Holy Trinity Brompton

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Holy Trinity, Brompton
Holy Trinity Brompton with St Paul's, Onslow Square
Country United Kingdom
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Evangelical Anglican[1]
Architect(s) Thomas Leverton Donaldson
Style Gothic Revival
Deanery Chelsea
Archdeaconry Middlesex
Episcopal area Kensington (Bishop of Kensington)
Diocese London
Vicar(s) Nicky Gumbel
Curate(s) Nicky Lee
David Walker

Holy Trinity Brompton with St Paul's, Onslow Square and St Augustine's, South Kensington, often referred to simply as HTB, is an Anglican church in London, England. The church consists of four centres; HTB Brompton Road, HTB Onslow Square (formerly St Paul's, Onslow Square), HTB Queen's Gate (formerly St Augustine's, South Kensington) and HTB Courtfield Gardens (formerly St Jude's, Courtfield Gardens - officially in the parish of St Mary of the Boltons but part of HTB), as well as being the home for Worship Central, the St Paul's Theological Centre and the Alpha Course. It is where the Alpha Course was first developed and is one of the most influential churches in the Church of England.

The church buildings accommodate Alpha, other courses, conferences and meetings during the week and ten services each Sunday. With total Sunday service attendance at around 4,500 people and the Alpha course attracting several hundred guests during the week, HTB oversees a diverse range of activities. HTB's vision statement is the "evangelisation of the nations and the transformation of society".[citation needed]

HTB's aim is for an Alpha Course to be accessible to anyone who would like to attend the course. In this way HTB seeks to spread the teachings of Christianity.

Nicky Gumbel, the pioneer of the Alpha course, took over as vicar of HTB from Sandy Millar in July 2005. The associate clergy are Nicky Lee (since July 2007) and David Walker (since July 2014). Pete Greig, co-founder of 24-7 Prayer, joined HTB in 2008 as Director of Prayer.[2]


Entrance driveway

Holy Trinity

Prior to the construction of Holy Trinity Brompton, the present site was a part of the large parish of Kensington which was served only by the nearby St Mary Abbots church. In the early 1820s the area was in the midst of a substantial population increase so a decision was taken to purchase land and construct a new church.

The church was a Commissioners' church, receiving a grant from the Church Building Commission towards its cost. The full cost of the church was £10,407 (£800,000 as of 2019),[3] towards which the Commission paid £7,407. The architect was Thomas Leverton Donaldson.[4] Holy Trinity is a Grade II listed building. [5]

After three years of construction the church was consecrated on 6 June 1829 by the Bishop of London.[6]

The same building stands today, although having been considerably modified. At some point a portion of HTB's land was sold to the Roman Catholic Church in order for them to build the London Oratory. This created a long driveway from Brompton Road at the end of which HTB manages to gain relative tranquillity.

The most recent major modification was during the 1980s when the crypt was rebuilt to provide meeting rooms and the space for the bookshop. Also during this time the pews were removed and replaced with chairs to allow greater flexibility in seating arrangements, which became imperative as Alpha grew.

The substantial growth of the Alpha Course in the last 18 years has seen this course become the main focus of HTB, with its recent history reflecting this.

List of vicars

St Paul's Onslow Square

St Paul's Church in Onslow Square was opened in 1860.[7] In the late 1970s, the parish of Holy Trinity Brompton merged with the neighbouring parish of St Paul's Onslow Square. St Paul's was declared redundant. An attempt by the diocese to sell the building for private redevelopment was thwarted in the early 1980s when local residents joined with churchgoers to save the church. In the late 1980s, the Parochial Church Council requested that the redundancy be overturned which allowed curate Nicky Lee and his wife Sila to "plant" a congregation there as well as undertake some building structural maintenance work.[citation needed] At its peak in the 1990s, this congregation had grown to several hundred.[citation needed]

In 1997, the congregation at St Paul's divided into three, with some going with curate Stuart Lees to plant a church in Fulham; others returning to Holy Trinity with Nicky and Sila Lee; and others forming the St Paul's Anglican Fellowship and remaining based at St Paul's with John Peters. This last group left in 2002 to plant into St Mary's, Bryanston Square.

During 2007, after plans by HTB to rebuild the 1960s offices were withdrawn following difficulty in getting support from local residents, HTB decided to undertake some renovations and to resume services in the church. St Paul's launched 9:00 am and 6:00 pm services in September 2007[8] and followed with an 11AM service on January 20, 2008[9] and a 4 pm service on 28 September 2009.[10] In December 2009 the upstairs balcony was recommissioned for worship, having previously been used for administrative offices (the office occupants having moved to HTB's nearby office building purchased in 2008[11][12]).

St Augustine's Church

Services at St Augustine's, Queen's Gate began to be administered from Holy Trinity Brompton following an invitation by the Bishop of Kensington in 2010, where Nicky Gumbel was made priest-in-charge. In March 2011, St Augustine's was formally merged into the parish of HTB.

Church plants

  • 1985 - curate John Irvine leads a plant of 100 to St Barnabas, Kensington[13]
  • 1987 - Paul Perkin and a team of 50 move to St Mark’s Battersea Rise
    • 1994 - curate Andrew White leads a team of 65 from St Mark's to Ascension Church, Balham[14]
      • 2010 - Ben Goodyear leads a team from Ascension Church to St Paul's, Brixton
    • 2007 - curate Patrick Malone leads a team from St Mark's to St Peter's Battersea
  • 1991 - Nicky Lee takes a team of 200 to St Paul's Onslow Square
    • 1997 - curate Stuart Lees leads a team from St Paul's to Christ Church Fulham
    • 2002 - the St Paul's congregation, under John Peters, moves to St Mary's, Bryanston Square
  • 1994 - Tom Gillum leads a plant of 40 to St Stephen’s, Westbourne Park
  • 2000 - Simon Downham leads 200 members to a plant at St Paul's, Hammersmith
  • 2002 - John Valentine leads a plant of 100 to St George the Martyr Holborn
    • 2006 - ex HTB curate Paul Zaphiriou leads a team from St George's to St Mary Magdalene and St David's, Islington, now Hope Church Islington
      • 2010 - curate Graham Hunter and his wife went from St Mary Magdalene and St David to St John's, Hoxton which had a 100 strong congregation.
    • 2013 - David Ingall leads a team from St George's and HTB to St Sepulchre-without-Newgate'.'
  • 2005 - Sandy Millar retires as vicar of HTB and moves to St Mark's Tollington Park. He was already priest-in-charge of the church and had led a plant there two years earlier
  • 2005 - HTB curates Ric Thorpe and Jez Barnes lead a team of 100 to St Paul’s, Shadwell
    • 2010 - Cris Rogers leads a team from St Paul's, Shadwell to All Hallows, Bow.
    • 2010 - HTB curate Adam Atkinson leads a group from St Paul's to St Peter's, Bethnal Green
    • 2013 - Ed Dix leads a team from St Paul's to relaunch St Luke's, Millwall
  • 2006 - curates Andy Keighley and Graham Singh lead a team to plant Holy Trinity Swiss Cottage
  • 2007 - HTB resumes services in St Paul's, Onslow Square, moving a new congregation there
  • 2009 - Archie Coates leads a team of 50 to St Peter's, Brighton
  • 2010 - curate Azariah France-Williams leads a plant to St Francis Community Church, North Kensington
  • 2010 - Holy Trinity Swiss Cottage curate Graham Singh and HTB curate Jerry Field led a team of 70 from HTB to St John's Hampton Wick
  • 2010 - former HTB curate Matt Hogg leads a team of 50 jointly from HTB and St Paul's, Hammersmith, to St Alban's, Fulham
  • 2010 - HTB takes over the running of St Augustine's, Queens Gate, sending Paul Cowley to start a new congregation there
  • 2011 - curate Jon March leads a team to St Luke's Kentish Town
  • 2014 - Pat Allerton leads a team of 50 to St Dionis, Parsons Green
  • 2014 - Tim Matthews leads a plant at St Swithun's, Bournemouth

Alpha and HTB

The Alpha course was founded by clergy at HTB who over a period of twenty years kept adapting the programme in accordance with feedback until in the early 1990s the Alpha course started gaining worldwide attention. As Alpha grew it became the main focus for HTB as it sought to support Alpha's spread and growth.

Today this involves the production of advertising material and course material such as videos, books and tapes for each Alpha session and leader training material. Alpha is now run as a separate enterprise with separate fundraising and accounting but it remains closely tied to HTB, with most of Alpha's staff being accommodated in HTB's offices. The clergy of HTB also share Alpha duties such as overseeing Alpha conferences and training events in the UK and overseas.

Since the mid-1990s the Alpha course programme has remained largely unchanged allowing the energy of the church to develop other initiatives which fit with the Alpha course such as creating courses on marriage preparation, parenting teenagers, bereavement and recovering from divorce as well as publishing new books.

HTB itself runs Alpha courses three times a year and with these attracting 300-400 guests during each course they require all of the available space in the church buildings.

Pastoral care

In order to address the problem of how to give pastoral care to such a large congregation as well as provide a means for new people to become a part of the church, HTB uses the Pastorate model.

Pastorates consist of 20-50 people who, through meeting at least once a fortnight, can form strong friendships and support each other in care as well as developing individual gifts and ministries.

HTB has quite a transient congregation caused in part by its location in London, a city which itself has a transient population, that HTB attracts a large student population often only resident in London during their studies, and that the Alpha course brings in a number of people who are either visiting the home of Alpha or have completed the course and then quickly move on to other churches or ministries. In order to reach out to this substantial number of visitors, HTB is somewhat extroverted[further explanation needed] in welcoming newcomers and providing various means for them to get involved.


HTB conducts ten services each Sunday across the four sites. The family services include items aimed at children. The formal services feature traditional Church of England liturgy and a professional choir. The informal services centre on a longer period of contemporary worship with a longer talk and close in a reflective prayer mood which extends beyond the end of the service.

The 4:30pm and 6:30pm services at HTB Onslow Square church extend this informal nature further as most of the congregation sit on carpet, whilst some couches, cushions and bean bags are also provided. These services are sometimes conducted in the round.

Some services reuse the same talk and song list from a service earlier in the day.

Other activities

Another important activity of HTB is its yearly church camp, named "Focus". This takes place over a week at a seaside campsite where typically 3,500 people attend and involve themselves in the many seminars, workshops and recreational activities. The size also attracts some prominent speakers to speak on issues affecting the church and society. Regular such speakers include Mike Pilavachi from Soul Survivor, the Bishop of London (Richard Chartres), Frog and Amy Orr-Ewing.

Since 1985, HTB has been actively involved in a process called church planting whereby struggling churches in London are boosted by scores - sometimes hundreds - of people committing to move from HTB to the identified church for at least a year. This also involves at least one member of HTB's clergy similarly moving to the new church to help lead worship, form pastorates and run local Alpha courses. Over the years nine churches have been planted in this way, including St Gabriels, Cricklewood, with some of these churches going on to make church plants of their own. The most recent plant was to St Swithin's, Lincoln, in October 2014.

HTB also has thriving children's and youth ministries. Other notable activities HTB undertakes are services twice a year involving the large HTB choir - at Easter and Christmas - and several free classical concerts that utilise the church's pipe organ that was refurbished in 2004 as well as drawing on the talent of the nearby music colleges.

In September 2005 HTB started providing the talks given at the Sunday services as free downloads from its website and through the iTunes podcast directory. These downloads, which HTB has termed HTB Podcasts, have proved popular and more recently other talks specifically provided for the HTB Podcast community have also been offered, including answers to questions sent in by listeners. Each month the total download count from this catalogue of talks is over 40,000, with some talks making it into the top ten in the "Religion and Spirituality" section for iTunes.

In 2011 HTB formed the William Wilberforce Trust[15] to bring together various social action projects that were linked with HTB. These projects include work in deprived neighbourhoods, addressing homelessness and providing practical support for people with addictions.

HTB is also home to:

See also


  1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/nov/10/justin-welby-archbishop-canterbury-holy-trinity-brompton Holy Trinity Brompton, the evangelical HQ that claims the new primate as one of its own
  2. "Pete Greig joins Alpha/HTB team". Alphafriends. Retrieved 2012-02-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2015), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  4. Port, M. H. (2006), 600 New Churches: The Church Building Commission 1818-1856 (2nd ed.), Reading: Spire Books, p. 327, ISBN 978-1-904965-08-4<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Images of England: Church of the Holy Trinity, Brompton Road, English Heritage, retrieved 9 May 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Brompton New Church". Morning Post. London. 8 June 1829. Retrieved 9 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Holy Trinity Brompton History". Holy Trinity Brompton. 2009-12-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Sunday worship resumes at St. Paul's". Holy Trinity Brompton. 2007-07-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "St Paul's gets ready for 11am service". Holy Trinity Brompton. 2008-01-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "4pm service launched at St Pauls". Holy Trinity Brompton. 2009-12-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Alpha Charity Buys London Office Building". Holy Trinity Brompton. 2012-02-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Builders move in to new offices on Cromwell Road". Alphafriends. 2012-02-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Recent History". Holy Trinity Brompton. Retrieved 2012-02-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Related Churches". Holy Trinity Brompton. Retrieved 2012-02-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. About the William Wilberforce Trust, theBigGive.org.uk, retrieved 29 Feb 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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