Two youth interns have joined the WCRC staff team in Geneva for a 10-month work-study experience. Viktoria Kóczián from Hungary and Frans du Plessis from South Africa will combine studies in theology and mission with practical experience in programme implementation and communication.
WCRC offers young ecumenists with theological training the opportunity to work with staff at the Ecumenical Centre for 10-12 month periods followed by six-months with their home church to integrate their international experience into the local context. The programme in Geneva includes encounters with interns from other ecumenical organizations such as the World Council of Churches and Lutheran World Federation and visits to the United Nations.
Both the young theologians say that change and growth will be the focus of their time in Geneva.
“I want to learn from different cultures and points of view. People here will help and guide me,”says du Plessis. “My mission professor told me to take chances and celebrate my failures.”
Kóczián says she wants to explore her questions about unity and difference in the church. “How can we be changed and enriched by other theologies and believers,” she asks. “How can we live united experiences despite our differences?”
Du Plessis was ordained into the Dutch Reformed Church in November 2012 and completed his practical year of ministry in a congregation in Kathu, South Africa prior to accepting the WCRC internship. While in Geneva, du Plessis will continue work on his M.Th. in mission for the University of Pretoria and study German. His work focus will be on communication and include work on building a new website and expanding WCRC’s reach through social media.
Kóczián is to work closely with Douwe Visser, WCRC Executive Secretary for Theology and Communion, on ecumenical dialogue, support for churches in interfaith conflict situations and exploration of Reformed identity. Following ordination into the Reformed Church in Hungary in 2010, Kóczián began Ph. D. studies in medieval Jewish mysticism and is in Geneva with the support of a Hungarian government study grant.
“I have a theoretical background in mission, contextual theology and interfaith,” she says. “My motivation for taking the internship is to learn how to put theory into practice.”
Both du Plessis and Kóczián participated in the Global Institute of Theology (GIT) in 2012 in Indonesia.