Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre: Our Roots
Who We Are
On Thetis Island is Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre, a branch of the international and interdenominational work of Torchbearers International. It is one of 25 such centres for Bible training, retreats and evangelism, which are scattered throughout 20 different countries of the world.
Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre Thetis Island main building
The first centre was started in the Northwest of England by Major W. Ian Thomas, a British Army officer who served during World War II. In 1946, by faith, he and his wife purchased an old country estate known locally as Capernwray Hall and in 1948 the British government arranged to have 30 German young people come to participate in the summer programme there.

The Very First Capernwray Bible School

While at Capernwray Hall, many of these young people came to realize their need for spiritual salvation and they accepted the forgiveness that God gives through His Son, Jesus. *In doing so, they also came to the amazing discovery of Christ Who forgives their sin is the One Who, raised from the dead now actually lives IN them to live His Life through them!

The lives of the summer programme participants were so transformed by Him that on returning home to Germany, it was as if God had given them a bright torch to shine in the darkness. They came to be known as Torchbearers of God's light, love and Life! That name has stuck ever since.

Capernwray Bible School and Conference Centre dock view, awaiting ferry

Charlie Fordham, Director of Capernwray Bible Centre, with his wife, Marlene Fordham

In 1949 an interdenominational, short term Bible school began at Capernwray Hall to lead to Christ young people from around the world and encourage and instruct them in their relationship to God. Since that time, thousands of young people and adults have walked through those doors and heard the Good News that God is much more interested in a relationship with Him than religious activity for Him.

Two such students were Charlie and Marlene Fordham, who attended Capernwray Hall in the early 70's. In the Winter of 1979, through a unique series of events, God lead them to Thetis Island, BC, Canada. Charlie and Marlene arrived on the property with their 2 children, Christopher and Jessica and soon formed a Board of Directors, signing a "lease to purchase" the 97 acres from NAIM.

Less than $100 in pocket and absolutely no promise of support from anyone they determined not to go out "begging" for support for something that God was going to do! If God would do it, then "why would any man have to beg for human support?" was the Fordham's question! God has always supplied all that is needed including God-anointed Staff, students and guests who came from around the globe to learn from God's Word during both the Bible School year as well as the Conference season.

The property soon got dubbed as a haven of teaching and personal ministry and so was called Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre. In 1979 Capernwray Harbour opened its doors for the first time to 77 students and since that time there have been many thousands of students attend the Bible School.

Now the Centre operates as a One Year Bible School from September-May. From May-August, over 4000 guests are hosted for various retreats and conferences. These range from small groups and clubs to Outdoor Education programmes, Church retreats, family reunions and many more. Our Summer Holiday Bible Weeks are week long Bible teaching programmes in a holiday setting for the whole family."

For over 30 years Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre has had students from 10 to 15 countries receiving Bible training. Steadily, both outdoor and indoor facilities have been improved and beautified. Both are 2 completely different venues of "classroom" used for teaching and training young and old alike to be involved in "full time Christian service...REGARDLESS of occupation!"

Our purpose, and that of Torchbearers International, is to proclaim our risen, and indwelling Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour, Lord and Life, eternally!

The Main Hall at Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre

The impressive white Tudor style building stands against the expansive sweep of green lawns and blue ocean below. Its history is intriguing and interesting.

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Pioneer days on Thetis Island

The history of our property is maintained in the Royal British Columbia Museum archives, in images and documents outlining the early days of settlement of Thetis Island.

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Capernwray Harbour Bible School Graduation Photo

Keep in touch by checking in on our Harbour Happenings Online Newsletter! All of our current and back issues are now online.

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Capernwray staff: happy and dedicated.

United in one purpose: to share the Life and Love of our Lord Jesus Christ with those we are privileged to serve. Check here to learn more about us!

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