Oh boy, I’m so behind!!! There’s so much to catch you up on from the last couple of weeks, so get ready for a couple of back-to-back posts over the next few days….
First, I have to tell you about the 70th anniversary celebration we had here at Bossey a couple of weekends ago to honor seventy years of ecumenical formation and dialogue that has taken place at the Ecumenical Institute. Think about that… since 1946, students from all over the world have been coming to this small town in Switzerland to prepare themselves to be better pastors and church leaders and world-changers through the ecumenical movement. If every class size were the same as our current class of 35, that means there are almost 2,500 people back home in their own communities and denominations all over the world working for Christian unity. And that doesn’t include the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish students that have been coming for the last decade for interfaith formation and dialogue! What a difference this place is making in the realization of God’s kingdom!
The whole campus was filled for the weekend with former students, staff, and professors, as well as “friends of Bossey” from across Switzerland and Europe who have helped support the Institute over the years. We shared in two special worship services planned by the current students, and we also had a really fun opportunity on Sunday morning to participate and serve as the choir in a worship service that was broadcast live on the radio all across Switzerland! (You can read more about the weekend as well as find a link to listen to the worship service on the WCC’s website at http://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/bossey-forming-ambassadors-of-reconciliation. (The audio of the worship service starts at 57:45 and is all in French, but you can at least listen to us sing!!)
We also had an incredibly special opportunity to hear a guest lecture from the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, one of the most prominent leaders in Sunni Islam . He was in Geneva to meet with leaders from the World Council of Churches and came to Bossey for the afternoon to give a lecture on the role of religious leaders in peace-building. It was a real treat to hear from him and to continue to learn more about how Muslims and Christians can work together to fight terrorism and help bring about peace and justice for all people.
It was a privilege to get to meet so many former students and to hear where their lives and ministries have taken them, due in part to what they learned and the formation that happened for them while at Bossey – many are bishops, ecumenical officers, and leaders in their denominations, along with parish pastors, chaplains, missionaries, and so much more! I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for this current group of students.
So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BOSSEY and here’s to many, many more years!