Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Pilgrimaging: Geneva

 We ended the reformation pilgrimage with a weekend in Geneva--an excellent way to finish. We visited the reformation museum, an archaeological site dating back 2000 years under the cathedral, the monument to the reformation that takes up a whole wall in a public park, and climbed the cathedral towers for a panoramic view. We also visited the UN palace of nations--the location of the League of Nations that was the forerunner of the UN, and now the building that houses many of the people and negotiation spaces for working on issues like ceasefire, peacekeeping, world health, etc. It was a great tour, and we were all in awe of the work that is done there. Bonus: the League of Nations was the brainchild of a Presbyterian (yes, Woodrow Wilson was the son of a Presbyterian minister, and was born in the manse, even!), so it even fit the theme of the trip. Geneva has been a city of refuge and peace for hundreds of years--during the reformation, the city took in religious refugees from around the continent and British isles, and it has continued to be a place for peacemaking in various ways over the past 500 years, so it made sense for the League of Nations to be housed there. 

Geneva is the perfect place to end the reformation pilgrimage, even though it is chronologically not the end of the 16the century reformation movement. It is the home of our Reformed Tradition, the place where our Presbyterian understanding of the word, the importance of education, the centrality of faith in life, the sovereignty of God, our musical sensibilities, our polity, and so much more were born and nurtured. It was great to stand in the park at the monument and talk about how the Swiss reformers and their students changed the world, giving us public education, the foundations of our political system, and though they would never have claimed it (Calvin and Knox weren't into women having public roles or voices), the foundations for gender equality through their absolute insistence on the priesthood of all believers.

Saturday evening we had our last supper--fondue! Fondue is from Geneva, so it seemed only fitting that we should celebrate our trip with a local specialty. Sunday morning we worshipped with the Church of Scotland congregation (in English, in the same building where Calvin taught and Knox preached), had lunch with some members of the church, and went our separate ways. Some went on to vacation in Italy, others in France, and I am now in Edinburgh. I arrived Sunday evening and have spent the last 36 hours catching up with friends, enjoying the Scottish sunshine, walking around the city, and generally enjoying myself. This afternoon the RevGal Big Event Edinburgh begins, and I'll be spending the next several days with 20 other clergy women pondering pilgrimage and how we are pilgrim people. Should be good!

Surreptitious photography in underground archaeological sites is harder than it looks.

The mosaic floor in the 4th century cathedral's bishop's receiving room.

The jet d'eau was off most of the time we were in Geneva, due to wind.

The Palais de Nations

The world seen from the North Pole: no nation is privileged by having center place.

Jesus doesn't know what to make of the austerity if calvin's chancel chair. He is a bit concerned that this is why all chancel furniture is so uncomfortable to this day.

The four.

This fountain made me laugh. The city of Geneva has fountains of drinkable water all over the place, and this is now my favorite. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Geneve: cité de refuge

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for these summaries and photos! It makes me feel sad that I missed the tour in person. You always do a fabulous job on these tours as you did when we went to Scotland! (Wish I were in Edinburgh with you right now!) Enjoy!