How to contact the Heritage Centre:
Phone:01604 824233/8 Ext 223
Address: The Heritage Centre, New Testament Church of God, 3, Cheyne Walk, Northampton NN1 5PT
Roswith Gerloff Collection
Dr Roswith Gerloff (1933-2013) is an acclaimed pioneer contributor to black & white Christian partnerships.
She came from a North German Protestant Prussian family and grew up in Lower Franconia, a Bavarian Catholic district of South Germany. She identifies influences on her pilgrimage as follows:
“I became a traveller between East and West, the two inimical worlds of post-war Berlin, where I served as a volunteer simultaneously in Christian youth work in the East and refugee camps in the West, and where my later parish ministry was located, near the dividing Wall. I subsequently lived for many years in Britain as a foreigner and explorer of its different cultures: Oxford and Birmingham, educated and working class, German and English, Jews and anti-Semites, blacks and whites, Caribbean blacks and African blacks. I journeyed among different denominations, traditions, independent movements, and the secular world. I found myself in both the First World and the Third World, among migrants and new settlers in Britain and Europe but also in permanent contact with the Caribbean and Africa, engaging with both “established” and charismatic Christianity, literary and oral traditions, the theology of the head and of the body, the faith of the oppressor and of the oppressed.”
[ International Bulletin of Missionary Research Vol. 37, No. 1January 2013pp. 27–30]
The Roswith Gerloff collection is based on her work at the Centre for Black and White Christian Partnership in Birmingham , England during the late ’70s. It provides an exceptionally well researched set of historical and cultural memory of the religious experience of black Christian leaders who pioneered the early diasporic Pentecostal churches in Britain. The Centre for Black and White Christian Partnership was set up to challenge and combat racism within the Church to foster better relations between Black and White Christians within the different denominations.
The collection includes influential work on Black Pentecostalism in Britain and the social, cultural and missiological significance of the African Caribbean Diaspora contribution to the Christian faith spanning 1972 – 2013. Her collection comprises books, research papers, photographs, letters, reports and audio / visual material.
Her resources bring significant scope to the other material in the New Testament Church of God Heritage Centre which together offer opportunities for research and learning about the emergence, development, the ongoing legacy and contribution of African Caribbean Pentecostalism to Britain.
Bishop Dr Joe Aldred (Churches Together in England) says:
“To the best of my knowledge, there is nowhere in the country that hosts comparative material relating to the development of the BMCs and Black Christianity in general. I expect that the Roswith Gerloff Archive will build upon the resource currently owned by them by collecting and bringing into one place other books, research papers, tapes and DVDs that together add up to an excellent research centre and a place for the preservation of cultural memory for and about the Black Christian community in Britain.”
Quotes from our visitors include the following :
This is indeed , unique collection and it is of considerable value. It covers a period of history that needs to be preserved and without this collection is in danger of being lost. I myself have benefitted from Dr Gerloff’s research and her unparalleled insight into the development of black Pentecostal Churches and their particular relevance to the British situation. These are days when the nation is just discovering the value of the ‘Windrush Generation’ and the Heritage Centre has much to contribute to our knowledge of this generation.” – Dr Clifford Hill, Issachar Ministries
An amazing resource and a wonderful opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the history of the New Testament Church of God …’ – Lloyce McLaren, Cambridgeshire, UK
‘The Roswith Gerloff archive is a vital resource for understanding significant developments within religion in Britain in the twentieth century and beyond. I am grateful for the NTCG for making this available.” – Dr John Maiden, The Open University, UK
‘We believe that in the long term, the archive will provide a valuable resource for academic research as well as for members of the Church and the general public.’ – Professor Joh Stobart, the University of Northampton
The significance of this collection is embodied in the Executive Summary of the National Archives Religious Survey 2010 (p3) – Much of the BMC’s records have been irretrievably lost due to lack or archival resources to preserve and make the material/legacy easily accessible to society as a whole.
How to get involved:
- donate personal or family papers (letters, diaries, un/published writings, audible and visible records) about the history of the New Testament Church of God in the UK e.g. mission and migration stories/photos.
- donate Church programmes, significant sermons, newsletters etc.
- offer a copy of relevant thesis/publications.
- give monetary donations.
- volunteer time and skills eg. research, oral history, archiving, fundraising.
- participate in a collaborative Distance learning course at the University of Leicester in alignment with the purposes of the mission and vision of the Heritage Centre. For further information contact: Robin Clarke, Course Director 0116 252 3973 or Phyllis Thompson (Heritage Centre Administrator).
- visit the Centre – we welcome individual and group visits by appointment, between 12:00-6:30pm on Thursdays.
Read what others have said about their visit:
“The vision of this inspirational centre is outstanding. It will give insight into our history – the struggles and the triumphs, the present, the motivation and challenges and the future, our hopes and aspirations. So thrilled that the legacy of the founding fathers and all those who have followed will be preserved and passed onto generations to come. May the Lord bless the current leadership for their insight and vision.’ Evadney and Lloyd Ellis
‘Congratulations for establishing the Heritage Centre and the Roswith Gerloff Collection. We have a heritage to celebrate that has helped to shape Christianity in the UK and worldwide.’ –Dr Dulcie Dixon
“This is an excellent legacy. Rev Phyllis Thompson and her team have done exemplary service for the NTCG and the kingdom of God.’ – Dr Chris Maunder
‘What a joy to be part of such an amazing journey. I feel like I had a fresh anointing just walking around and sharing with our tour guide: Sis Sadie. My spirit is refreshed. A day well spent. Thanks to all who took time out to let this happen.’ – Rev Florence Whittingham
‘Enjoyed looking at my history.’ – Zara Bailey-Maxwell
‘Fabulous staff. Honoured to be here.’ – John and Elizabeth Combe
‘Very impressed with the great achievement…. Makes me feel very proud as a member of the body of Christ.’ – Sis Merdella Gutherie
‘The Roswith Gerloff archive is a vital resource for understanding significant developments within religion in Britain in the twentieth century and beyond. I am grateful for the NTCG for making this available.’ – Dr John Maiden
‘A walk down memory lane to see old friends, teachers, mentors, spiritual guides….Thank you all for making it happen. We have documented for the future lest they forget. Well done.’ – Decima Francis
‘My first visit to the Heritage Centre and it’s great to get a better understanding of your history and organisation.’ – Frances Neal
‘Amazing insight into the Church history.’ – Andrea Hines-Waysome
‘My first visit to the Heritage Centre. An amazing resource and a wonderful opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the history of the New Testament Church of God. It’s been a great visit.’– Lloyce McLaren