Ecumenical Institute at Bossey

The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey is the international centre for encounter, dialogue and formation of the World Council of Churches. Founded in 1946, the Institute brings together people from diverse churches, cultures and backgrounds for ecumenical learning, academic study and personal exchange.

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Mask intentions of ex-Bossey student from China provide Swiss succour

Mask intentions of ex-Bossey student from China provide Swiss succour

Photo courtesy of Rev. Jianmei Jing

07 May 2020

Former Bossey student Rev. Jianmei Jing who works at the Jingling Protestant Church in Hongkou near Shanghai in China has shown that masking your intention can be a truly Christian act.

At significant sacrifice during the current COVID-19 pandemic when they were in short supply, she managed to get hold of 300 face masks and sent them to the Bossey community who she knew needed them in Switzerland.

“Last month I found out that the affected number of people in Switzerland was climbing up, and my heart is close to our Bossey,” the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Institute, just outside Geneva, said Jing.

On 6 May, Switzerland had recorded 30,060 people being affected by COVID-19 and reported the deaths of 1,505 people.

China was the first country to suffer from the novel coronavirus at the end of 2019. The presence of the disease was announced to the World Health Organization on 3 January. China had registered 83,968 cases of the virus on 6 May with 4,637 deaths.

Chinese church members pray for world

“Fortunately, my family and my church members are all well without being affected by COVID-19, but each day I focus on the international data of those affected. Our church is praying for the world every day,” said Jing.

Jing’s former Ecumenical Missiology professor at Bossey, Dr Benjamin Simon had sent her an email earlier this year calling for papers in a song-writing competition to all students.

“So, I asked him if I could mail some masks. Benjamin told me they are all working at home, but some graduate students were staying at Bossey. I hope the masks help them keep COVID-19 away.”

“In China, especially in February, the situation was very, very, serious and masks were valuable and difficult to get. At that time, I had to wait for a long time for 5-10 masks for one family.”

“But with the help of a sister in my church, I was able to buy 300 masks. I know it's not much, but it brings my greetings and blessings to my beloved Bossey.”

Core values of Bossey

Fr Dr Lawrence Iwuamadi, dean of the Ecumenical Institute said, “This gesture points to the core values of Bossey, which of course are the core Christian values of love and being attentive to the needs of others."

“It warms the heart to know that former students are thinking of their colleagues, current students and their alma mater.”

Simon who is now the WCC’s programme executive for church relations said when Jing made her offer, “I immediately realized how close we as human beings are - COVID19 is not a national threat but something to be dealt with globally and in unity."

“Bossey is where we learn to care for each other despite the differences.”

Jing said, “As Bossey students, we practice learning from each other and to respect the other. In our faith, we trust in one Lord, one faith, one baptism. We are different but we are one family in God.”

Ecumenical Institute at Bossey

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