The foundations of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome were laid in the mid-20th century. Beginning in 1955 a minister from the Methodist Church in Great Britain was stationed at the Ponte Sant`Angelo Methodist Church, an English-speaking Methodist congregation in the heart of Rome, who also acted informally as a link with the ecumenical work of the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Over time the fruitful interactions with PCPCU led the World Methodist Council in cooperation with several partners to establish a formal and permanent office in Rome.
The Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome was officially established under the World Methodist Council in 2014 as worldwide Methodism’s ecumenical presence in Rome. A special service of dedication was held by international Methodist leaders for the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome in April 2016, followed by a private audience with Pope Francis.
MEOR’s first full-time director – the Reverend Matthew A. Laferty – was appointed in 2020.
The Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome is a presence for the World Methodist Council:
- to be a channel of dialogue with other churches in the search for a deeper unity;
- to foster relationships with other agencies and faith communities in order to promote better understanding and joint action for justice and peace;
- to offer a ministry of prayer and reflection, of learning and growth;
- to be a place of open hospitality to Methodists and all visitors to Rome.
MEOR opened a centre for ecumenical, educational and cultural use located near Ponte Sant’Angelo and steps from the Vatican. The opportunity to engage with ecumenical partners in Rome, our proximity to the Vatican and our links with the Anglican Centre and with those engaged in mission projects (e.g. Mediterranean Hope and the Sant`Egidio Community) enables the Centre to be a good base for reflection on contemporary mission and ministry in an ecumenical context.
The Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome is overseen by a governance board called ‘the Forum’. The Forum is comprised of representatives of the World Methodist Council, the Methodist Church in Great Britain, the European Methodist Council, The United Methodist Church, the Methodist Churches in Italy, and The Wesley Rome.
The Reverend Matthew A. Laferty is the director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome and Methodist representative to the Holy See (Vatican). Rev. Laferty is a presbyter in The United Methodist Church and maintains clergy standing in the Methodist Church in Great Britain and the Union of Methodist and Waldensians Churches in Italy. From 2015-2020 he was the pastor of the English-Speaking United Methodist Church of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, and a representative of The United Methodist Church to the United Nations Office at Vienna and UN-related organizations in Vienna. Rev. Laferty served as the executive director of MPC Social Services in Moscow, Russia, from 2011-2015, directing an urban outreach centre working in areas of hunger, medical assistance, integration, anti-racism, and counter-human trafficking. While in Moscow, he concurrently served as the chaplain to the international, interdenominational Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy. Other ministry placements include Tabor Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Branford, Connecticut, USA, The United Methodist Church’s ecumenical agency, and Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition (now AIDS Connecticut).
Originally from Crestline, Ohio, USA, Rev. Laferty holds a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, where he was awarded the Downes Prize for worship leadership in 2011. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and international studies from Methodist-related Ohio Wesleyan University where he graduated cum laude and with university honors.
In addition to his MEOR leadership, Rev. Laferty is a member of the World Methodist Council since 2006. He is a member of the World Methodist Council’s ecumenical relations committee as well as its nominations committee. He serves on international Committee on Faith and Order of The United Methodist Church. He was also appointed as a delegate from The United Methodist Church to the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, Korea, in November 2013.
You may contact the director at director [at] meorome.org.