Dies Academicus taking place in Ecumenical Institute of Bossey

The week of Dies Academicus taking place in Ecumenical Institute of Bossey on the 25th October 2023 with the theme Pligrimage of Justice, Reconcilliation, and Unity.


Especially the latter, the unity, was felt again and again. For example, in the service at the beginning, when Prof. Ivana Noble, director of the Ecumenical Institute in Prague, explained to the students that ecumenism means having to leave the comfort zone. Kind of bizarre when you have the Swiss idyll in front of your eyes at the same time. Or during the presentations of the students who intoned "We shall overcome" and "Amazing Grace" to perform justice, reconciliation, and unity.

On the other hand, Dr Benjamin Simon and Dr Joo Me Hur, looking back at the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan in 2013, explained what it means to set out on a pilgrimage. Simon emphasised the process character and at the same time stressed that pilgrimage always has a spiritual dimension. With regard to Busan, it is important that justice and peace are not the goal of pilgrimage, but the elements that are constitutive of pilgrimage itself. Then, Hur said, this pilgrimage is "exodus to life" and "a journey of faith." The religious and spiritual dimension of pilgrimage was impressively deepened by Dr Andrej Jeftic, director of Faith and Order, when he interpreted pilgrimage as a metaphor and thus as "moving" and interpreted such a movement as a movement "towards the reign of God.”

Even more: Simone Sinn, dean of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, recalled that it was precisely the young participants at the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe who insisted that ecumenical efforts must keep the aspect of justice in focus - an appeal to the students and an encouragement that they too can achieve change. No less impressive - or rather, moving - were the accounts of Sister Emilienne Muhawanimana. She shared with everyone her memories of the genocide in Rwanda. Her story illustrated how difficult reconciliation and rebuilding relationships can be. At the same time, the students were able to sense the great treasure they can have "united together as Bossey students" and what a privilege it is to be able to "listen to each other.”

Summing up the study day, dean Sinn underlined that "ecumenical theology needs experience and has to share experience.” She encouraged the students to continue to be "ambassadors of the pilgrimage" in their contexts after their time in Bossey, leading on to the 75th anniversary of the World Council of Churches, which was celebrated in style with a large cake in a convivial setting. "The values you mentioned today," Sinn said, addressing the students, "are similar to what the fathers and mothers of the WCC emphasized." And the mothers and fathers of WCC in 1948, like the students today, also set out not only to see the summit, but also to climb it. With the help of God they may see their holy land.

About the author :

Rev. Dominik Koy serves as advisor for cross-denominational issues and journalism at the Bensheim Denominational Institute, Germany.


The impressions expressed in the blog posts are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.