LWF Geneva headquarters move to new office

14 Mar 2024

After nearly 60 years in Geneva’s Ecumenical Center, the LWF has a new address. The new Communion Office is located on the Octagon campus, close to Geneva airport.

New office space in Octagon

The Communion Office is on one floor, which will bring staff from all departments closer together. Photo: LWF/S. Gallay 


New Communion Office on Octagon campus is "a modern working space” 

(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has relocated its head offices from the Ecumenical Center to a new address: the Octagon campus in Geneva. The move is temporary, until a new Ecumenical Center has been built on the plot which has housed the LWF Communion Office since 1964.   

The old offices which were on the World Council of Churches (WCC) premises in Grand Saconnex will be torn down to make room for the new buildings. The parts of the Ecumenical center which are under national heritage, such as the Main Hall and the Chapel, will be preserved.    

LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt said that as staff look forward to the new beginnings, the connection to the Ecumenical Center and what it stands for remains strong. “Closing old doors also means opening new ones; changing space and work habits can help us to gain new insights and new perspectives,” she said. 

The new 700-square meter offices on the Octagon campus in Grand Saconnex are in a modern office building. Other tenants include non-governmental organizations and diplomatic missions. One of the Ecumenical sister organizations, Globethics, is also moving to the Octagon campus. 

Several factors were considered to ensure a good working environment that facilitates collaborative working and staff well-being. The Communion Office is on one floor, which will bring staff from all departments closer together. There are diverse working areas within the office.  

Conference and meeting rooms, and shared working spaces in the office are named after the 13 cities that have hosted LWF Assemblies between 1947 and 2023. “In that way, the new Communion Office will help us show the history of the LWF. Photographs and artworks will help share the story of the global communion and the difference it has made for people and churches across the world,” added General Secretary Burghardt.  

A modern, efficient office space 

“We were looking for a similar office to serve our needs that would also complement the hybrid in-person and online working models that have become standard after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr Szabolcs Lörincz, LWF Director for Planning and Coordination. “We worked with experts throughout the whole process to design a modern, efficient workspace that minimizes unused office spaces and nurtures strong collaboration, community building and staff well-being.”

The Octagon campus also has attractive open areas, access to a theater hall, recreational spaces, a café, a gym, and a restaurant, among other basic amenities. The building is equipped with solar panels.

Closing old doors also means opening new ones; changing space and work habits can help us to gain new insights and new perspectives. ... The Ecumenical Center will always remain an important part of our identity.

– LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr Anne Burghardt

Unwavering ecumenical commitment

Speaking at a farewell prayer service in the Ecumenical Center chapel on 12 March, General Secretary Burghardt recalled the many fond memories associated with the former offices, and LWF’s commitment to its ecumenical partners, including the WCC and other organizations that will also vacate their offices.

This is the first time since their foundation that the LWF and WCC will not share the same physical space. Before 1964, their offices were in Geneva’s Eaux Vives area. “However, the ecumenical commitment of the LWF remains unwavering,” Burghardt emphasized.

Until the new Ecumenical Center is built, the LWF, WCC and other ecumenical organizations will be located in separate buildings. “But this should encourage us to be even more intentional in scheduling regular meetings with colleagues, not only in the WCC but also with those from other ecumenical organizations with whom we have shared this space in the Ecumenical Center. We remain strongly connected in our joint journey and shared mission,” she said.

“Even as the old Ecumenical Center is being closed and then rebuilt, it will always remain an important part of our identity. It resides in our hearts and in the identity of the LWF, with all the stories, relationships, and emotions it has seen.”

Burghardt referred to the theological work that has been produced at the center, and "historical decisions that literally changed the lives of many churches and their members for the better.”

The LWF General Secretary invited prayers for the upcoming construction plans and expressed hope that the rebuilt center will “always be a place of welcome to people from across the world and a visible sign of our search for Christian unity.”

The LWF Communion Office has 80 staff, 70 of whom are Geneva-based. The new LWF address is: Chemin du Pavillon 2, 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland.

LWF/P. Mumia