In 1889 an active mission work began in Albania. Besides preaching the Gospel and practical everyday help, the focal point and primary work was that of providing basic education for the population. Then, Methodist work was inactive for several decades until 1992, when Christians from Germany began to be involved by bringing help to Albania. In the following years the work was extended: educational, medical, agricultural and forestry projects were established, and in 1998, the UMC in Albania could be established when the first men and women were admitted as professing members. Since then the situation has changed. Many people have left the mountain villages and have, together with their families, moved to urban areas in order to find a job or better life conditions. The UMC has spread with the people into other parts of the country. Four promising and growing churches have been established in Tirana (2008), Pogradec (2008), Elbasan (2014), and Durrës (2017). The UMC continues to work for the people in Albania and the development of a free and democratic society. At various places, income-generating projects have been initiated (fruit tree cultivation, sewing project for women). Other projects focus on people with disabilities and their integration in society. There is a strong commitment of lay
people as the churches try to combine sharing the Gospel and addressing the challenges of today’s society both appropriately and effectively. Leadership development, spiritual growth, and discovering the social aspect of faith are some of the priorities of the current work in Albania.
Methodist work in Austria begun in Vienna in 1870. Initially, the Methodists had the right to a «familial practice of religion» only. But when they were granted more freedom in 1920, they soon established several new congregations and a children’s home. The worship services and Sunday Schools were full. But soon a very painful era dawned. In 1945, the Methodist Church in Austria had to be reorganized. In spite of their own distress, the Methodists helped countless refugees, which had come into the country. As a result of this service, new congregations were formed in refugee camps. In 1951, the Methodist Church was recognized by the Austrian state. Today, openness toward seekers of all generations and countries are typical characteristics of the Church. Because of this, in practically all congregations, people from many different nations gather, and worship services are sometimes translated into several languages. In Vienna, there is also a lively English-speaking church that was founded in 1978. As a result of this basic openness, new people find a spiritual home in the UMC again and again. Although small in number, it plays an important role in the ecumenical movement. And finally, the widely known and respected «Zentrum Spattstrasse» in Linz provides innovative and important social and pedagogical
services for children and youth from all over Austria.