Swiss churches mark common commitment to support migrants

By agency reporter
June 3, 2013

The collective action of congregations in Geneva, Switzerland, serving migrant communities, has been celebrated at the Ecumenical Centre, on 2 June 2013, in multi-language worship, dance, exhibitions from partner organisations, and a feast of food from many nations.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) co-sponsored the event, part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the John Knox Centre, a key sponsor of the Witnessing programme.

The programme, coordinated by the Rev Dr Roswitha Golder, supports ministry to migrant communities in the Geneva area. Golder is a Geneva-based pastor who coordinates Witnessing Together in Geneva.

The involvement of the John Knox Centre is no accident since one of the founders of Witnessing Together in Geneva was the JKC’s former programme director, Lukas Vischer.

John Knox himself, a former galley slave, lived in exile for three and one-half years in Geneva.

The Swiss Federation of Protestant Churches includes about 300 congregations with a strong migrant presence, and almost 100 of them are in the Witnessing movement.

Cyril Ritchie, the current president of the John Knox Centre, saluted the programme, saying, “The heart of the Centre beats with you in favour of more justice and equity in the world.”

The worship service, structured around the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, featured the Eritrean Orthodox Church choir of St. Mary’s, the Jonas Foundation choir, and Come to Jesus Fellowship International Choir (Philippines).

The 150 attendees were welcomed by WCC staff member Ms. Sydia Nduna and the Rev Dr Deenabandhu Manchala, both who work for the WCC’s programme on migration and just and inclusive communities. Manchala preached on the theme of forgiveness.

A multi-language Bible study was led by the Rev Fr Dr Lawrence Iwuamadi, professor of Ecumenical Biblical Hermeneutics at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey.

The John Knox International Reformed Centre is a study, conference, and hospitality centre supporting international exchange, interfaith dialogue, and human rights.

Its 60th anniversary celebrations included also fine art and sculpture exhibitions, an academic conference on theology and economics, and celebratory receptions for the public.


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