North Georgia's Bishop B. Michael Watson was in Italy this week for the official opening of the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome. The purpose of the office is to provide education programs that promote worldwide communion and to be a place of welcome. The dedication for the Methodist Ecumenical Office, which will be just across the Tiber River from St. Peter's Basilica, took place at the Methodist Church at Ponte Sant’Angelo.
"It is significant that this is happening in the Pontificate of Pope Francis, who from his words and his gestures is clearly a convinced ecumenist," said Nigel Baker, British Ambassador to the Holy See.
In recognition of the new office, Pope Francis met with members of the World Methodist Council, including Bishop Watson, the Methodist Council of Europe, and the Methodist Church in Britain. The Pope referenced John Wesley in his words to the group.
Pope Francis presented Bishop Watson with two books and a medallion. As the group said individual goodbyes, Pope Francis asked Bishop Watson to pray for him.
Read more about the opening of the Methodist Ecumenical Office at Radio Vatican's website.
Read the full text of the Pope's address to the group.