Friday, 17 February 2017

Champion of Justice: Elenie Poulos

Today the Uniting Church bids farewell to its champion of justice Rev. Elenie Poulos.

Over 100 people gathered at Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney to mark the conclusion of Elenie’s placement as National Director of UnitingJustice Australia.

The gathering included people from all over the country who have been touched by Elenie’s work.

Messages poured in from both within and outside the Church, thanking Elenie for her passion, leadership and inspiration.

General Secretary Colleen Geyer highlighted the breadth of Elenie’s work and the enduring legacy she leaves behind.

Elenie’s ministry at the Assembly began in January 2002 and since then she has worked with six Presidents – James Haire, Dean Drayton, Gregor Henderson, Alistair Macrae, Andrew Dutney and Stuart McMillan.

“It’s fair to say that her long tenure as National Director has made her the most recognisable public spokesperson for the Uniting Church,” Colleen said.

“For every justice concern across our diverse church, Elenie has been there to apply her expertise.”

Messages including a letter from the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission Professor Gillian Triggs who thanked Elenie for her “constant support and inspiration”.

Former UCA President Rev. Dr Dean Drayton summed up Elenie’s contribution: “You were focussed, on top of your task, team worker, networker extraordinaire, feeling deeply the hurt of the world, our nation, those left out and forgotten, often on the edge of being overwhelmed but able to help and encourage others to make the next step.”

“I would walk over hot coals to follow where you lead as a follower of the just and gracious Christ.”

Pitt St Uniting Church Minister Rev. Dr Margaret Mayman and UnitingJustice Reference Committee Member who led Elenie’s Closure of Service shared the following message:

“Your work, continuing the heritage of 40 years, made the UCA the church I wanted to be part of. I am in awe of the breadth of your knowledge in the fields where you have contributed and your skill in navigating government, civil society and church working for the common good.

Elenie expressed her thanks for the people she was worked alongside, her mentors and those who have supported her along the way.

“It has been a deep privilege to have been called by the Church to this unique ministry, for so long. I have met so many extraordinary people, learned so much, and been in places and done things that as a teenager growing up in Katoomba, I didn't even know were possible,” Elenie said.

“I have been profoundly changed by this ministry and it is my hope that I have changed something in the world, just a little, for the better.

My hope and prayer for the Church and for us all and is that we can continue to boldly speak and act for justice and peace in the world, not counting the cost.”

Thank you Elenie for all you have done and best of luck as take up a scholarship to complete your PhD at Macquarie University on politics, religion and human rights advocacy.

Read Assembly General Secretary Colleen Geyer's remarks and Elenie's reponse in full in the Speeches and Messages tab of the News menu on the Assembly Website.