Nicky Gumbel is Vicar of HTB, the largest Anglican church in Britain with a regular attendance of around 4,000 people – most aged between 18 and 35.
He is the pioneer of the Alpha Course, a 15-session introduction to the Christian faith now running all over the world.
After attending Hill House and Eton College, he read law at Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1973-1975 (M.A. Cantab) and practised as a barrister from 1977-1983.
In 1983, he went to Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, to read theology (M.A. Oxon) and train for ordination in the Church of England.
In December 2007, Nicky received an Honorary Doctorate for his contribution to church life from the University of Gloucester.
THE ALPHA COURSE
He joined HTB as curate to Sandy Millar in 1986, where he took over the running of HTB's Alpha Course and promoted the course as one primarily for non-churchgoers. It became increasingly popular, attracting hundreds of young people who had previously had no interest in Christianity.
Since 1993, more than 19 million people have completed the Alpha course in 169 countries around the world. There are over 9,000 courses running in the UK and over 60,000 world-wide in all denominations.
It has been particularly supported by the Roman Catholic Church where senior archbishops and bishops recommend it to their clergy. It is now also beginning to grow in Orthodox churches in Russia, Greece and North Africa.
In 2005 Nicky became Vicar of HTB in succession to Bishop Sandy Millar.
A wide diversity of Christian work is now running from HTB including:
- Prison / Caring for Ex-Offenders, a charity committed to helping prisoners when they are released. Eighty per cent of the prisons in the UK are now running Alpha.
- Theological training for lay students and candidates for ordination into the Church of England (under the name St Paul’s Theological Centre – part of St Mellitus College, London).
- Family Life courses (including The Marriage Course and The Parenting Course), now running all over the world.
- Church Planting, where derelict and dying churches are saved from redundancy and brought to life again.
Nicky Gumbel has written a number of best selling books. Questions of Life - the Alpha course in book form - has sold more than a million copies worldwide. The booklet Why Jesus? and its sister publication Why Christmas? have sold more than four million copies.
Nicky is also Vice President of Tearfund, a UK Christian relief and development agency working with a global network of local churches to help eradicate poverty and transform lives.
Nicky Gumbel is married to Pippa. They live in central London and have three children, Henry, Jonathan and Rebecca.
The Revd Dr Graham Tomlin is the Dean of St Mellitus College and Principal of St Paul’s Theological Centre, based at HTB, the home of the Alpha Course. He studied English Literature and Theology at Oxford, and was curate of a church in Exeter, before returning to Oxford to be Chaplain of Jesus College and tutor in Historical Theology and Evangelism at Wycliffe Hall, where he eventually became Vice Principal, before leaving to move to HTB in 2005. He was a member of the Theology Faculty of Oxford University for seven years and is a Visiting Lecturer at King's College London.
He is the author of many articles and several books, including ‘The Power of the Cross: Theology and the Death of Christ in Paul, Luther and Pascal’ (Paternoster 1999), 'The Provocative Church’ (SPCK 2002), ‘Luther and his World’ (Lion 2002), ‘Spiritual Fitness: Christian Character in a Consumer Culture’ (2006), ‘The Seven Deadly Sins and How to Overcome Them' (Lion 2007) and 'The Prodigal Spirit' (Alpha 2011).
He is married to Janet and has two grown-up children, Sam and Sian. He is a keen follower of various kinds of music and sport, especially football, rugby and cricket.
Nicky and Sila Lee
Nicky and Sila Lee have been on the staff of HTB in central London since 1985. Previously Nicky studied English Literature at Trinity College, Cambridge (1973–1976). He then taught English in London and in Nagoya, Japan (1977-1982). Sila studied Fine Art at Camberwell Art College from 1974 – 1977. Nicky and Sila married in 1976 and had their first child in 1980.
In 1985, having studied theology in Durham to train for ordination, Nicky was appointed curate to Sandy Millar at HTB where he and Sila ran the Alpha Course and started The Marriage Preparation Course, a five week course for engaged couples preparing for marriage. In 1996 they started The Marriage Course, an eight week course designed to help married couples build a healthy marriage that will last a lifetime. Over 4500 couples have completed these courses at HTB.
The Marriage Book, based on The Marriage Course and The Marriage Preparation Course, was published in August 2000 and has sold over 150,000 copies.
The Marriage Course was released on video in 2002 with a leaders’ guide and guest manual. The course is now being run in over 2300 locations in 60 countries. The Marriage Preparation Course was published on DVD in 2004 with a guest manual and leaders’ and support couples’ guide. The Marriage Conference, designed to equip couples to run The Marriage Course and The Marriage Preparation Course, is held twice a year at HTB and increasingly in other venues in the UK and around the world.
Their more recently published Parenting Book was based on their parenting courses which started in 1990: The Parenting Course (for parents with children aged 0-10) and The Parenting Teenagers Course (for those parenting 11 to 18 year-olds). Due to popular demand, these courses have now been released on DVD with manuals.
Pete Greig is one of the founding champions of the 24-7 Prayer movement and Director of Prayer at HTB. Thanks to an innovative approach to spirituality and culture 24-7 has spread into more than a third of the nations on earth, capturing the attention of newspapers and magazines from Rolling Stone to Readers Digest.
Pete’s books include Red Moon Rising, The Vision & The Vow, the 24-7 Prayer Manual, and God on Mute.
He and his wife Sammy have two sons and they live in Guildford where they are actively involved with a missional community called The Boiler Room. Pete’s passions include hiking, sailing, single malt whiskey and Portsmouth Football Club
Tim Hughes is the Worship Director at HTB, London. He is also the Director of Worship Central, a movement of worship leaders from around the world with a vision to encounter God, equip the worshipper and empower the local church. They run training conferences, a Worship Central Academy, as well as online resources at worshipcentral.org.
His songs include ‘Here I Am to Worship’ (Dove award winning song),‘Beautiful One,’ ‘Consuming Fire’ and ‘Happy Day’. He is the author of two books, ‘Here I am to worship’ and ‘Holding Nothing back’. Tim is also a part of Worship Central's latest album 'Spirit Break Out'.
Tim is married to Rachel and they have two daughters - Phoebe and Lois and a son - Simeon.
Paul Cowley was born in Manchester in 1955. At the age of 15 he was expelled from school, lived on the streets for a short while and then moved into a life of crime. This led to a short prison sentence and, upon release, Paul joined the army, throwing himself into his army career for the next 15 years. During this time he was involved in three tours in Northern Ireland and one in the Falklands. He left the army in 1991, at the rank of Sergeant, after serving in the Army Physical Training Corps. His career continued in the work of fitness training where he ran two fitness centres in London.
Paul became a Christian after doing an Alpha Course at HTB in 1994. He became involved in prison ministry as a volunteer in 1996 he joined the staff at HTB with responsibility for prison work and later founded the charity Caring for Ex-Offenders which aims to reintegrate ex-offenders back into society upon their release.
In June 2002 Paul was ordained by the Church of England after completing a three year degree course at Oakhill Theological College. In May 2003 he helped launch Alpha for Forces to help support and encourage the use of the Alpha Course in the Armed Forces.
Now Paul leads a team working in the area of social transformation, work which includes Alpha for Prisons, Caring for Ex-Offenders, Alpha for Forces, and the William Wilberforce Trust. This latter trust encompasses a counter-human trafficking unit, a homeless drop in, debt counselling, as well as a number of courses dealing with money, dept, depression, and recovery. He and his team support and co-ordinate the growth and organisation of these ministries across the country and increasingly around the world.
In June 2010 Paul was appointed pastor of HTB Queen's Gate, one of HTB's three church sites based at St Augustine's Queen's Gate under the oversight of Vicar Nicky Gumbel. There are two Sunday services at the site.
Paul is married to Amanda and has two children, Clinton and Phoebe.
The Rt. Rev'd John Alexander Kirkpatrick (Sandy) Millar practised for 10 years as a barrister before being ordained into the Church of England in 1976. He joined the staff of HTB as curate in 1976, becoming Vicar in 1985. He oversaw the growth of HTB to the largest church in the Church of England and its 'church planting' initiative into church buildings in other parts of London on the verge of extinction. He was responsible for overseeing the growth of the Alpha Course from a small local parish resource to one used by thousands of churches around the world. He was installed as a Prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral in1997.
After 20 years as Vicar of HTB, he stood down in July 2005 and became Vicar of St. Mark Tollington Park in a deprived part of London. In November 2005, he was consecrated as an Assistant Bishop in the Province of Uganda in a joint initiative of the Archbishop of Uganda, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London. In February 2006 he was licensed to act as an assistant Bishop in the Diocese of London at a major service led by the Bishop of London in St Paul's Cathedral. He retired in 2011.
He is married to Annette and they have four children.