We Remember ... Heroes of the Faith at St. Michael's - Rev Michael Barney
REV MICHAEL BARNEY
23 September 1929 - 5 May 2001
“My dear, don’t mention this to anyone but….” Michael would then tell you a titbit of information which was frequently hilarious, never malicious and often not in the least secret. He was an eccentric, a card, from his astrakhan hat to his polished boots. He was also a fine, on occasion outstanding, preacher, an accomplished musician and a kind dear friend to countless people within his parishes and outside.
Michael was born in Southend on Sea and after National Service, New College Oxford and Chichester Theological College, was ordained Deacon in 1955. He served as Curate at St John’s Hampstead and St Mary Abbot’s Kensington and Priest in Charge at St George’s, Campden Hill before being appointed our Vicar in 1975. He continued as Vicar of St Michael’s until his retirement in 1994.
London and its characters intrigued Michael. In his Kensington days he got into conversation with a Japanese dancer who had nowhere to perform. Generously Michael offered St George’s but could not attend the performance. The few parishioners who did attend were perplexed to see a gilded, almost naked figure, surrounded by flames, dancing on the altar and swinging a censer. Michael was haunted by the fear that the tabloids would print this innocent but sensational story.
Everyone who knew Michael has their favourite memory of him; mine is of his preaching. His sermons were always simply expressed, sometimes deceptively so, and were always to the point. Just when you began to relax he would make a comment which showed what a fine mind and understanding heart lay behind the mild and quiet exterior.