A New Global Methodist Congregation in EuropeVatroslav Župančić
The Evangelical Methodist Church in Croatia has been recognized as a member of the Global Methodist Church. This decision was made at the Transitional Leadership Council meeting on June 6. 2022.
At the same time, the leading Pastor Vatroslav Župančić of the Church in Zagreb was received as a clergy member of the GMC.
Croatia is a country in southeast Europe where many cultural and religious influences coexist. Christianity was present in the region from its beginning (the area of Dalmatia was mentioned in the New Testament). Many visible and archeological signs of churches and monasteries show the historical presence of Eastern and Western Christianity in the region. However, the medieval kings of Croatia oriented the land toward the Roman Catholic influence, and their decision has essential consequences until today.
The Reformation was in Croatia a marginal influence. Still, some great theologians came from that country, such as Mathius Flacius Illiricus, a close coworker of Martin Luther, a beginner at biblical hermeneutics.
Methodism came in Croatian regions from the end of the 19th century: first and foremost among German protestants in Srijem. It worked under the society “Blue Cross” because of the government’s religious restrictions. In the region of Istria, a temporary part of the Kingdom of Italy, there was an organized church community in Pula that was left abandoned by the exodus of the Italian population.
After the independence of Croatia in 1991, EMC was registered under the pastoral care of Petar Žunić, who led the church community in Split until his retirement in 2010. At that time, the Church was a part of the UMC. Vatroslav Župančić, the pastor of the church community in Zagreb, took the Church’s supervision in Croatia in 2021. After that, EMC went as an independent Methodist Church in partnership with the Eastern European Regional Chapter of the Wesleyan Covenant Association East Europe. In 2022 Rev. Župančić became a chair of the Regional chapter’s council.
The main thing for us as a part of the Global Methodist Church is to work on the renewal of Wesleyan ethos and the promotion of Orthodox evangelical theological foundations of the Church. “The real unity of the Church can come only through the faithfulness to biblical truth once delivered to those who believe,” said pastorŽupančić.
On May 2 the Evangelical Methodist Episcopal Church in Bulgaria was recognized as a member of the Global Methodist Church. Rev. Daniel Topalski was appointed presiding elder and elected to serve as a member of the Transitional Leadership Council of the Global Methodist Church.