“In the microcosm of Bossey, you have learned how to live together in the world at large,” said WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, addressing students of different Christian traditions from 25 churches and 19 countries. “We describe ecumenism as being together – walking, working, praying together, and changing the world together. My prayer is that you will use what you have acquired here to be the hands, the feet, and the voice of God, as he transforms the world through you.”
Upon completion of their studies during this autumn semester 2022-23, 18 students received their Certificates of Advanced in Ecumenical Studies, and 9 students Complementary Certificates in Ecumenical Studies.
Addressing the graduates, Prof. Dr Elisabeth Gangloff Parmentier, dean of the faculty of Protestant theology at University of Geneva, encouraged students not to be afraid of otherness, which can both challenge and change our attitudes and way of thinking. “Most often change comes not from ideas or arguments, but from meeting other persons. So – don’t be afraid of the otherness, as it helps us to change and see who we are, and what we can bring to the world we live in.”
“Bossey has shaped a lot how I see the other person, and that will impact my service in the church in future,” shared Denis Pattinasarany of the Protestant Church in the Moluccas, one of the graduates from Indonesia. “It is very common in my country to meet people of different religious traditions. But to meet people from the same religion, but different theological traditions – that was unfamiliar to me, and this has been an incredibly worthy experience I will bring to my home church.”
Bossey graduates began their journey together in August 2022, as they travelled to the WCC 11th Assembly and joined the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI) programme in Karlsruhe, Germany. “Starting with this vibrant experience of the ecumenical movement, you then deepened it by walking together, learning together and building community together during the past five months in Bossey,” said Rev. Dr Simone Sinn, academic dean of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey.
“You have been inducted into ecumenism during a time of generational transition in the ecumenical movement”, said Rev Dr Kuzipa Nalwamba, WCC programme director of Unity, Mission and Ecumenical Formation In her closing remarks at the graduation. “In you, the ecumenical vision has it constructive advocates, critiques and implementers.”
The WCC’s Ecumenical Institute at Château de Bossey is a unique place for ecumenical education. A part of the World Council of Churches and attached to the University of Geneva, the Ecumenical Institute offers three distinct study programmes on the graduate level, focusing on the challenges for the churches in the 21st century and the responses of the modern ecumenical movement.
Photo gallery of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute graduation