Nicky Gumbel

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The Reverend
Nicky Gumbel
Born Nicholas Glyn Paul Gumbel
(1955-04-28) 28 April 1955 (age 61)
London, England
Nationality British
Education Eton College
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Occupation Priest, theologian, author, barrister
Church Church of England
Ordained 1986 (deacon)
1987 (priest)
Congregations served
Holy Trinity Brompton
Offices held
Curate (1986–2005)
Vicar (2005–present)

Nicholas Glyn Paul "Nicky" Gumbel (born 28 April 1955) is an Anglican priest, and author. 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[edit]

Nicky Gumbel was born on 28 April 1955. He is the son of Walter Gumbel, a German Jew[1] from Stuttgart whose licence to practise law in that city was withdrawn in one of the early Nazi purges. Walter Gumbel emigrated to Britain and became a successful barrister. Gumbel's mother, Muriel, 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;[1][2] as per tradition, his BA was later promoted to a Master of Arts (MA (Cantab)) degree.[3]

Legal career[edit]

After graduating from university, Gumbel followed in his father's footsteps and became a practising barrister.[1] Meanwhile, he became a regular worshipper at Holy Trinity Brompton Church, Knightsbridge.[4] In 1982, he announced his decision to leave the bar to train for ordination in the Church of England.

Ordained ministry[edit]

In 1983, Gumbel began theological studies and training for ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.[1] He graduated with BA degree in 1986; as per tradition, his BA was later promoted to a Master of Arts (MA (Oxon)) degree.[3] He was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1986.[3] 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.[1] He was ordained as a priest in 1987.[3] In 1996, the Bishop of London appointed him Alpha Chaplain, though he remained at HTB as a curate.[5]

In 2005, Gumbel was officially installed as Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton Church.[3] The previous vicar, the Reverend Prebendary Sandy Millar, had retired from stipendiary ministry and became an assistant bishop in the Diocese of London.

In 2007, Gumbel was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Gloucestershire (whose chancellor is a former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey) as recognition of his broad contribution to the wider church via Alpha.

Alpha Course[edit]

Main article: Alpha Course

In 1990, Gumbel took over the running of the Alpha Course that had been running there since 1977.[4] 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.[6]

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.

Personal life[edit]

Gumbel is married to Pippa and they have three adult children.[7][citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e Matthew Bell, "Inside the Alpha Course - British Christianity's biggest success story", The Independent, 31 March 2013.
  2. ^ Matthew Bell, "Alpha: The slickest, richest, fastest-growing division of the Church of England", The Spectator, 30 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Nicholas Glyn Paul Gumbel". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 28 January 2016.  (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b Adam Rutherford, Nicky Gumbel interview transcript, The Guardian, 28 August 2009.
  5. ^ Clark, Andrew (September 2005). "Interview: Rev Nicky Gumbel, Alpha Course Chaplain". Christian Today. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  6. ^ Adam Rutherford, "Nicky Gumbel: messiah or Machiavelli?", The Guardian, 28 August 2009.
  7. ^ "Catch me if you can". The Guardian. 2000-10-20. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-01-27. 

External links[edit]