During the Sunday worship service, the students, from 22 different countries, sang, prayed, and read scriptures.
“This is an important part of the welcome weekend,” explained Rev. Dr Simone Sinn, academic dean of the institute. “We are profoundly thankful for the parishioners kindness towards us.”
Rev. Linda Sibuet, said she was grateful to renew and strengthen the historic links between Parish Terre Sainte Céligny and the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey. “By strengthening the welcome we can offer them, we are also being welcomed by them,” she said. “It is a mutual, cordial welcome.”
In her sermon on Psalm 121 she compared the students of Bossey to pilgrims on a journey to better meet God, to better know him. “We are with the students on their journey, and together we can help each other to raise our eyes to the mountains!” she said. “All the parishioners found this year's class to be particularly warm.”
Students share their path to Bossey
Mary Yasini, a student from the UK who is studying for the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Ecumenical Studies, said she heard about Bossey from her theological college, Westcott House in Cambridge.
“I am in my final year of training for the ordained ministry in the Church of England,” she explained. “I just finished my master's in Theology from the University of Cambridge and was sponsored to spend a semester at Bossey learning about ecumenism.”
She chose to study at Bossey because of the programme's integration of academics with practice. “This is a valuable opportunity to build on my previous research on global Christianity and intercultural studies,” she said. “I expect to be ordained as deacon in July 2023 and priest in July 2024.”
She also hopes to continue in her research in unity and intercultural theology with further postgraduate research. “Moreover, I envisage my studies in ecumenism to lead to opportunities for further collaborations, both in my context in the UK, and also more internationally.”
Lempang H Phom, from the Baptist Church in Nagaland, India, is planning to earn a master’s in Ecumenical Studies. He first came to know about Bossey when he joined Bishop’s College in Kolkata, India to earn his bachelor’s degree in Divinity. “It is one of the oldest theological colleges in India, which is very much ecumenical,” he said.
One particular core course at Bishop’s College, “History of the ecumenical movement,” also deepened his interest. “Also I see that, to understand the real spirit of the ecumenical movement and to be an ecumenist in my own context, Bossey is the right place, since Bossey is considered the starting point, the root, of ecumenical engagement,” he said. “I hope, believe, and look forward that my ecumenical engagement towards my fellow students and professors will allow me to understand further and deepen God’s diversity towards Christianity and other faiths.”
Rev. Fr Irineos Shengelia Georgia, from the Georgian Orthodox Church, is hoping to earn a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Ecumenical Studies. “I learned about the Bossey Ecumenical Institute from friends, who were alumni of this institute,” he said. “Bossey is a volcano of faith that throws sparks of hope, and I want to be honest, this spark touched my heart as well!”
Georgia said he has expectations for a bright future! "I believe that the seed of hope planted in me, will bear many good fruits by the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey,” he said.