Emotional celebrations before Wycliffe Bible Translator's big move
Wycliffe Bible Translators has celebrated 40 years at its Buckinghamshire base before the organisation's big move in November.
The organisation has sold the Wycliffe Centre at Horsleys Green and is moving in early November to new offices in Saunderton.
The move has come about because the Wycliffe Centre was deemed to be bigger than the organisation's needs.
Around 450 people gathered for an anniversary and farewell celebration at the centre on Saturday.
Eddie Arthur, Executive Director of the UK charity said, "The beautiful site has been far more than just a work place for many people: it has been home to some, a training ground for others, and a meeting place for many who have stayed as conference guests over the years. We have encountered God in a deeper way in this place, and it holds a special place in our hearts."
Despite the strong sentimental attachment to Horsleys Green, Arthur went on to stress that the heart of the organisation was in the communities still waiting to receive the Scripture in their own language.
"Horsleys Green is beautiful, it is important, it has huge sentimental significance for us, but it is emphatically not the heart of Wycliffe. The heart of Wycliffe is in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, the savannahs of Africa and among the nomads' tents on the steppes of Asia. The heart, purpose and call of this organisation lies among the people who have no access to Scripture; not in the leafy lanes of Buckinghamshire.
"There are still just under 2,000 language groups without a single word of Scripture and many, many others who only have a part of God's word available to them. There is still plenty of work for us to do, and in our new offices at Saunderton, we will be well placed to continue our task with renewed focus."
Arthur said that many of the language groups still waiting for their own language editions are in hard-to-reach places that are either geographically and politically isolated, or places where the wider religion is hostile to the Gospel message.
"It's the toughies that are left," he said.
As Wycliffe Bible Translators embraces the future, Arthur said it would need to "prayerfully and creatively" face up to new challenges in the UK and the world.
"The situation at home has changed in the UK, too," he said.
"The need for people across the world to have access to the Scriptures is not the priority for the British church that it once was. Nevertheless, God will accomplish his mission.
"Christ will build his church and the gates of hell will not stand against it. The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. But if the British church is to continue to play a significant role in this, Wycliffe and other mission agencies have an uphill climb ahead of us."