Torchbearers International

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Torchbearers International
Torchbearers International.jpg
FounderMajor W. Ian Thomas
FocusPromoting Christ in You – the hope of glory!
  • Estes Park, Colorado, USA, and with 25 affiliated centres in 20 countries around the world
OriginsCapernwray Missionary Fellowship of Torchbearers, England
Key people
Peter Reid (Director)

Torchbearers International consists of an affiliation of 25 centers around the world.[1] Torchbearers International was founded by evangelist and author Major W. Ian Thomas, in England, in 1947. The headquarters is now at Ravencrest Chalet, Estes Park, Colorado, USA.

Torchbearers International's goal is to provide practical Christian education to develop personal spiritual growth, prepare people for an effective Church life, and teach a working knowledge of the Bible. The organisation works by providing a number of Bible schools and Christian conference centres around the world.[2]

Torchbearers' founder, Major W. Ian Thomas, was an evangelical teacher often identified with the Keswick Convention ministry. The main thrust of their theology is that of the exchanged life or 'Christ in You'.[3]


Central to Torchbearers' theology is the belief that the way in which one lives the Christian life is by quieting or extinguishing the self, and allowing Christ to live his life through you in a very literal way. This is the essential teaching of the Keswick Convention, which Major Thomas had been a featured speaker for. His advocation of Keswick theology earned him the label of a "strict Keswick" by M. James Sawyer Th.M., PhD in his article concerning the Keswick movement.[2] While there is no end to the verbiage and metaphor used to describe this process of Christ living through you (Thomas himself never used the term "extinguish oneself"), Major W. Ian Thomas states it in the following manner in the foreword he wrote for well-known Higher Life proponent Bob George in his Higher-Life opus "Classic Christianity".

There are those who have a life they never live. They have come to Christ and thanked Him only for what He did, but do not live in the power of who He is. Between the Jesus who "was" and the Jesus who "will be" they live in a spiritual vacuum, trying with no little zeal to live for Christ a life that only He can live in and through them, perpetually begging for what in Him they already have! [4]

It is further observed that it is man's consent that is the efficacious will that moves God to accomplish sanctification in the life of the believer:

The One who calls you to a life of righteousness is the One who by our consent lives that life of righteousness through you! [5]


Torchbearers International (initially known as the "Capernwray Missionary Fellowship of Torchbearers"[6]) began in northern England at Capernwray Hall in 1947. It was a God given vision born out of the devastation of World War II when Major Ian Thomas, returning from the war, determined with his wife Joan to open their hearts and doors to European young people. Providing them with lodging and food in a holiday setting, Major also gave insightful teaching from the Bible and soon these guests began to discover the adventure of knowing Jesus Christ personally.

It was the German youth who came in those early years to Capernwray who began calling themselves the “Fackelträger” or “carriers of the torch”, and so the name “Torchbearers” was born. The dynamic reality of the Christian life as a relationship with the indwelling Christ began to rekindle the lives of hundreds from all over Europe as Bible Schools sprang up first in Germany and then Austria. Now the ministry has spread to every continent in 25 different Centres, and thousands of people each year have been changed by the reality that first touched the life of Ian Thomas at the age of 19.

According to Thomas:

"As a young evangelist, my love and enthusiasm for Christ as my Saviour kept me very, very busy until out of sheer frustration, I finally came to the point of quitting. That was the turning point which transformed my Christian life. In my despair I discovered that the Lord Jesus gave Himself FOR me, so that risen from the dead He might give Himself TO me, He who IS the Christian Life.

Instead of pleading for help I began to thank Him for all that He wanted to be, sharing His Life with me every moment of every day. I learned to say “Lord Jesus, I can’t, You never said I could; but You can, and always said You would. That is all I need to know”. From that moment life became the adventure that God always intended it to be. That was the beginning of Torchbearers, and this continues to be the main thrust of our ministry around the world the – Saving Life of Christ.” [7]


The organization maintains 26 locations in 20 different countries worldwide.[8]

Country Location Name Language(s) City/Town Bible School sessions
Albania Crossroads Albanian, English Ersekë, Albania Sep-Dec, Jan-Mar
Australia Capernwray Australia English

Burradoo, NSW, Australia

Sep-Dec, Jan-Jun
Austria Schloss Klaus German Klaus an der Pyhrnbahn, Austria Oct-Mar
Austria Tauernhof English Schladming, Austria Sep-Dec, Apr-Jun
Canada Capernwray Harbor English Thetis Island, BC, Canada Sep-May
Canada Capernwray Quebéc English Chertsey, QC, Canada Sep-Dec, Jan-Apr
Costa Rica Portantorchas English, Spanish San José, Costa Rica Aug-Nov, Feb-May
France Champfleuri French Le Champ près Froges, France Sep-Dec, Jan-Mar
Germany Bodenseehof English Friedrichshafen, Germany Sep-Mar
Germany Klostermüle German Obernhof an der Lahn, Germany Oct-Mar
Greece Kingfisher Project English Magnesia, Greece Sep-Nov, Apr-Jun
India Himalayan Torchbearers English Dehradun, India Oct-Dec, Apr-May
Indonesia Pondok Kepenrey Indonesian Cipanas, Indonesia none (Conferences and Camps)
Japan Yamanakako English Yamanashi, Japan May-Jun
Malaysia Harvest Haven English Perak, Malaysia Apr, May
New Zealand Capernwray NZ English Cambridge, New Zealand Jul-Dec, Jan-Jun
Philippines Torchbearers Philippines Filipino Manila, Philippines none (Conferences)
Romania Purtătorii de Făclie English, Romanian Râsnov, Romania Apr-Jun
Spain Chalet Rio Vida English Campello, Spain Jan-Mar
Sweden Holsby English Holsbybrunn, Sweden Sep-May, Sep-Mar, Apr-May, Jul, Sep-Dec, Jan-Mar
Switzerland Chasa Perspectiva English, German Lavin, Switzerland none (Camps, Retreats, Adventure, and Workshops)
Switzerland Credo English Wilderswil, Switzerland Feb-Mar (3 weeks)
U.S. His Hill English Comfort, TX, USA Sep-May
U.S. Ravencrest Chalet English Estes Park, CO, USA Sep-May
U.S. Timberline Lodge English Winter Park, CO, USA Sep-May
U.K. (England) Capernwray Hall English Carnforth, England Sep-Mar, Apr-Jun


  1. ^ "Centres - Bible School, Conferences".
  2. ^ "Who we are".
  3. ^ Ravencrest Chalet: The Main Thrust Archived 30 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ From the foreword of Classic Christianity by Bob George, Eugene: Harvest House Publishers. ©1989.
  5. ^ The Saving Life of Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House. ©1961
  6. ^ "History".
  7. ^ "Torchbearers History". Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  8. ^ see ref. 1/