Moving forward amid the COVID-19 pandemic, seven students were able to attend a one-month course at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute, from 3 August to 2 September, to strengthen their English-speaking skills. The short course was designed to help them succeed in their upcoming post-graduate ecumenical studies.
Rev. Fr Dr Lawrence Iwuamadi, dean of the Ecumenical Institute, said the students and their promising futures are signs of hope in a difficult time. “We are thankful to God that the uncertainties caused by COVID-19 did not stop Bossey from keeping the commitment to the churches and the world,” he said. “That we eventually were able to have courses is a true sign of hope in the context of the pandemic.”
Fr Elkess Bimen Yasser Nassef Youssef Khalil, from the Arab Republic of Egypt (Coptic Orthodox Church), said the intensive English course helped him improve his speaking skills in order to interact with other people without being afraid of making mistakes in front of them. “I am now able to communicate more freely and comfortably with my colleagues on a variety of topics,” he said. “I am looking forward to my upcoming studies, learning more about the ecumenical movement, especially in the last 50 years, and the role it plays by helping different churches and its people.”
Rev. Karla Selene Evangelista Segoviano, from Mexico (Methodist Church), described Bossey as a beautiful place to study. “The staff always seem to be happy!” she said. “They are kind, helpful and respectful.”
Wanta Khosin, who is from Thailand (Church of Christ), agreed that teachers are very kind and they care about the students. “I love my room; it is not a big room but it is beautiful,” said Khosin. “The food here is delicious and all the chefs are kind and friendly.”
For Rev. L Shaw La Mong Oo from the Republic of Myanmar (Lisu Baptist Convention), Bossey represents both a home and a family. “Although we come from different countries and different doctrines, we can connect with each other,” said Oo. “Before I started studying English, I thought it would be different for me, but in fact, the atmosphere in the English class is quite relaxed.”
Victoria Godfrey, who served as an English teacher, said it was a blessing to work with such a diverse group of young people coming from all corners of the world. “I particularly enjoyed embracing diversity as well as their wonderful sense of humour!” she said. “The Ecumenical Institute staff made me feel welcome and happy to be a part of their community that I will always cherish.”