About Us

Our Roots

A testimony of God’s faithfulness

“… I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and [a]the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me…” – Galatians 2:20

The first Capernwray Bible School started in the Northwest of England by Major W. Ian Thomas, a British Army officer who served during World War II. In 1946, led by faith, Thomas and his wife purchased an old country estate known locally as Capernwray Hall, and in 1948 the British government arranged to have 30 German youth participate in the first summer programme there.

The Original Torchbearers

While at Capernwray Hall, many of these young people realized their need for spiritual salvation. They accepted the forgiveness that God gives through His Son, Jesus, and in doing so, came to the amazing discovery that Christ who forgave their sin was the One who, raised from the dead, now actually lived IN them to live His Life through them.

The lives of the summer program participants were so transformed by Him that when they returned to Germany, they felt as though God had given them a bright torch to shine in the darkness. They became known as Torchbearers of God’s light, love and Life.

The Very First Capernwray Bible School

In 1949, the first interdenominational, short term Bible school at Capernwray Hall brought young people to Christ from around the world, encouraging and instructing them in their relationship to God. Since that time, thousands of youth and adults have walked through those doors and heard the Good News: that God is much more interested in our relationship with Him than in our religious activity for Him.

Two such students were Charlie and Marlene Fordham, who attended Capernwray Hall in the early 1970s. In the winter of 1979, through a series of unique events, God led them to Thetis Island, BC, Canada. Charlie and Marlene arrived on the property with their two children, Christopher and Jessica. They soon formed a Board of Directors and signed a lease to purchase the 97 acres.

With less than $100 in pocket and absolutely no promise of support from anyone, the Fordhams determined not to beg for support for God’s work. The Fordhams knew God would provide everything they needed to do His work. From the start, God supplied all that was needed including God-anointed staff, students and guests from around the globe to learn from God’s Word during both the Bible School year and the Conference season.

The property soon became known as a haven of teaching and personal ministry, earning the name Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre. In 1979, Capernwray Harbour opened its doors for the first time to 77 students. Since then, we have welcomed thousands of students to the Bible School.

Today, the centre operates as a one-year Bible School that runs from September to May. From June to August, we host over 4000 guests for various retreats and conferences. Events at Capernwray range from small groups and clubs to Outdoor Education programs, Church retreats, family reunions and more. Our Summer Holiday Bible Weeks are Bible teaching programs held as getaways for the whole family.

Over the past 40 years, Capernwray Harbour Bible Centre has provided Bible training to students from around the world. Steadily, we’ve upgraded and beautified both outdoor and indoor facilities, providing a variety of classroom venues to teach and train young and old 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!