Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, is in Bern to meet the President of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, Gottfried Locher, and the presidents of FSPC member churches. Tveit’s first official visit as general secretary involved a discussion of core issues facing the worldwide ecumenical movement.
“The World Council of Churches is a visible sign of our global church community.” Those were the words with which Gottfried Locher, Council President of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) greeted the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Olav Fykse Tveit, today at FSPC headquarters in Bern. Locher added that the “WCC provides the Federation with a worldwide church voice,” while the FSPC also took on an “indispensable external face” through its international contacts.
Upon this, his first official visit to the Protestant Churches of the WCC host country, Tveit spoke on how the FSPC, as a WCC founding member, was greatly recognized for “a deep ecumenical commitment and an ecumenical ethos”. He added that the Swiss Protestant churches were “active, reliable, and critical participants” in the ecumenical movement and the WCC.
The meeting between the WCC General Secretary and a delegation of the FSPC and its member churches provided a glimpse into the state of mutual relations and an outlook on future cooperation. The Ecumenical Institute Bossey was in focus as an important project that has received decades of strong financial support from the Swiss churches. The center, which was founded in 1946 to provide ecumenical academic training, offers courses and research opportunities to students from around the world. The institute has, however, come into financial difficulties due to the global financial crisis and a slowdown in donations. The FSPC Assembly of Representatives recently agreed in Lausanne to support Bossey financially in the coming year as well.