For immediate release
Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, Honours Noted Theologian J.I. Packer at Orlando Event 23 February 2009: Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, awarded Dr. James I. Packer with the Wycliffe Lifetime Achievement Award for his noted works in theology. The award was given at a gala banquet held in Orlando, Florida on Friday, February 13th. Dr. Packer is considered one of the most influential leaders of the evangelical movement in Christianity in the 20th century and authored the best seller Knowing God. The gala event was part of the Wycliffe Hall Winter Conference held in Orlando where faculty from Wycliffe Hall lectured and taught along with Packer and Jonathan Aitken. This was the first annual award launched to recognize those who have globally advanced the Christian message in a significant way.
Packer, who is now 82, lives in Vancouver, Canada, where he recently retired from the Department of Theology at Regent College. Packer also served as general editor for the English Standard Version of the Bible. The son of a clerk for the Great Western Railway, Dr. Packer won a scholarship to Oxford University where he was educated at Corpus Christi College where he obtained three degrees. As a student at Oxford, Packer was introduced to the teachings of C. S. Lewis, who become a major influence on his life. In a meeting of the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, Packer committed his life to Christian service. He spent a brief time train for ordination. Packer went on to become the Principal of Tyndale Hall, Bristol, and later as Vice Principal of Trinity College, Bristol. In 1979 he moved to Canada to join the faculty of Regent College.
Following the presentation of the award, Jonathan Aitken, another Wycliffe Hall alumnus, delivered the keynote address. Aitken is a former Member of Parliament and Secretary to the Treasury for the Conservative Party in the UK. In 1999 during a civil trial, Aitken pleaded guilty to perjury and was sentenced to 18 months prison. While behind bars, some of his friends, including the American Chuck Colson, began to share the gospel message of Jesus Christ with him. In his Orlando address, Aitken acknowledged how Dr. Packer’s scholarship, including Knowing God, helped inspire him to study theology.
The Wycliffe Lifetime Achievement Award is named after the 14th century clergyman who began the first translation of the Bible into English. Wycliffe’s passion was that everyone would have the opportunity to hear God’s word in their own language. The Wycliffe legacy continues to live today not only in Oxford but also in Orlando where Wycliffe Bible Translators is headquartered. Wycliffe Hall and Wycliffe Bible Translators, though not officially linked, enjoy a healthy relationship because of their common goals.
ENDS For further information please contact Helen Mitchell, Director of Administration on 01865 274200 Notes to editors For more information on Wycliffe Hall, visit the website http://www.wycliffe.ox.ac.uk Wycliffe Hall is a theological college within the diverse environment of the University of Oxford. We aim to equip our students for their future ministries, through excellent academic teaching, practical ministry experience and living as part of a vibrant and supportive Christian community.