Note on Pastoral Transition

Dear ESUMC members and friends,

At the end of worship today I announced that our pastor—the Reverend Matthew A. Laferty—will be leaving ESUMC at the end of the summer. Beginning 1 September 2020, Pastor Matthew will be appointed as the director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome, located in Rome, Italy.

Please see Pastor Matthew’s message below to learn more about his new assignment.

As a church community, we are grateful for Pastor Matthew’s leadership, care, vision, and support during these past five years. Pastor Matthew has inspired us, challenged us, and called us to be faithful to God’s mission. We are sad to see him leave ESUMC. With much fondness and with God’s blessing, we pray for Pastor Matthew during this transition. His last Sunday will be 16 August. There will be a celebration of his ministry this summer; look to the Weekly News in the coming month for details about the celebration.

Recently, the ESUMC pastor-parish relations committee met with Superintendent Stefan Schröckenfuchs to reflect upon Pastor Matthew’s upcoming departure and think about the future. The pastor-parish relations committee is responsible to work with the superintendent and bishop to find a new pastor for our dynamic community. The pastor-parish relations committee and the superintendent are already preparing for the transition and identifying the next pastor. On our behalf, Bishop Patrick Streiff has requested that another missionary pastor be sent to serve our congregation. We will keep you abreast of information about the new pastor search process as it becomes available.

Next Sunday, 8 March, Superintendent Stefan Schröckenfuchs will be available after worship to answer any questions you may have about transition and search for a new pastor.

Pastor Matthew called us during our Ash Wednesday service this week “to observe a holy Lent: by self–examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self–denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word.” To our Lenten discipline we add prayers for ESUMC, Pastor Matthew, and the transition ahead as well as the new pastor who God will send to us.

In Christ,
Adetokunbo Aganga-Williams
Chair, Pastor-Parish Relations Committee
English-Speaking United Methodist Church of Vienna

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I have mixed emotions today as my new assignment is shared with our congregation.

Beginning 1 September, I will be the director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome. The mission of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome is to foster relations between the global Methodist family and the Roman Catholic Church, seek new ecumenical relationships on behalf of the World Methodist Council, provide opportunities for formation and education, and offer hospitality to Methodists visiting Rome. My new role will be to direct and oversee the work of the Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome. The Methodist Ecumenical Office Rome is a shared ministry of the World Methodist Council, The United Methodist Church, the Methodist Church in Britain, the European Methodist Council, and the Methodist Church in Italy and represents 80 million Methodists around the world.

I am excited for this new opportunity. I have a keen interest in Christian unity and have made ministry with Christians of different denominations and theological understandings a central feature of my ministry. My new role in Rome will allow me to engage more deeply in ecumenical relations and assist our global Methodist family to live Christ’s command for Christians to be one so the world may believe (cf. John 17:21).

Undoubtedly, I am sad to leave ESUMC. Our congregation is home to me and I will be forever grateful for your faithfulness and our shared ministry. I have been deeply touched by your friendship these past five years and will miss our congregation. I have been blessed by ESUMC and I leave forever changed by your love and companionship.

In this time of transition, I am reminded of Paul’s message to the church in Philippi: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7 NRSV).

May the peace of Christ always be with you.

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Matthew