Our vision is for the National Centre to be open for individuals and groups to come for personal reflection. Wycliffe Australia’s National Centre is dedicated to the work of Bible translation. We are able to do this in many different ways by having a central location to work from, another one of God’s great gifts! We have 26 houses which are used as housing for our Wycliffe members returning from the field for furlough or for medical reasons, or by those living and working on Centre. Providing housing is made possible by the income from retreats that are held onsite by churches and other Christian organisations. We have a number of lodges and conference facilities that we hire out for the purpose of Christian people coming together to grow in God and in fellowship with one another. This brings in an income, which in turn allows us to support the costs of having a National Centre and providing and maintaining houses here for our members. This also allows us to achieve the four main goals in the diagram above.
My role is to provide spiritual oversight for retreats and conference participants. I do this by being available to pray, providing information and tools to guide personal devotions, developing the property for future retreats and coordinating a small team to look after the on-site housing, events and accommodation bookings. Prayer has shaped and built our tight knit team. It has also allowed us to partner with groups beyond just greeting them, by joining with them in praying during their time here.
God is so amazing at how he brings his people together to do the work for his Kingdom! A member’s small home church in America wanted to contribute to a project here on Centre. With the church’s financial partnership, we were able to create a safer and more accessible place for our members and visitors to enjoy. We have improved the lighting and provided a safer path to and from our conference and lodge accommodation buildings.
This past year we have had opportunities to improve on a number of the services and processes that we provide and we have appreciated the positive feedback we have received from guests.
Below is a table showing how external groups have used our facilities. What an absolute blessing it is to partner with all these organisations and to provide them with a place where they can come and fellowship in communion with God and each other. These figures do not include the multiple internal Wycliffe Australia or SILA bookings that use the facilities for multiple weeks of the year.
External groups using our facilities in 2016
|Small – Less than 15 participants||Large – Greater than 15 participants||Hired Conference/meeting space only|
You can see that our Centre was used in three main ways fairly evenly. This means groups are making the most of how the space is currently offered. There are a number of repeat visits throughout the year which is also encouraging to see. Weekend bookings are hot property; however, we would like to see some more growth in weekday bookings.
Those coming here specifically for a retreat generally used the retreat cabin next to the prayer chapel. There were 22 individuals who used the cabin, from one night up to two and a half weeks each. This does not include the repeat visits some of these people made.
All the numbers are really interesting to see. However, we value the testimonies from groups who have been here and the experiences that they share.
“For more than a decade, Ridley College has appreciated sending 10–14 faculty members to Wycliffe for an annual retreat. We have watched the lodges evolve from comfortable accommodation into a luxurious ‘destination’, and the meeting rooms from functional spaces into hi-tech showcases (that exceed our own classrooms). The facilities are matched, if not surpassed, by Wycliffe’s personal contacts, flexible arrangements and competitive prices. It’s a no-brainer to keep returning each year; there’s simply nothing comparable.”
– Andrew Malone, Ridley College
“Thank you for continuing to accommodate us during our prayer retreats. We have always felt welcome and at home during these times. We have always been greeted by smiles and the staff are always friendly and approachable. We love the fact that the vision you have is seeing Jesus name lifted high, and this is something that we have in common. Your environment is refreshing and we feel connected to you even though we don’t know each of you at a personal level. On behalf of the AFM Ladies, I just want to say thank you for all the beautiful work you do, not only to us but also to the large community you reach to.”
– Liz Rambanapasi, AFM Wings of Faith Ladies
“For some years now Ministry Renewal Retreats Victoria has been holding their annual residential training event at the Wycliffe base in Kangaroo Ground. We have found the facilities ideally suited to our larger group needs and the staff extremely helpful at every point. Several of our smaller retreat groups are now holding their retreats there as well. We particularly appreciate the work of the support staff and the back-up services they so readily provide. The peaceful surroundings are an added benefit to those seeking time alone with God.”
– Marjorie Houston, Ministry Renewal Retreats Victoria
“Wycliffe has been a welcoming and restful space for our group retreats. Its ease of access from the city is appreciated by participants especially as the site helps them feel like they are in the country. We like that it suits our modest budget offering a range of accommodation at reasonable prices. The facilities suit our needs and the food is good. The chapel offers a very special quiet space for private reflection and group worship.”
– Libby Hore-Lacy, EFAC
“Thank you all so much for your hospitality and care for us all during this last week, while we were here for the Pacific Wa’a meetings. We had a great time; the Lord’s presence was very evident. The accommodation was very comfortable & warm. Blessings in all you do, our grateful thanks.”
– Sandra Callister
About the Author: Emily Willetts is the Manager of Retreats@Wycliffe
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