first impressions

Let me add my introduction to that of my esteemed colleague Aiko, with whom I share an office at the Ecumenical Center. I am Christopher Dorn. I arrived at Geneva from Holland, Michigan USA on 1 September. I am a graduate of Calvin College, Western Theological Seminary, and Marquette University. The first two are Reformed and the last is Roman Catholic. Needless to say, the education I had in these schools accounts in large part for my interest in the ecumenical movement. I am very pleased to be working at its historic center with WCRC for the next year.

Almost everyone knows that Geneva is an international city, but one has to experience it directly to appreciate fully the meaning of the term “international.” I currently reside at the John Knox International Center in Grand-Saconnex, from which I walk each morning to the Ecumenical Center. At the residence I am surrounded by gifted young people. I’ve met Irish, Britons, Ugandans, Kenyans, South Africans, Germans, Portuguese, Brazilians, an Austrian, and a Ph.D. candidate in international business from the French Caribbean. They are all interning at the various NGOs, which are everywhere in Geneva. In fact, John Knox is only a short walk from the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations (UN), and probably many more international institutions I have still to discover. In the meanwhile, I plan to continue talking and going out to explore the city with the interns.

WCRC staff members  have been extremely helpful in accommodating to our needs as we continue to adjust to a new lifestyle among new people  in a new country whose language for the most part is still difficult to understand, at least for me. And they have kept us busy. So far I have been occupied with drafting and editing letters in connection with promoting WCRC’s Global Institute of Theology (GIT). It will be held in June 2012 in Jakarta, Indonesia. I am also engaged in two research projects–the recent history of ecumenical dialogues between the Reformed and some Pentecostal churches and the theological concept of justice. It is important to achieve theological clarity on the nature of justice and what it requires in the various regions of the world. Ecumenical organizations have seen in recent years member churches unite together in common witness against the threats to justice and peace throughout the world. This common witness no doubt remains urgent today.