A group of Bossey students play music

A group of students play music as they share time together during the opening week of the academic year at Bossey.


Gathering for an opening prayer service in the Bossey chapel on 8 September, students from around the world embarked on what will be an intense period of ecumenical community building, of academic learning, and for many an experience of a lifetime.

Bossey professor Rev. Dr Simone Sinn, who serves as academic dean at Bossey since 1 August 2021, reflects on what now awaits the students as they take up their ecumenical studies at Bossey. “The opening of the semester is always a special time here at Bossey, as our students begin to explore what it means to live in community with people from other countries, cultures and Christians traditions. This is an often challenging, but also deeply rewarding experience,” Sinn says.

“Students engage with diversity and difference, and in doing that they discover  profound connectivity between them. At Bossey, ecumenical studies is at the same time an embodied experience and an exciting intellectual endeavour,” she reflects.

Bossey students and faculty gather for opening prayer in the chapel

As students and faculty gathered for opening prayer in the Bossey chapel, Rev. Dr Joomee Hur, new professor of Missiology at Bossey, shared a reflection on the parable of the lost sheep, emphasizing how Jesus showed solidarity with marginalized people.


And for the students, expectations are already high for the time ahead.

Sarah Betzig, a student from the LifeStone Church (Assemblies of God) in the USA, reflects on her time onsite in Bossey so far. 

“I’ve been interested in ecumenism for a number of years, and I saw this was a place to study ecumenism academically but also to live it out,” Betzig says.

“There are definitely points where I see we are a cross-cultural community, but there is a lot of grace here because people want to understand that and want to learn.”

Bossey students gathered for the introductory event

The opening week at Bossey includes a variety of activities for students to get to know each other and settle into their new learning environment. Here, gathered for one of the introductory lectures.


Carolina Zamorano Martínez from the Methodist Church of Mexico, was one of the students who have already spent a few months at Bossey, arriving in June to take part in the Institute’s preparatory English course.

”In my ministry, I’m a pastor and so I think it’s so helpful not just the academic part of the courses but the multicultural interaction so I can learn a lot from other countries. I hope this helps my ministry,” she reflects. 

“I think this is the main point of ecumenism: to learn how to love each other even if you don’t think the same,” Zamorano Martínez adds.

Students walking to the Bossey opening event

Students walk through the Bossey garden after prayers.


‘A good place to study’

As the semester begins, the Ecumenical Institute offers a weeklong orientation programme for the students to find their footing in a new learning environment.

Activities include ecumenical prayers, sharing meals, and attending introductory lectures together, but also engagement with the local communities in the area, and on 12 September, the students have been invited attend a welcoming Sunday service at the Reformed Church Terre Sainte-Céligny.

Arnold Swai, a student from Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, explains as background to his coming to Bossey, that his first encounter with the World Council of Churches was through attending the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism that was held in Arusha, Tanzania in 2018.

“I believe this will be good for my church and the life of my church,” he reflects.

Peng Du from the China Christian Council agrees: “I want to learn something about the ecumenical movement. I find it a very beautiful place, and I’ve found that different countries are all very friendly and I think it’s a good place to study.”

Aleksandr Vozhdaev from Russia, and the Moscow Patriarchate, continues: “I decided to visit this place because it’s important for me, for my education and future—ecumenical topics are interesting for me.”

“It is only my third day here, but I noticed that there are friendly people, mountains—the nature is beautiful—and tasty food!” Vozhdaev concludes.

Photos from the opening of the Academic year in the Bossey Ecumenical Institute

Ecumenical Institute at Bossey