The Celtic Languages Breton, Cornish, Irish Gaelic, Manx Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Shelta and Welsh

The Celtic Languages Team, circa 2000.

The Celtic Languages Team (the CeLT) is a division of Linguæ Christi with the goal of sharing the Good News of God’s Kingdom among Celtic language speakers in the United Kingdom, Ireland and France. The CeLT's beginnings go back to late 90s when the International Mission Board began focusing their mission work on people groups instead of nation-states. This ethnolingustic shift had profound implications for John Robinson, Linguæ Christi's founder, who at that time was working with the Baptist Union of Wales.

John Robinson, General Director of Linguæ Christi
"I realised that Welsh was one language in a small branch, known as Celtic, of the Indo-European languages family tree, and it had a few linguistic 'cousins', speaking related languages. I simply began asking questions like, 'Who is reaching Irish Gaelic speakers with the Gospel?' or 'who is reaching Breton speakers with the Gospel?'"

– Excerpt from Linguæ Christi's Vision & Introductory Paper by John Robinson

An American youth choir visits North Wales

In this way the Celtic Languages Team first began and continues to this day. This awareness of indigenous, minority speakers in Celtic contexts begin to raise similar questions in John's mind for comparable groups across Europe. This was the inception of Linguæ Christi, a monumental mission aiming to bring the Gospel to 65 million people across Europe who speak an indigenous, minority language.

Americans students stop on the way to the National Eisteddfod in 2017
"The ongoing work of the CeLT as part of this enormous vision of Linguæ Christi is certainly beyond my capabilities and that of our whole, currently existing Team of missionaries. It is truly a God-Sized task. For that reason, I am convinced that He is leading in it and enabling along the way and providing all that is required in both human and material resources for us to embrace this calling for His glory, His Kingdom, and for the joy of these “nations” who still wait for a witness in their language."

– Excerpt from Linguæ Christi's Vision & Introductory Paper by John Robinson

The Church in the Celtic Nations

The history of the Church in the Celtic nations varies greatly, though its inception can be traced back to the 2nd century with the arrival of the Romans in far-western Europe and the British Isles. The following centuries saw both institutional and independent church movements, some of which exploded with such fervour that many other nations around the world in turn received the Gospel.

Today, as in much of Western Europe, there are few believers. Churches tend to be small and few, despite the rich history that precedes them. Though the oldest generations remember Sunday School or Confirmation, their children and grandchildren especially have little knowledge of who Jesus is.

A remnant of believers does remain, however, and together we are working to rebuild the Kingdom of God in Wales, Ireland, Brittany, the Isle of Man, Cornwall and Scotland.

Linguistic Family Tree

The Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family is comprised of two branches. The first branch, Brittonic, includes:

  • Breton
  • Cornish
  • and Welsh

The second branch, Goidelic, includes:

  • Irish Gaelic
  • Manx Gaelic
  • and Scottish Gaelic

A seventh language, Shelta, is spoken by Irish Travellers; little is known about it outside the Travellers community.

The Celtic Nations

The linguistic heartland for the Celtic Languages is focused in and around the British Isles. Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man make up the northern half (the Goidelic branch) of the group, while Wales, Cornwall and Brittany form the southern half (the Brittonic branch). About 3,000,000 Celtic language speakers live here.

The nation-states represented here include the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and France. Today's estimate puts around 3,200,000 heritage speakers and learners all across the globe, though largely concentrated in:

  • the United States
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Argentina (site of a Welsh colony in the 1800s)


Created with images by PlumLord - "stonehenge megalith monument" • Nils Nedel - "Ring of Kerry" • aitoff - "stone celtic cross ancient celtic cross cemetery" • Michael D Beckwith - "untitled image" • Aaron Burden - "untitled image"

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