Bossey Ecumenical Studies Online Course

Online Course | Ecumenical Institute | Fully remote


Together Towards Unity.

Being Church in a Fragmented World


Bossey Ecumenical Studies Online Course

Information and Application Guidelines


Pilot Course: 5 April – 12 June 2021


The Ecumenical Institute at Château de 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.

The Institute prepares people to be agents of reconciliation within and between churches, to strengthen the churches’ commitment to justice and peace, and to critically and constructively engage with new emerging challenges in church and society.

New Online Course in Ecumenical Studies

The online course as a pilot project, in a creative way, aims to expand opportunities for students to explore the biblical, theological, ethical, societal, interreligious and missiological dimensions of ecumenism as envisioned at Bossey, in response to the realities of travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new online course builds on the long established Ecumenical Studies courses at Bossey of addressing the current changing dynamics and configurations of ecumenism through a new medium.  


The course offers succinct introductions into the classic dimensions of ecumenical studies. Through specific assignments, students are guided in exploring ecumenical relations in their local context, sharing about it in a global cohort of students and deepen their understanding through theological study. Strengthening the students’ agency and the students’ capacity for theological discernment is vital in this study program.


Target audience

International audience of religious leaders, students and laypersons with a suitable level of ecumenical literacy and/or experience in the field of ecumenical dialogue and engagement. A minimum of six university semesters’ studies in theology or a related field is required.


Content of the Online Course in Ecumenical Studies

The title of the new online course is “Together Towards Unity. Being Church in a Fragmented World.” This theme will be explored in six modules:


Module 1: The quest for unity - entering pathways in building communion in a fragmented world

Module 2: Scripture, Hermeneutics and Ecumenical Spirituality  - reading the Bible in view of Christian unity

Module 3: Ecological reformation - rethinking theological and ethical frameworks

Module 4: Doing dialogue ‘other-wise’ – reconfiguring interreligious dialogue

Module 5: Church and society – responding to challenges in today’s world

Module 6: The Church's mission - announcing the reign of God in word and deed


Methodology of the Online Course in Ecumenical Studies

The study programme is a 10-weeks online course. Each of them consists of the following elements:

  • A series of video lectures on each theme. These lectures connect contemporary dynamics with insights from the history of the ecumenical movement. They explore key concepts in the thematic field and articulate perspectives from different church traditions. These video lectures are pre-recorded and can be watched at different times.
  • Required and optional reading. These academic articles help to deepen knowledge in each field.
  • Reflection on the reading material. There will be guiding questions for the students in order to engage with the literature. Students are required to hand in brief written reflections on the required reading material.
  • Assignment for contextual exploration. For each module, students will receive an assignment that invites them to get in touch with another community/ study a topical issue within their local context. These local study visits and explorations will be shared in the group.
  • Joint seminar session. Each week on Thursday afternoon (CET) the module coordinator and the students will gather for a joint seminar session.
  • In order to round up the module there will be a quiz at the end of each module.


General Student Application Form Guidelines


Student Application Form must be filled in English language by the applicant.

Use the full name of your passport/identity documents. All documentation for your application dossier is identified by you surname/family name.

The Ecumenical Institute uses multiple criteria when selecting students for admission including:

  • affinity between the applicant’s ecumenical motivation/plans and the ecumenical teaching and research carried out at the Ecumenical Institute;
  • intention of the applicant’s church to make the best possible use of his/her ecumenical studies and experience in the future;
  • aim to create a balanced student body, especially in terms of geographic context, church tradition and gender.


Four weeks before the start of the course, all applicants are informed in writing about the admission/non-admission decision.

As a pilot project, the course is offered free of charge in the spring of 2021.

The closing date for applications is 1 March 2021.


Supporting documentation


The completed Student Application Form in recruiterbox must be accompanied by the supporting documentation listed below in English/French/German/Italian/Spanish language. Documents in any other languages must be translated into English.


All applicants are required to submit the following documentation:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV) listing your academic, professional and ecumenical  experience;
  • One (1) passport-size photograph in digital form;
  • A scanned copy of the upper secondary school certificate and transcript of records;
  • A scanned copy of a university bachelor’s or master’s or doctoral degree certificate in Christian theology, or in a closely related discipline, and transcript of records;
  • A personal statement of 600 words exposing your ecumenical motivation and plans and how studying at the Ecumenical Institute relates to these;
  • A recommendation letter from your church leadership.