“Congratulations for being a student at Bossey!” Fr Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, director of the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey and deputy general secretary, welcomed the students for the new academic year 2018-2019. Thirty-one students from diverse countries and traditions will start their classes at the ecumenical institute on Tuesday.
On their first orientation day, students together with the faculty prayed for the community at Bossey “that our encounter and study, our listening and speaking gives space for your love to grow among us”. Prayers were accompanied by lively songs and students were pleased to teach their traditional songs to their fellow colleagues.
Having just arrived at Bossey, a few students shared their expectation and hope for this coming year of studies.
Lidia Lebang, from the Reformed Church in Indonesia, says: “I am looking forward to experiencing the ecumenical spirit in Bossey. Learning from books is different than encountering people from other traditions”.
Mitrofan Bozhko, from the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, explains: “I am here because of the history of my country. Different confessions were fighting in Ukraine, but the Orthodox Church has built a relationship with other denominations. While keeping our identity, we are now united and we do not fight anymore”.
Jency Manjuka, from the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka, explains: “In Sri Lanka, Christians are in minority and we are struggling to work and walk together. I want to practice ecumenism in Bossey and bring this experience back to my land”.
Faremi Emannuel, from the Anglican Church of Nigeria, says: “I want to get used to the ecumenical walk, learn about ecumenical relationship between churches and people”.
Lani Anaya, from the Methodist Church in Mexico, explains: “My friend from Malaysia told me: ‘Christians are not as united as they should be’. Since then, this phrase is growing in me”.
A diverse orientation programme has been organized for the new students. Among other activities, students will be visiting the biometric data collection center in Lausanne, praying at the Abbaye de Bonmont in Chéserex, and visiting Old Town Geneva as well as the Ecumenical Center.
Sauca concludes the first morning of the orientation programme by recalling to all the students: “Ecumenism of book and ecumenisms of life are different. Both are important”.