A blend of photography and reflection, the exhibit comprises 14 framed still images, and invites viewers into a dialogue between image and observer. The photographs, accompanied by short captions—often with a humorous or unexpected twist—are designed to inspire reflection and conversation.
Special guests at the opening event included, in addition to Modéus, Bishop Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee; and Rev. Pehr-Albin Edén, vicar of the Church of Sweden, Switzerland.
Modéus said he finds the art of photography relaxing. “Photography is a relaxing exercise in being present here and now, and to concentrate completely on what it is that you want to capture,” he said. “When you stop in front of a small bird, which weighs no more than a letter, study its colours and feathers, and meet it in its smallness, it becomes a peephole into something much bigger. I never get tired of it!”
Modéus also said that he grew up as a child realizing that text and pictures work together equally. “That says something about how theology comes to us, and how God speaks to us,” he said.
Bedford-Strohm reflected on how the exhibit and visit helped people experience “ecumenism of the heart.”
"The theological exchange on the spiritual sources of the ecumenical movement, on its calling to be a public sign of hope in a divided world, and on the practical work of WCC to fulfill this calling has been inspiring,” he said. “The archbishop has impressed us greatly with his beautiful photos catching special moments in our natural environment. Opening an exhibit with these photos in the Ecumenical Centre was an honor for WCC and will remind us beyond his visit of the rich contributions of the Swedish church to the ecumenical movement.”
Edén thanked Modéus for his beautiful pictures. “There is a lot to learn from the birds,” he said. “They remind us of the grace of God, something we as Lutherans like to underline.”
Edén added: “Birds are flying animals; they fly as they want and as they need and they don’t take borders into consideration. In that way they also remind us of how it all was in the beginning; when one world was created, with no borders and with one united humanity.”
A delegation from the Church of Sweden visited the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation and ACT Alliance on 28-30 November. The delegation included The Most Rev. Dr Martin Modéus, Archbishop of the Church of Sweden, Primate of Uppsala; Rev. Dr Anna Cöster, Theological Secretary to the Bishops Conference in the Church of Sweden; Ms Margareta Langlott, Co-ordinator/Executive Assistant to the Archbishop; Rev. Dr Fredrik Lidé, Chaplain to the Archbishop; Mr Mikael Stjernberg, Press Secretary to the Archbishop; Very Rev. Peter Lindvall, Head of unit for Pastoral development and ecumenical relations, Department for Church and Society and Ms Eva Ekelund, Deputy International Director for ACT Church of Sweden.