On 27 February at the charterhouse of Ittingen (Canton of Thurgau), the joint short seminar, organized by the Council of the Protestant Church in Switzerland and WCC, will take place, exploring the person and impact of a special common forefather: the Zurich pastor Keller. The churches of the United States wished to restore relations with the European churches after World War I. To this end, they invited a representative of Switzerland, which was considered a neutral country. What was then the Conference of Churches sent Keller, who was accustomed to traveling and fluent in several languages, to the US. In 1919 he became acquainted with the Federal Council of Churches there. Upon returning, he came up with the idea of establishing a comparable structure for the Reformed churches of Switzerland. In this way, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches was founded in 1920.
Keller also supported the work of the Life and Work movement, which marked the beginning of the ecumenical movement. This led to the founding of the WCC in 1948. He also advocated the establishment of an ecumenical educational institution in Switzerland, which later took shape in 1946 as the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey. Gottfried Locher, president of the Council of the Protestant Church in Switzerland, noted: “More communion of the churches in Switzerland and more communion of the churches worldwide: this was Adolf Keller’s primary concern. This continues to inspire us today.”
In early 2020, one hundred years after its foundation, the Reformed Churches of Switzerland transformed the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches into the Protestant Church in Switzerland, in order to work better and more intensively in the society and world of the 21st century – together.
For the past 20 years, the WCC Permanent Committee on Consensus and Cooperation has dealt with the sensitive matter of careful opinion formation – in a committee encompassing very diverse churches and contexts. It has developed and tested numerous methods for building consensus. The Council of the Protestant Church in Switzerland invited the WCC committee to hold its regular meeting this year in Switzerland, in order to enrich their common heritage and achieve a deeper understanding of future challenges together.