Holy Trinity Church, A message from the Chaplain – SUMMER 2012

The Shocking fires

All of us have been deeply shocked by the terrible fires which have engulfed Palheiro, Sao Gonçalo and Gaula. It is impossible to understand why people should want to cause such misery and destruction.

Fortunately for us, no one connected with Holy Trinity was injured, or suffered the loss of their homes, though for Peter Pearn, Adam, Christina and Christopher Blandy, and for Kate, Martin and Sam Gannon, and Cefyn and Ruben it was a very close run thing. To have been caught up in such an awful experience is terrible, and our very best wishes go out to them.

However, other people have lost everything and it is incredible that no one, as far as we know, was killed or seriously injured. It will be to help these people, many of whom have no insurance, that our Advent and Christmas appeal will be directed. As with the flood disaster, when Holy Trinity raised €12,000, we shall work very closely with the local authorities to see where, whatever we raise, can be used best.

If you would like to make a donation towards this fund please pass it on to me, and I will see that it is placed under our earmarked funds, to be used only for this purpose.

 A new logo for Holy Trinity

The idea of the Trinity, that is, that we experience God as the Father Creator, as the Spirit Animator and as Jesus our Saviour, has been fundamental to our Christian faith. It isn’t easy to define the doctrine exactly but it does describe what we experience.

For the first three centuries of the Christian era it was largely taken for granted, but in the early years of the fourth century, a priest called Arius began to question this idea. In particular he believed that Jesus was inferior to God the Father. This caused a lot of controversy; and people who held the orthodox view, that Jesus was fully human, and at the same time fully divine, asserted that this undermined the faith. If Jesus was not truly God, how could his self sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection, make any difference to us? It was because he was God and took on, and overcame all the awfulness of sin and death, that we can rejoice in his victory. They pointed to the first verses of John’s Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, (Jesus) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” They also pointed to Jesus’ own words to Philip “I and the Father are One.” And the many times he used, for himself, the name God used when he spoke from the bush to Moses, “I AM”.

To settle the matter Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, called a general council of Bishops from all over the Christian world to meet at Nicaea. After a long debate they produced a statement of belief that we call the Nicene Creed, the statement of belief that we use every Sunday. Here Jesus is described as, “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father.”

People wanted a symbol to describe visually what had been decided in words. Various symbols were used. Some very simple, like the circle and the triangle, some much more complicated. Here are some of them.


(St Patrick in particular liked the Trefoil shape, it reminded him of the clover leaf, that he saw so often  around  him  in  Ireland).  It  became  a  favourite   shape   for Medieval Christian architects designing windows, The most popular, which seemed best to express the idea of the three in one, was the shape known as the Triquetra, three interwoven circles, which was often depicted with just the interwoven parts of the circles.

This is the symbol arranged as a cross, chosen by the Council as the new Logo for Holy Trinity Church.


The old Logo was designed at a time when there was much unease in the Chaplaincy, the  symbolism  then of the empty Cross and the risen Christ  was  a  powerful  representation  of hope.

I was a little uneasy with it, because it  seemed  to me that it might confuse two images and ideas, the crucifixion and the Trinity. I don’t think the  powerful  image   of the three  crosses  against   the sky, so evocative  of  the  sacrifice  of  Christ,  should  be  confused  with  the doctrine of the Trinity.




If you missed our Flower festival in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee, you missed a real treat, the displays were amazing. The whole team of arrangers, fundraisers, stewards and the givers of flowers truly out did themselves to produce a most successful event.

When the idea of a Flower festival was first put forward by Val Thwaites, I was sceptical that it would be effective as a fund raising event. I thought certainly that we had the talent, but wondered if enough people would actually come.

What impressed me from the start was the enthusiasm and efforts of the team, of Val, Carolyn, Kate Gannon and the other ladies. They set to with a will, which was wonderful; ably supported by the people supplying flowers, Christiana and Val Blandy, Mary Dias and Betty Garton, in particular. I suppose I should have been less surprised by this.

Several other things struck me as well. First the effort to raise the money needed to pay for the event before it actually started. The lunch for Johanna, the film night, collections etc. arranged by Val, raised €1300. In fact there was money in hand before the event started. The second thing that struck me was the incredible creativity of the planners. I don’t know who came up with what, but the displays on the “Wedding”, “garden parties”, “horse racing”, the “Royal British Legion”, the “Royal Yacht”, “Time” in the Lady Chapel, and the “Commonwealth” in the Baptistery with the meticulously cut out flags, not to mention the “Titanic” on the 100th anniversary of the disaster, (in which three Madeirans died), were incredible. Even I helped with the flower arranging (with somewhat limited success). The third thing I want to comment on was the camaraderie of the arrangers on the arranging day, and it was a fitting end that we finished with a magnum of Champagne. It was one of the happiest events that I have taken part in, since I have been working here. And they want to do it again! There are already ideas about involving local schools, on the theme of Evolution and Creation.

To crown it all it was a great financial success, we have raised on this event alone, very nearly €3000 if we include the money raised from refreshments. The members of the electoral roll do not provide anything like enough money to keep this church running; we continue to rely on tourists and fund raising events. There will be no place of prayer unless there is enough money to support it. Several things help to keep this church afloat, “The Friends”, started by Bill, continued by me until it was taken over by Val, covers half the deficit left by weekly collections, concerts, coffee mornings and the stall. The new initiative by Ron Cameron to get tax back on the donations of British visitors, has been a great success which we hope this year will go a long way to plugging the rest of the gap. However we still have to have fund raising events like this one. They will ensure that we are financially secure for this year; no mean feat in the present financial conditions. I salute those who have made this possible.

There are lessons to learn. This is the first time we have attempted an event like this and there were bound to be things that we could have done better. We had hoped that there could be defined “quiet area” for private prayer, during the festival, with a sign outside indicating this. On reflection I think it was unrealistic to believe that there ever could have been such a delineated separate area. When this is done next year as I hope, we will have to decide beforehand a particular place and keep displays away from it, the space would be there like this year, but in a church like ours it could never be quiet and it would not be private. Or perhaps we could create a prayer space in one of the rooms upstairs, but access would then be a problem. It is not easy to think of a way around this.

Despite this we can certainly pat ourselves on the back for a great success and congratulate all those people who helped to make it possible. The four arrangements pictured here are, in order, the “Titanic”, “Royal  Garden parties”, the “Common Wealth” and the “Risen Christ”.

 While we are on the subject of flowers…..

Carolyn Wells has approached me to  ask  if  anyone would like to join the   group   of  Church  flower arrangers?     All  you  need  is  a pair  of Scissors,  enthusiasm,  and   team  spirit!    She  is  going  to  run flower arranging  work  shops   to  start  in  September  on  Saturdays   the  8th and   the   22nd   at   10,30am.     For   more   information    please   ring Caroline on 291 765 442, or me on 291 220 674.

Inclusive Church

Over the past year the Council have undertaken quite  a  lot of training and thinking about the way we work. One of the outcomes is  to adopt “An Inclusive  Church Policy”  which    involved    changing   slightly  the Mission  Statement  of  the Chaplaincy,   a  copy  of  which follows   this item), and  thinking  about  all  the  ways  that   we  can  make sure that people of all backgrounds, nationalities, states of health, life styles, and religious  observance and denomination  can  find a  place with us.  The basic  question  is, how open are we as a group.? Of course  quite  a  lot of  thinking   on  these   lines   had   gone   on   before,  for instance into the  planning   of   the   Parish  Centre  to  make sure it was wheel  chair friendly, buying  ramps  for the front steps, and so on.The M I C C,   Madeiran   International   Christian  Community,  is a  free Evangelical  Church  which  caters  for  English  speaking  residents  and visitors,  is  closing  down  and  it has been suggested that we arrange a Service at Holy Trinity for these Christians. Unfortunately I have had no experience with this type of worship!  Mike Duckett, whose wife was a member, and who does have this experience,  is only  here  for  part  of the  year.   It   may  be  however  that  God  is  calling   us   to   this  new ministry…..  There are practical difficulties as well; at what time should it be on a Sunday? Mornings are already crowded and there are concerts in the evenings. We shall be discussing these plans at the next Council Meeting. Please remember this in your prayers.

 Our Mission Statement

Holy Trinity Church exists to share the love of God in Christ Jesus with all  people  through  its  Welcome,  Worship,  Witness  and  Works  of Service. We recognise and value, the worth and dignity of all people.

Andrew Mumford

As you may know Andrew Mumford, who is a Methodist Local Preacher and is authorised to act as a Lay Minister at Holy Trinity, has been accepted by the Methodist Church for preparation for the ordained ministry.  He will  begin  his  training at Wesley College,  Cambridge this Autumn and will be leaving Madeira in September. We shall be having  a farewell lunch for him on Thursday 6th of September when we will  be  making a presentation to Andrew,  if  you would  like to make a contribution please speak to me or Ed Barrow. (see church website for full contact details: http://www.holytrinity-madeira.org

  And finally!  Holy Trinity Film Club.

Film  nights   begin   again   in   August.   This season   we   want  to  broaden  the   format slightly. Some  films   are  worth seeing,   but  may  not  be  suitable for a large audience, in which case  they   could   be  seen in   private   houses   or  the  Parsonage in addition to the usual  monthly film nights.  We would also   like  to  encourage  people to  choose  (and     perhaps introduce),  films  they  have  particularly enjoyed.  The next  film night will  be     on Friday, August 24th  at  7.00pm  and  will be, “Tea  with  Mussolini”,  where  a   group,         of determined  expatriate, art  loving  ladies   in Florence,  take on the might  of  the German  Army of  occupation.    Staring Cher,   Maggie Smith, Judy Dench, Lily Tomlin and Joan Plowright.   If  you   would   like  to  book a place,  please  let  Neil  know.  10€ plus wine.


About holytrinitychurch

This is the official blog site for the Anglican Church of The Holy Trinity, and the historic British Cemetery situated in the heart of the city of Funchal, on the glorious, Portuguese island of Madeira. It is hoped that this blog will encourage dialogue, however, comments deemed to be blasphemous, offensive or personal will not be published.
This entry was posted in Events. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s