In Memoriam Fr. Michael Harper

On 9 January I was announcing that Fr. Michael Harper, an Anglican priest and former leader of the charismatic movement, who joined the Antiochian Orthodox Church after the Church of England decided to ordain women, went to be with the Lord.

I had the honour of meeting Fr. Harper, in Cambridge, last year, and I was impressed with his deep and genuine piety, in spite of his obvious frailty.

Here are a few details about him from the memorial page dedicated to him on the website of the Antiochian Church.

It was with sadness that we heard this week of the repose of Fr Michael Harper. A lover of Dorset he, and his wife Jeanne, visited St Edward’s when they were on holiday in the area, and I was glad to find in him a true friend, both to Lesley and me, and to St Edwards. Only two months ago he had resigned as Dean due to continuing ill health.

Fr Michael had had a truly remarkable ministry spanning some fifty years. In the Church of England he was a noted Evangelical, preparing for Ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. Between 1955 and 1964 he served a number of curacies but then, arising from his work with the Fountain Trust he became widely known in international charismatic circles, addressing assemblies of hundreds, even thousands of people. For five years, until 1980, he was Hon. Curate of Holy Trinity Church, Hounslow before moving to Haywards Heath where, in 1984, he became a Canon of Chichester Cathedral.

Almost ten years later, Fr Michael resigned his canonry and from the active ministry of the Church of England as a result of developments in that church, having decided to become Orthodox. He was with the first group of priests to be ordained by the then Bishop Gabriel, although at the time he had no parish. He was appointed Dean, a valuable enabling role within the new Deanery. Fr Michael was the link between the parishes and Bishop Gabriel who, even at that time, was in a poor state of health which prevented him taking a fully active part in the new Orthodox Jurisdiction in England.

Read on…

Note for Romanian readers:

Marturia convertirii Pr Michael Harper, reunita in cartea Lumina cea adevarata. Calatoria unui evanghelic spre Ortodoxie, poate fi citita online AICI.

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Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

6 thoughts on “In Memoriam Fr. Michael Harper”

  1. I never met Fr. Michael, but it sounds like he touched the lives of many and did a lot of good to strengthen the Faith of many and to be a living stone in Christ’s Church.

    May God Bless his soul and may his memory be eternal.

    Gabriel Borlean

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  2. @Danut

    Do you know anyting about “the course “The Way” ” that is mentioned in his eulogy/memoriam ?

    It reminds me of Bishop Kalistos’ book “The Orthodox Way.” The article mentioned that the course is finished with its experimental phase and is ready to be rolled out to all parishes.

    I would like to look at the materials to see if this is something I would like to recommend to my Lutheran Danish friends and their Bible-study groups.

    In Christ!

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    1. Yes, Gabriel,
      I know quite a lot about ‘The Way’, because I have funded, through World Vision, the last stage of work on it. I will talk about it in a separate post that I have postponed for a long time, for lack of time.
      And, yes, the inspiration for the title of this adult Orthodox catechism is Metr. Kallistos’s book The Orthodox Way.
      For those who have not read it, here is the text Gabriel asked about:

      Fr Michael was a keen supporter of Orthodox education at all levels, and was in on the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies at Cambridge from the beginning, ten years ago. He was also an initiator of the course “The Way”, designed to be used in parishes. This has just come out of its experimental phase, and will soon be available to parishes for their use.

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    1. Intr-adevar, a fost un om absolut special. Proiectul ‘The Way’ la care a contribuit in mod decisiv si despre voi scris curind este ceva ce va ii va continua impactul peste timp. In premiera ta anunt (tocmai am aflat si eu in aceasta seara) ca proiectul ‘Calea’ (adaptarea la spatiul ortodox romanesc a acestui catehism entru adulti) a fost aprobata de catre Patriarh. Abia astept sa vad proiectul finalizat si in proces de adaptare. Doamne-ajuta!

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      1. proiectul ‘Calea’ (adaptarea la spatiul ortodox romanesc a acestui catehism entru adulti) a fost aprobata de catre Patriarh.

        Danut, asta-i o veste mare … mai ales stiind cat de incet se misca/schimba lucrurile la ortodoxi etnici.

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