
the constant downloading of Orthodox material from any source I can find it.’
I contacted Fr. Michael by e mail, and had several exchanges with him over the following months. His
joy and delight on hearing from me was unbounded and touched me deeply. Although we never had
time to develop a deep relationship, I’m sure that his prayers were of great assistance and comfort to
me, as I explored the riches of the Orthodox Church. Although I have yet to be chrismated, I am well
on my way ‘home’ through his intercessions, and I shall celebrate his love on the day of my reception.
I shall always be grateful to Fr. Michael for his interventions in my life, led by the Spirit of God, and
may he now rest in that heavenly joy and peace we are all promised in the everlasting arms of love of
our Heavenly Father. To him be all praise and glory forever!
Sir Tom Lees – Post Green
I saw Michael’s obituary in the Times and I found myself being reminded of so much we have to
thank God for in Michael’s and your lives and in Faith’s and my relationship with you. I remember
early Fountain Trust conferences and your own sensitive and inspiring music ministry. I remember
your first visit to Post Green when Edgar Trout summoned us together. I remember so many life-
changing conferences, I know we owe you both so much for your courage and leadership and
especially for making the Christian life such an exciting and fulfilling experience to so many, many
Prof. Simon Chan, Trinity Theological College Singapore
I have always had the highest regard for Michael. It was only some months before his final
homecoming that we caught up again with one another. He was so generous to me with his articles. I
will always treasure them.
Another photo from the Far East
Father Michael’s own personal memory - An address given in St Andrew’s Church,
Ashburton, Devon, on 8th June 2003 – Pentecost Sunday:
The Holy Spirit – the “Discomforter”
By Rev Michael Harper
When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who comes
from the Father, He will testify on My behalf.
John 15:26 NRSV
A number of us have come to this Church this morning as part of a Reunion of the men who lived in
this town some sixty years ago, in the Golden Lion Hotel. We were the boarders of St Faith’s School,
Cambridge, evacuated during World War 2.
We all remember the weekly ritual of the handing out of two pennies to each of us for the collection
before the line of boys left the hotel for the walk to Church. I suppose we contributed about 3/- a
We have come together on Pentecost Sunday, and our text refers to the Holy Spirit as the
“Advocate”. Sixty years ago, the word would have been “Comforter”, the translation from the
original Greek in the King James Bible. William Temple, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury for
most of our time in Ashburton, in his famous book Readings in St John’s Gospel uses the word
“Comforter” in his comments, because it was the word universally used, before the advent of our
many modern translations.
So the work of the Holy Spirit was then understood almost solely in terms of – help in times of
trouble, comfort in pain – the proverbial pat on the shoulder. No doubt true, but restricting the
action of the Spirit to only one function.
In the last few days we have been commemorating the 59th anniversary of the Allied landings in
Normandy. As boys we remember watching the procession of military hardware, a continuous flow
night and day, moving to the embarkation points in the West Country along the Ashburton by-pass
for the invasion. One of the first banner headlines 59 years ago announced the liberation of the first
town in France – Bayeux.
As boys, if we remembered nothing else, we knew about the Battle of Hastings in 1066. In the town
of Bayeux there is a world famous tapestry which amongst other things depicts the Battle of
Hastings. In those days Bishops were known to ride out with the armies, and you can see in the
tapestry a certain Bishop Odo on his horse. Underneath are written the words in Latin, “Bishop Odo
comforts his troops”. So what is he doing? Putting his arms around the wounded? Giving the last
rites to the dying? Encouraging those who can’t find weapons of mass destruction? Not a bit of
it! He is holding a spear in his hand, and very much discomforting those who are thinking of getting
the next boat back to Normandy!
The day of Pentecost, which we commemorate today was nothing to do with the old fashioned idea
of “comfort”, but the original Latin meaning of the word, to encourage into action. The Holy Spirit
does not come to succour the lazy and self-indulgent, but to get us out of our indolence into action
The Greek word is Paraclesis, which literally means, one called alongside. Yes, the Holy Spirit does
come alongside as “Comforter”, but also as “Advocate”, the Revised Standard Version translation –
one who comes to us in a legal court to defend us and plead our case. Another translation is
“Counsellor” which has many modern resonances. Whatever the need is, the Holy Spirit is there to
In this text, the Holy Spirit is also described by Jesus Christ as “the Spirit of Truth”. He has nothing
to do with “spin”. He leads us into all truth – about God, about ourselves, yes, and about political,
social and economic questions.
During the Reunion we have recalled many aspects of our lives together in Ashburton during those
turbulent years with the world at war. But a number of men have said to me, “I can’t remember a
single sermon”. I have to admit I can’t either, although I must have heard close to two hundred
during those years. But there was one, although I can’t remember its contents, which radically
affected me. I don’t remember the name of the preacher or anything about his sermon, but it did
have a deep impact on me. As the crocodile procession moved two by two up East Street back to the
Golden Lion, it was seldom silent. Having been quiet for over an hour, our conversation was usually
But I was strangely silent. My companion noticed this, and asked me why? (“A penny for your
thoughts, or even twopence!”) It is most strange, but I remember that moment to this day and the
words I said, “I know I am going to be a parson”.
I did not suddenly become “religious”, and I would say if anything the curve of my religious
devotions went downwards from that moment until years later. But clearly God had spoken to me
here in St Andrew’s.
My experience is that God never shouts at us; His is usually the “still small voice”, which is why we
have to listen so carefully. But I know that God speaks, for He is the Spirit of Truth. I also know
that the most important moments in life are often when the Spirit “discomforts” us.
Father Michael Harper Foundation
Teaching at a beach mission, Worthing (1966)
At a Cambridge wedding
Kilian McDonnell and David Duplessis,to the lady's left, front row
Fr Michael Harper Foundation
3 West View, Newnham Croft
Cambridge CB3 9JB, UK
Tel: +44 1223 362933