Life-changing, the same word WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca used in his speech addressing the Bossey alumni at lunchtime on 5 September. Around 100 former students had gathered in the Networking Zone. Rev. Dr Simone Sinn, academic dean of the institute, welcomed everyone and tried to figure out which students from which years were present. Amazing to see so many students from recent years. Most of them participated in the 11th assembly in one way or the other.
Sauca gave a special address. He arrived as teacher in Bossey in the year of my graduate school before he became director in 2001. My memories took me back and some lifted up especially because of what Sauca said and had shared at the thematic plenary on Europe on 2 September. I remembered how he witnessed his Christian faith in Bossey and listened how he did now. Now, thanks to Bossey, if I am right, he started to speak about his pilgrimage to Ukraine for meetings on various levels. As he told us, one of those meetings was with former students, all former Bossey students from Ukraine. He had invited them for a drink and pizza. All of them came, with various backgrounds, for this special moment of sharing. Not only the pizza, I guess, probably also their stories, faith, and compassion as companions sharing the Bread of Life.
Sauca emphasized how the Bossey community could be an example for the whole of the ecumenical movement and churches. I remember our Bossey chapel, where we sang various hymns all together, as we do at the assembly, read the same Bible, as we do at the assembly, prayed for everyone in God’s whole world, as we do at the assembly, and listened to each other’s stories with dignity and respect, as we do at the assembly, visible and invisible.
Back to the Bossey reunion: Sauca spoke about Bossey as life-changing. Yes, it had changed my life and many lives into a new ecumenical family, the Bossey family. For Sauca, a reason to make a special Bossey-family-portrait that afternoon. A portrait that shows all our various backgrounds, denominations, personal stories with joys, wounds, and pilgrimages of deepening faith for openness to a transformative spirituality to be one in Christ’s love that moves all of us. A gift of grace that may lead us to justice, reconciliation, and unity. Before we were invited for some drinks and tasty finger food, we sang together “Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas Deus ibi est.”