That the Assembly
place on record its appreciation for the contribution to the life of the Uniting Church in Australia by Ms Maureen Postma during her term as Chairperson of the Christian Unity working group 2009-2015.
The Christian Unity Working Group was fortunate to gain the leadership of Maureen Postma for two terms, 2009 -12 and 2012 – 15. At one stage in 2014, she was both chair and secretary of the Working Group, during the selection of and practical arrangements for our church’s delegation to the WCC Busan Assembly. She became a member of the Working Group in 2001after she had become General Secretary of the Victorian Council of Churches, a key ecumenical position she held till 2009. In that role, she was an ex officio member of the Vic/Tas Synod Ecumenical Relations Committee. She was also a member of the national Uniting-Anglican Joint Working Group from 2009 to 2014.
Maureen’s experience of the ecumenical movement is wide and deep. She spent 15 years working in the overseas aid and development sector within the (now) Caritas Australia, Force Ten and (now) Act for Peace. In these roles she worked with a variety of church members, workers and leaders both nationally and internationally. These were turbulent times, following 9/11 and other bombings in the USA, working not only with churches but also with Jewish and Muslim faith communities to establish the three-way Jewish-Christian-Muslim Association of Australia. There was the churches’ challenge to the invasion of Iraq, in concert with Trade Unions and other community groups, writing joint letters to Federal Parliament about the warlike language being increasingly used. She was also a Board member of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and assisted in the hosting and organisation of the major interfaith event in Melbourne in December 2009. In 2010 Maureen was appointed a UCA representative to the Faith and Unity Commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia, a position she still holds.
Maureen’s leadership has been thoughtful, consultative and encouraging. Her chairing of our meetings and conferences has always been of the highest quality. She brings a hospitable, welcoming presence to all meetings that she chairs, and has always been gracious and kind in keeping us focussed on our business and helping us discern direction for future work. Maureen has an informed and discerning theological mind. Acknowledging her wisdom and experience in the wider ecumenical movement, the Working Group has been enabled confidently to approach the variety of issues which comes to its table, from interpreting the Uniting Church to other churches, recognising gifts for dialogue teams and other representatives, working constructively with a range of international ecumenical councils, drafting responses to complex reports, to the efficient administration of an Assembly working group. We thank her for her commitment to Christian unity in all its forms, and for her lifelong contribution to the ecumenical movement at home and overseas.