Anglican curate and Alpha Course pioneer Nicky Gumbel steps down as curate of Holy Trinity Brompton, the largest congregation in the Church of England.
“We’ve been here 46 years, since 1976, and we love you all,” he said. said Sunday at the 4,000-member congregation in central London. “I believe the best is yet to come – for you, for the church, for all of us.” Gumbel has been curate of Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) since 2005, and before that he was one of several vicars, or associate ministers, at the multi-site church.
Reverend Archie Coates, alongside his wife, Sam, will take on the role of curate of HTB, according to a announcement of the Diocese of London, which includes more than 500 congregations. “Everyone involved in the decision – be it churchwardens, bosses or the bishop – was unanimous that God was calling (the Coates),” Gumbel said.
Gumbel, a former lawyer known worldwide for having pioneered the Alpha course, will continue to lead the para-ecclesiastical ministry of Alpha based in the UK. A Cambridge and Oxford graduate, he is the lead presenter of the 15-session Alpha video course known for his conversational style and concise logic.
According to the statistics cited by the Church of England, the Alpha Course “now takes place in over 30,000 churches of all denominations, including Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and Pentecostal”. It has been translated into 112 languages and used in 169 countries.
Donate $25 or more to The Roys Report this month and you’ll receive a copy of “Ecclesiastes and the Search for Meaning in an Upside-Down World” by Russell L. Meek. to donate, click here.
In his final sermon as vicar, Gumbel said he and his wife, Pippa, will work to resource the 127 congregations that HTB has planted. “We will be working for Archie and Sam (to) encourage all the plants that have come out of here, many of which we have never visited.”
The official presentation of the Gumbels to Reverend Coates will take place next weekend at To concentratean annual conference of HTB and its network of churches, to which more than 10,000 people are expected.
In praise of the integrity and doctrinal focus of the couple
Many evangelical leaders expressed their love of the Gumbels and affirmation of their ministry.
Pete Greig, pastor of Emmaus Rd church near London, who served as Alpha’s UK prayer director for several years, shared a Facebook post. “Nicky and Pippa have served the Lord faithfully, with integrity, without a hint of scandal, with extraordinary efficiency and kindness for nearly fifty years,” he wrote.
He mentioned several statistics, including Gumbel’s nearly five decades “following Jesus” and the couple’s 44 years of marriage. Greig said Gumbel for 32 years “quietly ran his own little Alpha group each week, while transforming the course into a worldwide resource that introduced literally millions of people to Jesus, and also became a major catalyst for the Christian unity”.
Similarly, Bible teacher Christy Wimber, daughter of Vineyard movement precursor John Wimber, tweeted directly to the Gumbels, “You have modeled longevity in faithful ministry so well. Another reminder, it’s not how you start but how you end. Your love for the lost has changed countless lives.
I am grateful for the life and ministry of @pippagumbel @nickygumbel You have modeled longevity in faithful ministry so well. Another reminder, it’s not how we start but how we end. Your love for the lost has changed countless lives. We thank God for you! @HTBCChurch
— Christy Wimber (@ChristyWimber) July 21, 2022
Associated with the worldwide Methodist movement for decades, Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, DC, wrote about Gumbel’s “powerful impact on American Christianity” through the Alpha Ministry.
Tooley said American evangelical churches “tend to be more experiential and practical than doctrinal,” and Alpha helped fill those gaps. “Gumbel’s work through Alpha has provided a helpful fix whose consequences are immeasurable,” he said over email.
In his sermon, Gumbel noted that two former vicars of Holy Trinity Brompton are still alive. John Collins, who retired in 1985, is currently 97 years old. And Gumbel’s immediate predecessor, Sandy Miller, is currently 82 years old. “It’s good to be a vicar of HTB – they live long!” Gumbel joked.
He made a broader point by quoting Acts 20:28, which reads: “Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to take care of the Church of God, which he obtained by his own blood. »
“It’s not our church. It’s God’s church,” Gumbel preached. “And that’s how Paul describes it here: ‘God’s church.’”
During the service, HTB Churchwarden Genevieve Mensah spoke of the kindness and generosity of the Gumbels as she led the congregation in prayer for them.
“We are grateful, Lord, that they were part of HTB,” Mensah prayed. “Thank you for bringing so many people to you, Lord, that their lives point to Jesus.”
Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writing on faith, culture and public policy for several media electrical outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, DC area with their two children.