When I joined the World Council of Churches in 1978 as an associate youth director, our offices were on the Jura wing of the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. On this wing we had ecumenists who served the ecumenical movement—Christians and men and women of other faiths around the world—without reservation or hesitation. Four of these included Prof. Paulo Frère, Rev. Dr Hans-Ruedi Weber, Prof. John Pobee and Dr Maria Assad. Today I focus on Rev. Dr Hans-Ruedi Weber who left us last week (October 2020).
As get old, the transit of Rev. Dr Hans-Ruedi Weber to glory reminded me how he inspired me as a young person to commit my life to service and solidarity irrespective of the geographical place. When one walked on the corridor of Jura and met Rev. Dr Hans-Ruedi Weber, you would be encouraged by his latest visit to the liquid continent of the Pacific. He came with new liturgical and Bible study materials. His face always glowed with joy as he either travelled to one of the islands or when he came back. In my view this was a different mission approach where the Pacific islanders were at the center of the development of liturgical and Bible resource materials. The illustrative materials drew my attention because that was a much more accessible mode of communication than only written words.
Indeed as David continued to affirm; God “He is ever merciful… and his descendants are blessed” (NKJV). For the three years I was on the Jura wing, I heard no major event of worry. Instead it was all about how receptive people in the Pacific were to the word of God.
As a descendant of the ecumenical movement who witnessed Rev. Dr Hans-Ruedi Weber’s inspiration, motivation, and total commitment to the promotion of the Gospel; I believe in the ecumenical movement and as a member of the Anglican low church, ecumenism to me is about the gospel of justice, peace and unity inspired by the foundations of the Christian values as clearly espoused by our icon Rev. Dr Hans-Ruedi Weber. I used your work, Rev. Dr Hans-Ruedi Weber, to explain the broad and encompassing nature of the ecumenical movement; in other words unity in diversity not uniformity. Thank you!
God bless your family as you, a man of God, rest in peace! You have fought the good fight, run and completed the race. Thank you for bequeathing us a very rich liturgical and Bible study tradition. Let your example inspire more of the younger generation.
Your contribution to development of liturgy and bible study has not only been contextual and relevant; rather it has solid foundations for the growth of the church and the ecumenical movement.
Thank you, Rev. Dr Hans-Ruedi Weber, for your foot marks point to the continued search for quality liturgical and Bible study resource materials. You leave behind pillars of the word of God in our hearts and in our daily lives.
Dr Agnes Abuom