LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt

LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt.


LWF general secretary Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt reflected that many have been connected to this space for years, some even for decades. 

For some of us, this routine, this location, have become part of our lives, and we feel safe in this well-known atmosphere,” she said. It is hard to imagine that this building will be empty in a few months.”

But a memory is never just a memory, she added. Even sad and difficult memories make a difference to our experience and to our present attitudes and choices,” she said. The theological work produced here has opened so many possibilities for churches and their members, possibilities that previous generations would not have even imagined.”

Burghardt noted that thousands, even millions of people, have been empowered and supported thanks to decisions made at the Ecumenical Centre. 

There are also many among us who are excited about the new beginning!” she said. Closing old doors also means opening new ones; changing space and changing work habits can help us to gain new insights and new perspectives.”

The ecumenical commitment of the Lutheran World Federation remains unwavering, Burghardt said. The places, where we are or have been, have their significance, no doubt,” she said. But more important is the mission that guides and motivates us on our common way.”

The Lutheran World Federation continues to be on the same mission with its ecumenical sister organizations, she added. This mission is to make Gods love visible in the world, so that the world may become a more just and reconciled place,” she said. "We remain grateful for the years of sharing the same building and we look forward to close cooperation and continuous participation in Gods mission in the coming years.”

New space will emerge

WCC director of the Office of the General Secretariat Doug Chial, speaking on behalf of the WCC general secretary, reflected that it was a honor to celebrate with the Lutheran World Federation. 

What unites all of us here today is that we are moving,” said Chial. The Lutheran World Federation moved to Octagon last week and many of us are moving to Kyoto in June.”

Kyoto is part of the Green Village development project that will newly house the WCC. Chial cited the long history of the WCC and Lutheran World Federation in the Ecumenical Centre. The Ecumenical Centre opened in July 1965,” he said. It was a much-celebrated event in the ecumenical movement.”

Chial added that the Ecumenical Centre was a concrete expression of the 1952 Lund Principle – to do together what can be done together, and to do separately what is best done separately. 

The Ecumenical Centre has not stopped changing,” said Chial. Now, it will close for renovation and a new space will emerge, inviting us together again in a building called Lima.”

Chial noted that the WCC and LWF share a common mission to strengthen the collaboration between the churches – both in what they believe together and what they do together. We will not meet in the cafeteria or at the coffee machine, but we will continue our common mission,” said Chial. It is our friendship, our companionship, not these walls, that have enriched the ecumenical movement.”

The WCC will continue to work together, pray together, and serve together with the Lutheran World Federation, he noted.

During this time when we are apart, may our faith keep us close,” said Chial. May our history together in this space inspire our future together in serving Gods creation.”

LWF Geneva headquarters move to new office (LWF news release, 14 March 2024)