I am Matthew Laferty, a pastor, ecumenist, and missionary. I am a presbyter in The United Methodist Church and maintain clergy standing in the Methodist Church in Great Britain and the Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches in Italy. Since 1 September 2020 I am the director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome, responsible for the World Methodist Council’s relationship with the Holy See (Vatican). I am also the co-secretary of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission, the official theological dialogue commission between the World Methodist Council and the Holy See.
For nearly a decade I served in migrant and multicultural ministry in Europe – first in Moscow, Russia, and later in Vienna, Austria. From 2011-2015 I was chaplain for the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy, a unique English-speaking joint Methodist, Lutheran, and Reformed ministry in Moscow established under a diplomatic protocol between the USSR and USA during the Cold War. I also served as the executive director of MPC Social Services (MPCSS); MPCSS is a Christian charitable organization with an outreach center located in the Moscow city center working in areas of hunger, medical assistance, integration, anti-racism, and counter-human trafficking. I later served as the pastor of the English-Speaking United Methodist Church in Vienna, Austria, from 2015-2020. While in Vienna, I was also a representative of The United Methodist Church to the United Nations Office at Vienna and Vienna-based UN organizations, focusing on issues affecting women as well as peace and disarmament issues. Prior to assignment in Europe, I served in ministry placements at 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, I received a Master of Divinity from Yale University and Bachelor of Arts in political science and international affairs from Ohio Wesleyan University. I am currently completing a Master of Laws (LLM) in canon law at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.
I am a member of the World Methodist Council since 2006, currently serving on the ecumenical relations committee and the nominations committee. I am also a member of the Committee on Faith and Order of The United Methodist Church which after 8 years recently completed a new statement on ecclesiology. As the MEOR director, I am a member of the dialogue committee between the Methodist Church Britain and the Catholic Bishops Conferences of England and Wales and Scotland. I was also a delegate to the World Council of Churches’ 10th General Assembly in Busan, Korea. Additionally, I have served on various international commissions in The United Methodist Church and been elected as a delegate to the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in 2004, 2008, and 2020.