The study day first engaged with the World Council of Churches (WCC) pilgrimage experience between the 10th and 11th assemblies, touching upon pilgrim visits, theological reflections within the WCC, and collaborative efforts with churches and ecumenical partners.
Through all their discussions, the students and professors discovered a sense of resilience and unity in the face of adversity.
As the new phase of the pilgrimage has started with the recent WCC assembly, the institute invited the students to contribute their reflections to the three thematic fields of justice, reconciliation, and unity. Students engaged in intensive group discussion and then plenary presentations that vividly engaged real life issues underneath these big concepts. As they embarked on this intellectual journey, they discussed complexities and tensions, and wholeheartedly reconfirmed their dedication to justice, reconciliation, and unity, as they envisioned a pilgrimage that holds the churches accountable to their calling.
Rev. Dr Kuzipa Nalwamba, who serves as the WCC programme director for Unity, Mission, and Ecumenical Formation, described the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey as “an experiment in ecumenical formation.”
She stressed that this year’s Dies Academicus had a specific focus, which was to deeply reflect upon the concept of the Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity. “This concept is viewed as an essential and fundamental part of the journey and a dimension that should be treated with the utmost seriousness and consideration,” Nalwamba said. “This event is seen as an initial effort to contribute to the future development and understanding of the Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity.”
Rev. Dr Simone Sinn, academic dean of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, emphasized the importance of experiential knowledge in ecumenical theology, stating that it "requires personal experience and a commitment to sharing those experiences." She urged the students to carry the spirit of being "ambassadors of the pilgrimage" with them into their respective contexts beyond their time in Bossey.
Students passionately deliberated on how the pilgrimage approach could help address the challenges of our times, seeking to bridge the gap between ideals and reality.
In the afternoon, the students came together to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the WCC, sharing a cake that symbolized the life and legacy of a WCC committed to empowering and transforming people and churches at every age.