Partnership (UK) Ltd Archive

  • Reference
      GB 133 PUK
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 linear metre, 9 boxes, 966 items
  • Location
      Collection available at the University Archives and Records Centre, Main Library.

Scope and Content

The material in this archive mainly concerns the administration of CBRF/Partnership and the consultations, conferences, training courses and other events that were organised by CBRF/Partnership or in conjunction with them. It includes minutes, agendas and other items discussed at meetings of the leading body of CBRF/Partnership, the Partnership Link-up Service (PLUS) steering committee, and the general purposes and finance subgroups, correspondence, financial material and miscellaneous items, such as lists of trustees, committee and council members, notes, information sheets, programmes, lists and leaflets. Most of the material in the archive concern CBRF/ Partnership events, it includes correspondence, minutes of the planning groups, material produced for use at the event, such as discussion papers, notes, programmes and acetates, reports concerning the events, leaflets, financial papers, lists of those invited to, taking part in or attending the event and cassette recordings of events.

Most of the material is related to Neil Summerton, who was the executive secretary of Partnership from 1991. It also includes items related to other leading members of CBRF/Partnership including John Boyes, the executive director until 1991, Harold Rowdon, the vice-chairman, Gerald West, the chairman, James Tumbridge, the treasurer, and Eileen West and Amanda Ford who helped to organise CBRF/Partnership events. The archive also includes correspondence, reports, discussion notes and other documents produced by representatives of other Christian organisations. They include Peter Brierley, European director of MARC Europe; Briand F. Tatford, of the Centre de Formation Biblique, Kevin G. Dyer, of International Teams, Geoff Tunnicliffe, president of the International Teams of Canada, Jonathan Lamb, the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) regional secretary for Europe and the USSR and elder of Belmont Chapel, Jeremy H. L. Mudditt, managing director of The Paternoster Press Ltd and Victor Jack, executive adviser of the Sizewell Hall Christian conference and camping centre.

Administrative / Biographical History

Partnership's roots lie in the Christian Brethren Research Fellowship (CBRF), an organisation established in 1963 that aimed to be a focal point for those interested in studying the Brethren tradition. The CBRF undertook a number of activities including publishing papers and booklets and holding conferences and seminars. Coinciding with the decline in the CBRF's activities in the 1980's, a development was taking place in which many Open Brethren assemblies distanced themselves from the 'mainstream' Brethren movement and began to regard themselves as independent churches. The style of worship and activities of these assemblies changed, for example, many moved from having a traditional 'Gospel Meeting' on Sunday evening to a 'Family Service' on Sunday morning, some appointed full-time workers and many added new elements to worship, such as the participation of women or the introduction of new songs. In this context Partnership developed out of the CBRF as an organisation that wished to encourage other churches to become involved in these changes while aiming to develop a network of like-minded churches.

Although the CBRF began to use Partnership as an operating name from 1984, it was the 1991 Partnership consultation at Nantwich which is seen as the event that gave Partnership a mandate to begin functioning as a charitable body serving local evangelical churches. Previously only individuals and institutions, such as libraries and colleges, could subscribe to CBRF/Partnership, from 1991 it was decided to encourage local churches to subscribe to their services as well. In 1994 the assets of the CBRF were transferred to the Harvester Trust Ltd, which during 1995 formally changed its name to Partnership (UK) Ltd.

Although Partnership has a Brethren background, it was established for those churches moving away from some aspects of Brethren tradition. Therefore, Partnership does not restrict itself to serving Brethren assemblies, instead it aims:

to serve local churches that are evangelical in beliefs, and in their church life give expression in various forms to the following: shared leadership, believer's baptism, Bible teaching, prayer and fellowship, freedom in worship, the Lord's supper / communion, evangelistic outreach, compassionate service

(Partnership, A service for local churches, (London, 1992).

Partnership continues to provide subscribers with a range of services. It holds regular consultations, conferences and seminars, organises workshops, meetings, training courses and retreats and has consultants who offer advice on church life and church planting. It produces publications including books, papers and newsletters, encourages and stimulates research and conducts surveys. It has a network of 'grassroots' activists who organise local events and aims to act as a means of communication between church and para-church bodies.


This archive was originally separated into documents wallets of general material, mainly containing correspondence, minutes and related items, wallets of material related to different consultations and events and a wallet of material related to training events, as well as some loose material. Within the wallets the physical arrangement of the items was sometimes confused. Therefore, the archivist has separated items into series and sub-series according to the events the material is related to and the function of the items, while taking account of original order.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to the Library by Neil Summerton, Chairman of Partnership in 2000.

Archivist's Note

The cataloguing of this collection was supplemented by Karen Jacques who marked up the collection and put the finishing touches to the project.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH, tel.: +44 (0)161 834 5343.

Related Material

The Bright Hall Assembly Eccles Archive is part of the Christian Brethren Archive.


Dickson, N. T. R. and Grass, T (eds),The growth of the Brethren movement : national and international experiences : essays in honour of Harold H. Rowdon (Milton Keynes : Paternoster, 2006).

Grass, T.,Gathering to his name : the story of the Open Brethren in Britain and Ireland (Milton Keynes : Paternoster, 2006).