The oversight committee of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome—the MEOR Forum—met online on Monday, 25 October 2021 to review the work of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome in 2020-2021 and discuss plans and finances for the coming year. The meeting was planned to take place in-person in Rome, but COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions made it impossible for all the Forum members to attend an in-person gathering.
During the director’s report, MEOR director the Reverend Matthew A. Laferty shared about the challenges and the opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic on MEOR’s programs. He noted that the pandemic created opportunities to deepen relationships with local partners through more frequent contact due to reduced travel and less crowded schedules. The pandemic forced the director and the Forum to reimagine MEOR’s work by adding online programming like webinars. Director Laferty also presented a work plan for 2021-2022 which focuses on developing stronger relationships with partners in Rome through relational ecumenism, increased usage of digital spaces for MEOR’s programs, and designing new seminars for 2023 when more international travel is likely to resume.
In other news, the MEOR Forum
- Welcomed the Revd Michaela Youngson, assistant conference secretary and connexional ecumenical officer of the Methodist Church in Britain, who succeeded the Revd Ruth Gee as a new Forum member.
- Formally removed TheWesley hospitality group from the MEOR partnership due to the closure and sale of their Rome operations.
- Re-elected Bishop Ivan Abrahams, general secretary of the World Methodist Council, and elected the Revd Michaela Youngson as the Forum co-chairs.
- Reviewed the 2021-2022 budget of approximately €145,000 and discussed MEOR’s long-term financial sustainability.
- Authorized a plan which will eventually lead to the formation of a new legal non-profit corporation in Italy to better facilitate MEOR’s business and financial transactions.
- Postponed discussion of proposals for more relational governance to the Forum’s next meeting in the spring.
The Forum plans to meet in the spring with an in-person gathering in Rome.
The Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome is the presence of the World Methodist Council in Rome to promote ecumenical dialogue, joint action for peace and justice, payer and reflection, and hospitality. MEOR is a unique partnership of the World Methodist Council with the European Methodist Council, the Methodist Church in Britain, the Methodist Churches in Italy, and The United Methodist Church.