A prominent public voice on human rights issues, Ms Poulos has played a vital role shaping the Uniting Church’s social justice policies, especially in the areas of refugees and climate change.
She regularly appeared in the media and at public events to share the Church’s vision of a just and peaceful society that welcomes the vulnerable and the marginalised.
Ms Poulos has accepted a Commonwealth scholarship to complete her PhD on politics, religion and human rights advocacy at Macquarie University. Her role as National Director will conclude on 17 February and a closure of ministry service will be held that day.
“It has been an enormous privilege to have served the Uniting Church in Australia in this role,” Ms Poulos said.
“I have been greatly blessed by wonderful colleagues and all of you who stand up for what is right and just however and whenever you can.
“May God continue to bless you all as you seek to uphold the call to seek justice and peace for all people and the planet in increasingly harsh times.”
Many of Ms Poulos’ colleagues and friends from around the Church and beyond have taken to social media to express their gratitude for her leadership, advocacy and discipleship.
“Elenie has been a wonderful colleague, an exemplary National Director, a person of great integrity, and a faithful follower of Jesus. I will miss her greatly,” Craig Mitchell, national director for Formation, Education and Discipleship, said.
Ministers in the VicTas synod also paid tribute to Ms Poulos.
“Elenie what a gift you have been to the UCA, the ecumenical church and the wider community in that role, faithfully, courageously and passionately identifying, researching and advocating for Gospel perspectives both within the Church and in the public square,” Rev Alistair Macrae, minister at Wesley Uniting Church in Melbourne, said.
Prior to her appointment as National Director of UnitingJustice in 2002, Ms Poulos served as chaplain at MLC School Burwood in Sydney for six years.
She has also represented the Uniting Church at the World Council of Churches (WCC) General Assembly and is a member of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs .