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Nicholas Glyn Paul Gumbel
28 April 1955
|Occupation||Priest, author, barrister|
Pippa (m. 1978)
|Church||Church of England|
Nicholas Glyn Paul Gumbel (born 1955), known as Nicky Gumbel, is an Anglican priest and author in the evangelical and charismatic traditions. He is known as the developer of the Alpha Course, a basic introduction to Christianity supported by churches of many Christian traditions. Since 2005, he has been Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton in the Diocese of London, Church of England.
Early life and career
Nicky Gumbel was born on 28 April 1955 in London, England. He is the son of Walter Gumbel, a German secular Jew from Stuttgart whose licence to practise law in that city was withdrawn in one of the early Nazi purges. Walter Gumbel migrated to Britain and became a successful barrister. Gumbel's mother, Muriel, was a barrister and nominal Christian who served on the Greater London Council for many years between 1967 and 1986 and was Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Gumbel was educated at Eton College. He studied law at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1976; as per tradition, his BA degree was later promoted to a Master of Arts (MA) degree. He converted to Christianity while attending university in 1974. After graduating from university, Gumbel followed in his father's footsteps and became a practising barrister. Meanwhile, he became a regular worshipper at Holy Trinity Brompton Church, Knightsbridge. In January 1978 Gumbel married Pippa at the church, with whom he would go on to have three children.
In 1982 Gumbel announced his decision to leave the bar to train for ordination in the Church of England. In 1983 he began theological studies and training for ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He graduated with a BA degree in 1986; as per tradition, his BA degree was later promoted to an MA degree.
Gumbel was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1986. After some difficulty in finding a curacy, he joined the staff of his "home" church of Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) in the Diocese of London. He was ordained as a priest in 1987. In 1996, the Bishop of London appointed him Alpha Chaplain, though he remained at HTB as a curate. In 2005, Gumbel was officially installed as Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton Church. The previous vicar, Sandy Millar, had retired from stipendiary ministry and became an assistant bishop in the Diocese of London.
In 1990, Gumbel took over the running of the Alpha Course that had been running there since 1977. The course was transformed under his leadership from being one designed for new Christians to one primarily for those outside the church who would not consider themselves as Christians. Gumbel serves as the public face of the course, being described by James Heard as something of a "Weberian charismatic leader".
Gumbel is the author of a number of books related to the Alpha Course, including Questions of Life which has sold over 1,000,000 copies. Voted "Christian Book of the Year" in 1994, it has been published in 48 languages. Other related books include Why Jesus, Searching Issues, Telling Others, A Life Worth Living, Challenging Lifestyle, Heart of Revival, and 30 Days.
- Old, Hughes Oliphant (2010). The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church. 7. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 487. ISBN 978-0-8028-1771-6.
- Cross, Anthony R. (2013). Recovering the Evangelical Sacrament: Baptisma Semper Reformandum. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-62032-809-5.
- Bell, Matthew (31 March 2013). "Inside the Alpha Course – British Christianity's Biggest Success Story". The Independent. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- Heard, James (2012). Inside Alpha: Explorations in Evangelism. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-60899-450-2.
- Bell, Matthew (30 November 2013). "Alpha: The Slickest, Richest, Fastest-Growing Division of the Church of England". The Spectator. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "Nicholas Glyn Paul Gumbel". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
- Gumbel, Nicky (28 August 2009). "Nicky Gumbel Interview Transcript". The Guardian. Interviewed by Rutherford, Adam. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- Aitken, Jonathan (2006). Heroes and Contemporaries. London: Continuum. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-8264-7833-7.
- Ronson, Jon (21 October 2000). "Catch Me If You Can". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- Gumbel, Nicky (21 September 2005). "Interview: Rev Nicky Gumbel, Alpha Course Chaplain". Christian Today. Interviewed by Clark, Andrew. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- Heard, James (2012). Inside Alpha: Explorations in Evangelism. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-60899-450-2.