Vienna is the home of one of three UN Centers world-wide and a host of international corporations. As the gateway to eastern Europe, it has long been an international city.
In 1978 the Austrian United Methodist Church (Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche) recognized a need to reach out to the then more than 35,000 English-speaking people from many countries who were living and working in Vienna. To help them in this ministry, they asked the Virginia Conference (USA) of the United Methodist Church to send a pastor to begin a new, English-speaking church. On the first Sunday in October, 1978, worship services in English were held under the leadership of the Rev. Lee S. Varner. 45 people attended, including people from Austria, Canada, England, Germany, Mexico, Nigeria, Rhodesia, South Africa, Switzerland, and the US.
The new English-speaking United Methodist Church was formally chartered on February 25, 1979. Lee Varner and his wife, Edith, led the church until his death on August 10, 1980. Edith Varner continued to serve until a new pastor arrived in March 1981. In October of that year, the congregation moved from its original location on Bennogasse to its present location on Sechshauserstrasse, where we now share a building with the German-speaking United Methodist congregation, Wien-Fünfhaus. Pastoral leadership and support for the English-speaking church continued to come from the Virginia Conference until 1988, when responsibility for pastoral supply and support was transferred to the General Board of Global Ministries. The church was then served by UM missionary personnel.
In June of 2004, the GBGM, under financial pressure from within, terminated the contract with the ESUMC, and the church, in collaboration with the Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche (the UMC in Austria) and the Central European Conference of the UMC, found its own new pastor and assumed primary fiscal responsibility for pastoral support.
Pastors of ESUMC of Vienna:
1978-1981 Lee and Edith Varner, Virginia Conference 1981-1987 Paul and Barbara Hanack, Virginia Conference 1987, Bob and Joyce Parker, Virginia Conference 1987-1988 Jim and Helen Dwyer (interim), GBGM missionaries (N.Indiana Conference) 1988-1991 Glenn and Kay Fuller, GBGM missionaries (California/Nevada Conference) 1991-1997 Bill and Sylvia Mooney, GBGM missionaries (Holston Conference) 1997, Bill and Barbara Daniel (interim), GBGM missionaries 1997-2004 Robert and Lillian Hunt, GBGM missionaries (SW Texas Conference) 2004-2011 Laura Trent, Holston Conference 2011- Kathy Young, Yellowstone Conference