Former students share their memories of the Ecumenical Institute

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In a collection of essays, former students of the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey share how their years at the Institute created some of their fondest memories. Their experience inspired a new understanding of Christian unity and ecumenical endeavours they have undertaken in churches around the globe.

The essays are featured in a recent World Council of Churches (WCC) publication A Place to Remember - the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, now available online. Around fifty former students of the Ecumenical Institute have contributed essays to the collection.

The Institute, which is part of the WCC, has provided ecumenical formation through its various academic programmes since 1946. It is located in a unique setting, overlooking Lake Geneva and the French and Swiss Alps.

In the forward of the publication, Prof. Ioan Sauca, director of the Ecumenical Institute, shared his own memories of the Institute, where he came initially as a student in 1985.

“Bossey has remained in the memories of many people who have visited or studied here. This collection of essays is a testimony to the life changing experiences which have been taking place here for the past 67 years,” he wrote.

The Institute, Sauca said, “continues to be a unique place and an important WCC programme that shapes the identity of the many students today who continue making a difference when they return home.”

One such student, Rev. Ainsley Griffiths, who attended the Ecumenical Institute in 1997, reported in his essay, “Living in a vibrantly international ecumenical community brought me greater awareness of the connections between the gospel and culture and the importance of understanding and engaging with our contexts before venturing in mission.”

“Bossey also opened my eyes to the world’s pain in a vivid way so that when I listen to the international news about atrocities, upheavals, environmental changes and human suffering across the world, I can relate the headlines to the lives of individuals whom I regard as friends.”

“For having had the privilege to be part of such a diverse, loving, challenging, aspirational, stimulating and Spirit-filled community, I remain deeply thankful,” Griffiths added.

A Place to Remember - the ecumenical institute at Bossey will be launched on 1 November at the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea.

Source: (Oct. 18, 2013)