September 5 2022, Karlsruhe, Germany: People play Swiss alphorns during a reunion of students from the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, during a break in the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches.

The theme of the August 31-September 8 Assembly is "Christ's Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity."


Approximately 3,500 people from different countries took part in the assembly.  One of the most important events that took place during the assembly happened on 6 September. It was the Bossey alumni meeting. This was an incredibly emotional, joyful experience for everyone.

This meeting was planned under the leadership of the Protestant Church in Switzerland and the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. The Protestant Church had particular responsibility to host the Bossey alumni. The meeting opened with Swiss folk music, which brought us all together. The music, atmosphere, and local hospitality all reminded us of the time we had spent together.

WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca greeted the body. He addressed the Bossey alumni, professors, and president of the Protestant Churches of Switzerland, thanking them for their support. Sauca said: I was also happy to have an introduction by the Swiss people here and the president of the Protestant churches here with us.” He expressed gratitude for the alumni and noted the Bossey alumni as a valuable presence in Switzerland.

Rev. Merlyn Hyde Riley from Jamaica spoke on behalf of the Bossey alumni. About 200 Bossey alumni were present. Today, each of them is in church leadership, in responsible decision-making positions, and are also instrumental in foundational planning for important church projects with the state.

The Networking Zone really became a new opportunity for innovation, as alumni exchanged information and experiences, which some have accumulated over decades. Among the graduates was one who graduated from Bossey in the 1970s.

Bossey is a place where the human heart feels true love and unity. A unique place like this is difficult to find elsewhere. As the graduates shared their feelings with each other, they collectively noted that Bossey is the heart of ecumenism. It is a place where everyone is given the opportunity to be who they are and be truly accepted by the ecumenical family. Bossey can be described as a place where true love blossoms: a high standard of equality and protection of human rights are honoured.

The need for unity is essential to life and for Christian love. Unity is not an option. Unity is an obligation for the Christian. Once again, it became clear how strong Christian love reigns among Bossey graduates. Bossey is branded with unity of love. We can safely say that the graduates of Bossey are the light of the world and an example of love as Jesus commanded for his disciples (Matt. 5:14, John 13:34-35). It can be said that the main direction of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute to continue the unity among the graduates and spread the Christian ecumenical spirit throughout the world with love is being successfully implemented. This was evident during their meeting.

At the end, Rev. Dr Simone Sinn, academic dean of the institute, thanked everyone for coming and ended the meeting with a grateful agape, which was also organised by the Protestant Churches of Switzerland.

Photos from the Bossey alumni meeting at the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe


About the author :

Fr. Andria Saria is a priest of the Georgian Orthodox Church and a former Bossey student


The impressions expressed in the blog posts are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.