Bishop emer. Heinrich Bolleter was elected by the World Methodist Council meeting in Seoul (South Korea) in May 2006 to serve as the part-time secretary of its Geneva office. At the beginning of 2007 he began his new task. Now, after five years of dedicated work, Bishop Bolleter has retired from this position, with effect from the end of January 2012.
Bishop Bolleter succeeded the Canadian Theologian Ralph C. Young (1983 – 2001) and the Malayan Bishop Dennis C. Dutton (2001 – 2005). He took a key role in the development of relationships between the World Methodist Council (WMC) and other international church bodies such as the World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). His wealth of experience, gathered as a member of the executive committee and the presidium of the WMC and in serving for 17 years as bishop of the Central Conference of Central and Southern Europe, helped him a great deal in this task.
Bishop Bolleter showed great skill in analysing the changing ecumenical landscape and drawing appropriate conclusions, making an invaluable contribution to the discussions concerning the development of the WMC, a body representing 75 million people in over 130 countries.
Besides this active commitment in Geneva, Bishop Bolleter was also a committed member of the Anglican-Methodist international commission on unity in mission and took an active part in the bilateral dialogue between the Salvation Army and the WMC, as well as being engaged in international meetings such as Edinburgh 2010, the mission conference marking the centenary of the first World Missionary Conference in 1910, and the meeting of the secretaries of the World Federations of Churches in 2008.
Martin Buber remarked that love is a being, which dwells in a kingdom greater than the kingdom of the individual, and speaks from a knowledge deeper than the knowledge of the individual. True to his strong belief that Methodists should not just meet and work as a denominational family, Bishop Bolleter’s aim as Geneva Secretary was to intensify the relationships to other churches and World Federations so that together we could learn from each other and together bear Christian witness to the world. The decision who will succeed Bishop Bolleter as Geneva Secretary is still under discussion by the WMC.
The member churches of the World Methodist Council are indebted to Bishop Bolleter for his much appreciated work in the position of Geneva Secretary.
Source: Office of Bishop Dr. Patrick Streiff, Zurich/Switzerland
Translation: Rev. Frank Aichele/Gilian Horton-Krüger
Date: February 2, 2012