All Roads Lead to Rome
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement during this COVID-19 pandemic. I am safe in Vienna where the government has been swift in their response to the pandemic. Life here is slowly opening up again though we are still unable to hold pubic worship in our church building.
This past week Bishop Tracy S. Malone announced that I will receive a new appointment in the autumn. Beginning 1 September 2020, I will be the director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome, Italy. The mission of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome is to foster relations between the global Methodist family and the Roman Catholic Church, seek new ecumenical relationships on behalf of the World Methodist Council, provide opportunities for formation and education, and offer hospitality to Methodists visiting Rome. My new role will be to direct and oversee the work of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome. The Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome is a shared ministry of the World Methodist Council, The United Methodist Church, the Methodist Church in Britain, the European Methodist Council, and the Methodist Church in Italy and represents 80 million Methodists around the world.
I am excited for this new opportunity. I have a keen interest in Christian unity and have made ministry with Christians of different denominations and theological understandings a central feature of my ministry. My new role in Rome will allow me to engage more deeply in ecumenical relations and assist the global Methodist family to live Christ’s command for Christians to be one so the world may believe (cf. John 17:21).
Undoubtedly, I am sad to leave Vienna and my congregation. The congregation is home to me and I will be forever grateful for their faithfulness and our shared ministry. I have been deeply touched by friendship these past five years and will miss the congregation. I have been blessed by English-Speaking United Methodist Church of Vienna and I leave forever changed by their love and companionship.
I ask for your continued prayers during this transition.
May Christ’s resurrection bring you all joy and peace in believing so that you may abound in hope!
The Reverend Matthew A. Laferty