Rev. Matthew Allen Laferty
Director, Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome and Representative, World Methodist Council to the Holy See
Matthew is the director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office, Rome, and representative of the World Methodist Council to the Holy See. He is responsible for representing 80 million Methodist/Wesleyan Christians in Rome, promoting dialogue and Christian ecumenical engagement, fostering joint action for peace and justice across all religious traditions and confessions, and offering hospitality in Rome. He is an ordained presbyter in The United Methodist Church and also maintains clergy standing in both the Methodist Church of Great Britain and the Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches in Italy. Prior to his assignment in Rome, he served in Vienna, Austria, as the pastor of the English-Speaking United Methodist Church of Vienna as well as a representative of The United Methodist Church to the United Nations Office at Vienna. Additionally, he was posted 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 also served as the chaplain to the international, interdenominational Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and international affairs from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University. His first significant interreligious encounters occurred when he was a teenager in Christian confirmation class which studied other religions and visited houses of worship. Throughout his ordained ministry, he has promoted interreligious understanding and cooperation – especially in his work with migrants. While living in Vienna, he was a member of the interreligious platform “Religions for Equality” which promotes LGBTQ equality.