Rev. Khaing Moh Moh. © Peter Kenny/WCC

Rev. Khaing Moh Moh. © Peter Kenny/WCC

When the Bossey Ecumenical Institute marked 70 years of formation, hundreds of current and former students, professors and friends gathered at the Château du Bossey to celebrate.

Rev. Khaing Moh Moh was one of that band, but perhaps she travelled the furthest, from Myanmar, where she serves the Shan State Lisu Baptist Association about 200 kilometres north of Mandalay, the country’s second biggest city.

The 1 October 2016 celebration highlighted the ecumenical work of the institute and the role it has had and continues to play in the worldwide ecumenical movement.

A Baptist minister, Khaing was at the time one of a crop students who eventually graduated at the end of January from the Ecumenical Institute, completing the institute’s Certificate of Advanced Studies in Ecumenical Studies.

The 29-year-old said her period of studies opened up a new world.

“At home, I live in a Baptist community in Mogok in central Myanmar and I serve in that community. I don’t have so many friends from different denominations, so this is a first for me,” she said.

“I came here because of our association. In my country we have totally different religious groups. Christianity is a minority group in a diverse culture where we have totally different ethnic groups. I come from a diverse background,” said Khaing.

“I believe ecumenism and the fellowship of the churches is very important for my country. I hope to go back and share what I have learned here. I am happy and excited to be here.”

Khaing comes from a Christian family and her husband Rev. Yang Lay who she married in April 2015, serves as a pastor at a Baptist church in her community.

She finished her bachelor’s degree at a Yangon seminary in 2010. Then she served in her church for two years in the Shwe Tai Lisu state and, after that, continued with a master’s of divinity and graduated in March 2015.

The Baptist minister learned English in school and at her seminary as well as completing a course when she arrived at Bossey.

She noted that in Myanmar more than 80 percent of the people are Buddhists and only 6 percent are Christians, along with smaller minorities of Muslims and Hindus.

“Since I came here I learned not only in the class, but also how to live with people from different backgrounds. I have learned how to live with people from other denomination and different religions. I want to extend this to my fellow Christians and to all the others in my community.

“I want to praise God, to thank God, for this is opportunity to meet people from all over the world, from different countries and denominations, and to have fellowship with them,” said Khaing.

Bossey Ecumenical Institute