- Visser't Hooft, Willem A.
- ( 19 0 0 - 1985 )ecumenical statesmenWillem A. Visser't Hooft was born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, on September 20, 1900. While attending the University of Leiden, he was drawn into the Student Christian Movement and was inspired by meeting John R. Mott to see the church as a global mission. His faith was further shaped by his reading of Karl Barth and adoption of Neo-Orthodoxy.Visser't Hooft joined the staff of the YMCA, (see Young Men's Christian Association) in Geneva. Before long, he was general secretary of the World Student Christian FEDERATioN.In 1938, he became secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), at the time still in the process of formation. He retained that post until his retirement in 1966.Visser't Hooft traveled widely for the cause of ecumenism and was applauded after World War ii for his efforts to keep Christians in contact with one another across the battle lines. He wrote a number of books that called on the church to free itself from unworthy entanglements and prepare to face the onslaught of modern secular society. He also wrote his Memoirs and a history of the WCC, both of which remain important historical documents. He remained active in ecumenical discussions from his retirement in 1968 until shortly before his death on July 4, 1985.See also Ecumenical movement.Further reading:■ Robert C. Mackie and Charles C. West, ed., The Sufficiency of God: Essays on the Ecumenical Hope in Honor of W. A. Visser't Hooft (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1963)■ Willem A. Visser't Hooft, The Genesis and Formation of the World Council of Churches (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1982)■ ----, Has the Ecumenical Movement a Future? (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1974)■ ----,The Kingship of Christ (New York: Harper, 1948)■ ----, Memoirs (London/Philadelphia: SCM Press Westminster Press, 1973).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.