A meditation on this Sunday’s reading (24th May) by Father Michael

John 17 1-11 (The reading for Sunday 24th May 2020)

As you know last Thursday was Ascension Day, the account of which we can read in the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1.

Before our Lord ascended to heaven his apostles, who were gathered together in Jerusalem asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority…’

People are still asking that same question today. Some Christian bookshops are full of novels and theological books and magazines which all seem to be asking, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’

Jesus’ Ascension message seems to suggest that his followers should put aside such political ambitions. Politics changes things. But God transforms things. And God can open our eyes to see the world in new, and liberating ways.

On Ascension Day, the disciples’ minds were transformed – like the couple on the Emmaus road. On the Ascension mountain all the disciples together had their minds opened, at last, to understand the scriptures. Now, at last, they understood who Jesus was, that he was the Christ who suffered and rose from the dead on the third day. So, in John’s gospel reading for today, Jesus could say, thankfully, to the Father, ‘Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.’

And the disciples also understood who they now were, the people who would be his witnesses, preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name. The kingdom of God would come through his followers’ peaceable testimony to the waiting world:
‘…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

So, we need to gratefully grasp the power of the Ascension, because as it transformed the disciples it can transform us too.

We need the power of the Ascension in our church. We are easily discouraged by failure or falling numbers. And sometimes our vision is as low as the pavement. The Ascension encourages us to have confidence not in our church but in Jesus’ Church, not in our faith but in Jesus’ gospel, not in our success but in Jesus’ Ascension.

And just as the disciples knew after our Lord’s ascension who they were and the task that was ahead of them in spreading the good news of the Gospel, so let us also be witness to the kingdom of God in our daily lives. Amen

Psalm 46 Verses 1-3

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth shall change,
Though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea
Though it’s waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

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Trinity Sunday Service 7th June 2020

To celebrate Trinity Sunday there will be a said Eucharistic service at Holy Trinity Funchal starting at 11.00 a.m. Social distancing and other precautions to avoid the spread of the Virus will be observed. Everybody welcome.

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A thought and a prayer for this Sunday (17th May) from Father Michael

A Thought

Many years ago when you were travelling to a foreign country and going through customs, it was common to hear a uniformed officer ask you ‘Have you anything to declare?’ If you said, ‘Yes’, you knew you were in for some questioning! So, many people who actually had some illegal product to declare actually said, ‘No’, to save themselves the trouble. Some got away with it, and some didn’t.

Today I often wonder if the world is unconsciously putting this question to the Christian Church: ‘Have you anything to declare?’ In other words, in the face of all the pain in the world, do we have a strong Word from God to declare, a Word that will make a difference and bring hope to people’s lives? Because a church with ‘nothing to declare’ has no reason to exist, except to be a kind of spiritual country club to its members. A strong church needs a strong message to declare to the world.

This coming Thursday we celebrate Ascension Day and the message of the Ascension, simply put, it is that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and we as his disciples are to go into the world and preach the good news to all creation as per His instruction (Mark chapter 16 verse 15). Note that the instruction is to all creation and a lot of people, including myself, see this command from the Lord very much in an ecological sense. As stewards not owners of God’s creation, Christians have a responsibility to care for and nourish all living things including the plants and trees. Now more than ever the world needs to hear a strong message of love, care and constancy.

Scenic View

A Prayer

Compassionate God, as you know each star you have created,
So you know the secrets of every heart;
In your loving mercy bring to your table all who are fearful and broken,
All who are wounded and needy,
That our hungers may be satisfied in the city of your peace;
Through Christ who is our peace.

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A message from Father Michael for this Sunday’s devotions (26th April)

Mentioned 146 times in Scripture, the number 40 generally symbolises a period of testing and trial and is not accurate in terms of actual duration.

You will no doubt remember that the flood lasted forty days, Moses fled Egypt for forty years, forty days Moses stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the Commandments, our Lord fasted forty days etc.

Theologians suggest that the number forty represents change, it is a time of preparing a person or people to make a fundamental change.

With the Coronavirus we are all, throughout the world, in a period of testing and of change. However, during this time, the rivers are becoming cleaner, vegetation is growing, the air is less polluted and there is less crime in society.

On Wednesday the 22nd April we celebrated Earth Day which is a global event organised every year, when the organisers select a particular theme to attract the attention of the global public. This year the theme was the most challenging environmental issue i.e. Climate Action.

As an aside, a news cast recently announced that drug trafficking in Asia is nearly eradicated because of the restrictions on people movement!
I am not for a moment saying that the current situation is a blessing in disguise, but with all of the news of deaths and isolation, we have to look for positive aspects of our present predicament.

So, during this time, take the opportunity to become closer to your loved ones in which ever way is safe and possible. Family prayer is a blessing, and the knowledge that you are praying for your loved ones and they are praying for you can be a source of great comfort.

May these days of quarantine, (the Latin root of the word is forty) bring spiritual liberation to us, our nation and to the world.

With my prayers and blessings


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A Note from Father Michael for this Sunday’s Devotions

These times are testing physically, mentally and spiritually.

As always we look to the Bible for comfort and reassurance:

Psalm 16

Protect me O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Easter Flower Arrangement

Best wishes,


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A Letter from Father Michael during this period of lock down

The Parsonage, Holy Trinity, Funchal. April 2020

My dear friends,

As you no doubt are aware, we have been on shut down here at Holy Trinity since the 14th March and we are not sure how long the situation will continue. Although we are not conducting services in church please be assured of our regular prayers during this most difficult and testing time.

Like you, I imagine, I am following the guidelines to stay in our homes, wash our hands regularly with hot water and soap and also use the sanitising gel. However, what would all that mean if you did not have a home to stay in, did not have clean water with which to wash and could not afford to buy gel.

Well that is the plight of a lot of the world’s population and as is quite often the case in these global disasters, it is the poor who are the worst affected. I was watching on television recently a news cast about India, Delhi in particular and its population. People from the surrounding countryside came to the city to work to earn money to support their families. With the lockdown in India the work opportunities have dried up and so the people are trying to return to the country to be with their families. This entails travelling on overcrowded buses and going against the advice to prevent the spread of the virus. As one man who was interviewed said, if he stayed in the city without work, he would die from starvation, better to try and return to his family and risk the virus.

I give the foregoing example to illustrate that although these are without doubt the most difficult of times and something few of us have experienced before, none of us reading this letter will probably fall into the category of having no home, clean water etc. Therefore, whilst praying for an end to this pandemic please also do not forget in your prayers to thank God for the many gifts and bounties he has bestowed upon you. At times of crisis, it is sometimes very easy for us to overlook the good things we have in our lives and which we often take for granted.

I would also commend to you the living word of God which is the Bible, which can give us guidance and comfort throughout our lives. At this time, a passage of great reassurance and comfort is from Pauls Letter to the Philippians Chapter 4:-

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

With my love and prayers.


A Prayer

Flowers in window

Keep us, good Lord under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.


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Easter Communion Prayer from Father Michael

Dear Friends of Holy Trinity Funchal,

Father Michael has sent us this prayer to help us in our devotions at this very sacred time of Easter and all that happened to our Lord. We all need to serve our brothers and sisters by prayer and especially between 11.30 a.m. and 12 noon on Easter Day when we remember the power and Glory of God.

This is the prayer:

In union O Lord with the faithful at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is being celebrated, I desire to offer you praise and thanksgiving.

I present to you my soul and body with the earnest wish that I may always be united to you. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.

I unite myself to you and embrace you with heart and mind and soul.

Let nothing ever separate you from me and may I live and die in your love.


We send blessings at Easter.

Father Michael

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For congregation and friends of Holy Trinity Funchal Madeira

When: At 11.30 a.m. every Sunday morning, for half an hour starting 29th March 2020

Where : in our own homes

Why: to come together in Spirit ( not in body!) to bring requests to God and listen to His voice.

How: Just confirm you want to be part of this ( send affirmative to (friendssecretaryhtc(at)outlook.com) and you will the receive urgent requests for prayer to add to your own personal time of prayer.

Who: You and any one else who wants to be involved.

We look forward to hearing from you as we are convinced that praying together(spiritually) will prove to have great results.

Father Michael Jarman; Carolyn Wells, Jean Faulkner

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Announcement – Suspension of all organised, group activities at Holy Trinity Funchal

We regret to announce that it has been decided that for the next thirty days or until further notice all organised group activities in the church, its associated buildings and the grounds are suspended including the Sunday and Wednesday services. However the church remains open to visitors.

Signed Chaplain and Church Wardens.

A prayer at this difficult time:

Keep us good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy

In this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

And lift up all who are brought low;

That we may rejoice in your comfort

Knowing that nothing can separate us from your love

In Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Carnival Dinner – Friday 21st February 2020 at Holy Trinity, Funchal

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