As a confessionally Reformed theologue at a Roman Catholic university, it was with good reason that I quickly became an enthusiastic student of the ecumenical movement and the historic general assemblies that the World Council of Churches (WCC) held from its founding at Amsterdam in 1948 to its most recent at Porto Alegre in 2006. During those long years of graduate study at Marquette University, it never entered my mind that I would one day work at the hub of the ecumenical movement: the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.
What I’ve had in mind during the last two weeks or so is to use this platform to provide a “virtual” guided tour of the Ecumenical Centre. It will consist for the most part of photographs accompanied by captions that hopefully will connect together to form a coherent narrative. Since my photographer is not in the office today, I can use this post only to announce my intention and give a brief introduction.
We work in one “wing” of a two-storeyed multiplex that was designed and constructed between the third and fourth general assemblies of the WCC (New Delhi 1961 and Uppsala 1968). The site was provided by the Canton of Geneva in exchange for property on the Route de Malagnou, on the other side of the Lake of Geneva, where until this time WCC staff had been working. Situated in a zone designated for the World Health Organization, the International Labour Office, et al., with the United Nations’ Palais des Nations at the center, the new location was and still is ideal for a global organization. By 1964 staff members were able to move into their new offices. In the following year the conference hall and chapel were completed.
More to come . . .