DECEMBER 23, 1947
HYDE PARK, Monday—In Geneva I had the pleasure of dining one evening with the Right Rev. J. I. Blair Larned, bishop in charge of the American Episcopal Churches in Europe, and with some of the members of the Provisional Committee of the World Council of Churches. I was very much interested to hear of some of the things they are doing.
They carry on reconstruction work in many European countries. They also have a villa where they invite groups of laymen—doctors, lawyers, writers and politicians—to come together to discuss how to make Christianity a living force in their daily work. This is a type of Christian leadership which might carry something entirely new into many communities. They told me that the men of the war-torn countries feel the need of spiritual strength in their lives more acutely than do men who have not been so sorely tried.
They recently bought a hotel where they furnish vacations to exhausted pastors from war-torn countries. And they are paying for the care of many ministers who have developed tuberculosis and must take long cures.
The World Council consists largely of Protestant churches. The Roman Catholic Church hasn't yet joined with them, but while there is no organizational connection between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics, there are many fields of work in Europe in which they cooperate.
The Council has contacts with churches in Russia, but they haven't any actual affiliations as yet. Russia has stated that she is in need of no help—that her own government will do all that is necessary.
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One of the pleasantest evenings I had in Geneva was when I dined in the home of Wlodzimierz Moderow, head of the European office of the United Nations. I had begun to realize why it is that foreigners who come to New York to the United Nations meetings feel that their life here, spent largely in hotels, doesn't give them a real insight into the way people live in the United States. Hence, it was certainly a pleasure for me to visit the charming home of Mr. and Mrs. Moderow and to enjoy their delightful guests, including the head of the University of Geneva and several other professors and their wives.
Mr. Moderow told me that he could understand discussions in seven languages, and that, before he was 7 years old, he knew three languages. Though of Polish nationality, he studied almost entirely in Moscow, as there were no schools which he could attend in Poland at that time.
It certainly isn't hard for children to learn different languages when countries are as close together as they are in Europe. But that doesn't mean they have any less to learn in the way of international understanding, for the old traditional national dislikes persist in spite of the nearness of the peoples.