Philip Townsend



Phil completed his service with Wycliffe, as of 28 Feb 2023. To help with his transition, Wycliffe will continue to receive gifts for him until the end of August 2023.

Philip has been appointed to the position of Director of the Australia Timor Group (ATG) and took up the role in February 2021. The ATG supports communities as they use their languages in oral, written and artistic forms. This happens through linguistic research; translation of educational, health and religious materials; training of local people; as well as production of resources.

Philip has three main responsibilities: pastoral care of ATG members; liaison with partners and stakeholders; administration and strategy. He is convinced that if the Bible is accessible in a group’s own language then those people are more likely to clearly hear God’s voice.

Over many years, Philip had extensive cross-cultural experience in remote, bilingual contexts. He lived and worked alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well as with Melanesian peoples in Papua New Guinea. Philip and his wife, Lesli, are now based in Adelaide. They have four adult children who grew up in Papua New Guinea.

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Latest Updates from Philip Townsend

27 February 2023

My two-year term as Director of the Australia Timor-Leste Group (ATG) of SIL International finished on 10 February and my resignation from Wycliffe Bible Translators Australia happens on 28 February. I am grateful to God for the opportunity to serve the SIL ATG staff, partners and Indigenous peoples.

Highlights included visits to Timor-Leste and Maningrida community in Australia to begin to understand the context in each place. I am grateful for times to meet Indigenous peoples, particularly at Nungalinya College in Darwin. I enjoyed networking with a range of partners and stakeholders. It was a joy to see the recent Australian Bible Translation National Gathering occur (in early February) and I am certain it will be a catalyst for further collaboration.

Pray for Dr David Nicholls who will be the Interim Director of SIL ATG for six months. Pray for Jason Griffiths, Director of the Pacific Area of SIL International, as he discerns the future for SIL ATG.

Thank you to you who have supported me in prayer and with finance. May you experience God’s generosity. Please pray that I will know the next part of God’s plan for me.

You can contact me at my personal email address

27 July 2022

I’ve spent quite a bit of time recently assisting my parents (97 & 92 years old) who have been sick and now moved to an Aged Care facility. Pray that they, my sisters and I can get help for the necessary paperwork, legal and financial matters. Pray that my parents will sense God’s love and care as they adjust to this major change in their lives.

Please pray for me as I participate in a full week of meetings 25-29 July with leaders and some staff across SIL Pacific Area, to focus on changing mental models of the organisation and its practices that are no longer applicable. Pray too that we can develop practical ways to implement priorities in localisation, relationship with the church and new forms of resourcing.

Thanks for your patience...

Waiting is hard, isn't it. But imagine waiting 2000 years for Scripture in your language! Thanks for your patience. And thanks for your generous support which will help bring the long wait to an end...