GBHEM Shares a Heartwarming Moment with Pope Francis

Published On: September 21, 2023

The Methodist Ecumenical Office of Rome hosted senior leaders from the World Methodist Historical Society and the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities (IAMSCU) in early September. Dr. Amos Nascimento and General Secretary, Rev. Greg Bergquist attended the conference on behalf of The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM).

GBHEM leadership, received the opportunity to visit the Waldensian Faculty of Theology, the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, the Vatican Dicastery for Culture and Education, the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, the Vatican Library, and the Historical Archives of St. Peter’s Basilica. Rev. Dr. Greg Bergquist also delivered a powerful sermon at Pointe Sant’Angelo Methodist Church in Rome. 

In an extremely “heartwarming” moment, a few of our Methodist leaders greeted Pope Francis with a John Wesley bobblehead doll. When Pope Francis received the John Wesley bobblehead figure, he immediately recognized it and said, “Oh, John Wesley, the Methodist!”

Dr. Ashley Boggan, General Secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History, presented Pope Francis with the figure, commented via Facebook, “Today, I marked off a thing I never dreamed could be on my bucket list: we were the special guests of Pope Francis, with front row seats to the Wednesday service and a handshake.”

Our moment with Pope Francis is not only a special moment for Methodists but a testament to the United Methodist Church’s commitment to Christian unity. As GBHEM continues to travel the world and build relationships with individuals from all multicultural backgrounds, it is equally important for our agency to continue to join our voices with other Christians around the world to advocate for justice and peace.


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