Vale Lady Leila Wilson

Vale Lady Leila Wilson

The Uniting Church in Australia mourns the passing and celebrates the life of Lady Leila Wilson who died in Perth last Friday.

The former President of the Uniting Church in Australia, the Rev. Gregor Henderson, who was closely acquainted with Lady Leila and her late husband Sir Ron Wilson, has issued the following statement:

With the death of Lady Leila Wilson the Uniting Church has lost a much loved and highly gifted church leader.

A lifelong supporter of the life and mission of the whole church, Leila gave leadership in at least three particular ways – in her involvement in ecumenical organisations such as Australian Church Women, where she was part of the national leadership group for several years; in her constant support for those suffering discrimination and injustice, including Indigenous groups and the church’s work in social justice and community welfare; and in her unstinting love and support for her husband Ron as he gave leadership in various roles within church and nation, not least when he was President of the Assembly of the Uniting Church from 1988 to 1991.

Leila had a deep personal faith in God, with an everyday awareness of God’s love for her and for all people. Her faith fed her love for others, her generous hospitality, her care for the marginalised, her abiding interest in the affairs of church and world, and her commitment to ecumenism and justice. Those who knew her well will always remember her strength of character, her humility, her lively intelligence, her mischievous sense of humour, the twinkle in her eye, and her willingness always to give of herself for the sake of others. She was a beautiful person: God’s love shone through in her life.

Those involved in the leadership of the Uniting Church over the 35 years since church union will always remember Leila as a fine Christian, a major contributor to the life of the Uniting Church and to the church ecumenical. We give thanks to God for her life and witness and for God’s sure promises of eternal life.

The current President of the Uniting Church in Australia the Rev. Alistair Macrae also paid tribute to Lady Leila’s extraordinary contribution to the Church.

To all who knew her, Lady Leila embodied the Christian faith in such an integrated way. Her love for God and the gospel was transparent and it expressed itself in the warmth of her relationships and her many commitments to working for justice and care in the world.

A service of thanksgiving will be held at Perth’s St Stephen’s Applecross Uniting Church at 1 pm WST on Thursday June 21.

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