Pictured in above photo: Marvin Eckfeldt, Sandy Messick, Missy Trull, Heesook Yoo, Kara Markell
Since 1946 thousands of students from throughout the world and every Christian walk, have studied at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, located just outside of Geneva, Switzerland. Bossey is an ecumenical laboratory, with a mission dedicated to the education and formation of leaders through ecumenical, intercultural, and inter-confessional encounter. Students around the world study and discuss pressing challenges confronting society today; and, these global perspectives present every opportunity to engage others and also to assess the student’s own set of assumptions, assertions and conclusions they have about the world. There is a very short list of institutes like Bossey in the world.
The School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University is aligned with Bossey in mission, alongside our key ecumenical partners in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation. So, it was no surprise that when Melissa (Missy) Trull (M.Div.) applied last fall to Bossey, she was met with encouragement by friends who aimed to walk with her. After all of the paperwork was completed (with no small amount to detail) Missy was accepted at Bossey for an intensive semester of study; she will embark from Seattle in late August and return in the third week of January.
Over the years here at the School of Theology and Ministry (STM), with a dedication to ecumenical studies, faculty aim to accompany students in their vocational trek. Missy is clearly on the road of ecumenical discernment and discovery that will be life-affirming and life-changing at the same moment. And, in that spirit, this past week STM faculty, staff and students met with Missy alongside external community members in order to send her off with prayer beads, well wishes, and a blessing to go out and return home again.
Missy reflects on the send off event:
“At the blessing/commissioning service this past week, the small community gathered helped me to articulate my hopes for this experience. On a personal level, I hope to learn all that I can about Ecumenism—the history of thought, skill of conversation and interpersonal relationships, Ecumenical theology, missionology, hermeneutics (etc). I also hope to discern my own call into this life-long journey of ministry, and that my learnings at the Institute can provide clarity, challenge, or curiosity for the broader community, that through sharing what is happening at the institute and around the world, our communal imagination about what it means to work together may expand.”
We are grateful for the faithful tenacity of all involved. One of our students is heading out for transformation abroad that we encourage here as well; and, of equal importance, even as Missy is seeking ordination in the Episcopal Church, it was the gracious foresight of ecumenical leadership in the Disciples of Christ community throughout the years, which created scholarship funds that in turn paved the way to Bossey. The individual names who made this happen within the Disciples Community are close to us at STM, some living and some passed on; with equal parts dedication and commitment to students’ lives, they initiated this opportunity for students. The best legacy-building is where our aim today is a selfless gift to the future that we cannot fully see, but still trust in. And, in this spirit, regional and national leadership from the Episcopal and the Disciples of Christ communities dedicated themselves to supporting Missy and our students at STM. We are grateful for such trust and fortitude all around.
When Missy returns in late January she’ll be meeting with members of these communities and with students at STM in order to share what she’s learned. That’s one of the signature strengths of STM. Our students are passionate about their education; you have to be in a School like this. The student body will meet in early March to talk about the challenges we see in the world today; experiences like those in Bossey will provide additional insight for mutual reflection.
For Missy, she would want other to know that “this opportunity has come about because, as Dr. Trice called it ‘a cloud of witnesses.’ There have been so many people apart of making this opportunity happen. If this opportunity has taught me anything so far, it has been that the people at this school and the community surrounding this school really believe in their students and believe that God is active and alive in the world.”
We wish Missy well in her journey, and have tremendous faith in what is waiting on the horizon!