Thursday, 15 November 2018

Last day at Bossey

This short visit to Geneva is coming to an end. Tomorrow we go back to Sweden. Lund and Uppsala. We are still expecting the students to fill out the evaluation forms but my impression from what they say is that the journey, so far, was good.

This morning we started with morning devotion. I asked the person in charge if I could say a prayer for our new Principal, Kenneth Nordgren, who started his new position today. I was invited to do that. Good to know that Kenneth was a graduate student at Bossey in the beginning of the 1990s.

Odair with a precious copy of the report
from Uppsala 1968. He said there are
only two copies at the WCC office.
Today we have met three lecturers. Risto Jukko from Church of Finland is the Director of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism. He took us through the history of Mission and Ecumenism from 1910 in Edingburgh.

Odair Pedroso Mateus is the Director of the Commission on Faith and Order. I introduced him by conveying greetings from our outgoing Pricipal, Anne-Louise Eriksson, who happens to be a member of the Faith and Order Commission.

Odair used the General Assembly in Uppsala 1968 as his starting point. I was surprised to hear him talk rather much about issues of justice. I always thought that Faith and Order dealt more with doctrinal matters and ecclesiological themes. Which he also did. But with reference to José Míguez Bonino, who was a member of the commission, he managed to link the passion for justice to the quest for unity.

Elaine Neuenfeldt.
Elaine Neuenfeldt just ended her term as Director of the Women in Church and Society programme at the Lutheran World Federation. She was – as always – an inspiration. Her initial question was about Luke 15. Had we seen any paintings from the narratives about the lost sheep and the prodigal son? The answer was of course yes. How about the third story in the same chapter? Have we seen any paintings of the woman who found the lost coin? Negative!

From there she spoke about four different ways of addressing gender justice issues in the church. Consolidating, tactical, questing and counter-cultural. I realize I need to think more about this. The frame work was borrowed from Linda Woodhead. Very interesting.

Elaine was extremely sad about the election of the new President of Brazil. This means a huge setback when it comes to justice and inclusivity. And of course we also sense this negative trend in our own political life. But in Brazil I understand it is really bad. One example is that so many LGBTI persons are being killed and this will probably become even worse. 

We will go home with many thoughts. For me personally it also meant a lot to reconnect with some ecumenical friends as well as visiting Bossey and the Ecumenical Centre for the first time. Inspiration in a deep sense of the world. Reaffirmation that we – in Church of Sweden – need the worldwide church in our situation as much as others need us.
Saint Christofer. In memoriam of
Martin Luther King Jr 1968.

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