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About Alpha USA

Nicky Gumbel Biography

Nicky and Pippa Gumbel
Nicky Gumbel
is Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, 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 practiced 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.

Holy Trinity Brompton

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.



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