New vicar chosen for Alpha church Holy Trinity Brompton

Holy Trinity Brompton (known as HTB), the largest church in the Church of England, is to have a new Vicar lead its 4,000-strong congregation.

The former curate who pioneered its first ‘plant’ outside of London – the Revd Canon Archie Coates, 51, currently Vicar of St Peter’s Brighton, has been chosen as HTB’s Vicar Designate.  It is expected that Canon Coates will become Vicar in September 2022, taking over from the Revd Nicky Gumbel, 66, who has announced his intention to resign his post from July 2022. Mr Gumbel has been Vicar of HTB since 2005 and has overseen considerable growth in that time. His books, which include Why Jesus? and Questions of Life, have been international best-sellers.

HTB is located in Knightsbridge, west London, and comprises a large, young and diverse congregation including a significant number of students, youth and children.  Eleven services take place each Sunday across six sites in South Kensington, Earl’s Court and on the Dalgarno estate in west London.

It is home to the Alpha course, which was founded at HTB and is now running in over 30,000 churches of all denominations – including Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Salvation Army and Pentecostal – in 130 countries around the world.

HTB has also pioneered a ministry of ‘church planting’ in partnership with dioceses across the Church of England and the Church in Wales. Scores of churches have been ‘planted’  across London and into other cities such as Birmingham, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Gateshead, Lincoln, Liverpool, Norwich, Nottingham, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Rochdale, Southampton and Wrexham.

The appointment of Canon Coates as Vicar Designate follows a thorough process of discussion and discernment, which considered a range of candidates for the post, and he was the unanimous choice of those involved in the decision, which included HTB’s Patrons, the Church Pastoral Aid Society (CPAS), Keble College, Oxford, the Bishop of Kensington (representing the Bishop of London), HTB’s two Churchwardens (representing the HTB PCC) as well as trustees representing HTB’s associated charities – Alpha International, the Church Revitalisation Trust and St Paul’s Theological Centre.  All have warmly welcomed the appointment.

It is anticipated that Canon Coates’ formal appointment as Vicar will take place in September 2022, following Mr Gumbel’s resignation taking effect in July 2022, in accordance with the requirements of the Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986.

The Revd Canon John Dunnett, General Director of CPAS, said, “This is a very significant appointment and we are in no doubt that Archie has the wisdom and leadership experience to take up the role. We offer him our warmest congratulations.”

HTB Churchwardens, Angus Winther and Genevieve Mensah, said, “We are excited that Archie has agreed to be the next Vicar of HTB, and are extremely grateful to our Patrons for their wisdom and expertise in guiding us through this process.  We will look forward to celebrating Nicky and Pippa’s extraordinary ministry at HTB when he steps down in July, and to welcoming Archie, his wife Sam and their family to HTB when he takes up this new role in September.”

The Rt Revd Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington, said, “I am delighted that Archie has accepted our invitation to become HTB’s Vicar Designate. He is an outstanding leader and we will look forward to welcoming him back to the diocese of London.”

The Revd Canon Richard (Archie) Coates has been Vicar of St Peter’s Brighton since 2009. He was ordained deacon in 2000 and served his title post at St Giles and St George Church, Ashtead, in Guildford diocese. He then served at Holy Trinity Brompton from 2003 and was appointed Associate Vicar in 2004. When Archie became Vicar of St Peter’s, known as the ‘cathedral of Brighton’, it was derelict and threatened with de-consecration.  Since then, it has grown to become home to a thriving congregation with over a thousand attending every Sunday across five sites in Brighton and St Peter’s has partnered with both Chichester diocese and Portsmouth diocese to plant churches in four other towns and cities (Hastings, Portsmouth, Crawley and Bognor Regis). He is an honorary Canon of Chichester Cathedral and was elected to General Synod in 2021. He is married to Sam and they have four children.

The Revd Nicholas (Nicky) Gumbel has been Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), since 2005. He read law at Trinity College, Cambridge, Theology at Oxford and practised as a barrister from 1977-1983. He joined HTB as a curate in 1986. He has written many books including Questions of Life and The Jesus Lifestyle. He is the pioneer of Alpha, an introduction to the Christian faith run by all the major Christian denominations in 130 countries. He is married to Pippa, and together they write a commentary on the Bible in One Year. They have three children and nine grandchildren.

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