Lumentut, Rev Agustina   (b. Rampi, Sulawesi 10 February 1937, d. 2002)
First Indonesian woman moderator.

Agustina was the third of 12 children.  Her parents moved from Minahasa to assist Dutch missionaries in Central Sulawesi in the 1930s.  World War 2, the Japanese occupation, and the convulsions of the newly independent nation brought tumult to her growing years during which her pastor father became her model.

At 17 she was accepted for ministry training. Although her father was a key leader in the Christian Church in Central Sulawesi (GKST) she battled poverty, loneliness and mockery as the only woman in her class. A Dutch professor encouraged her to continue, and a vision of the prophet Amos fired her imagination and paced her future ministry.

She later studied in Australia, India and at Trinity College, Singapore. She became widely known for her love of truth and justice, her effectiveness as a mediator, and her understanding of development as a God-given mandate. Her vision to enrich the lives of all led her to become a champion of the poor and underprivileged. Her ideas on community development balanced preaching and teaching with the fight to create a social climate which could enable people to progress out of poverty.

From 1984 to 1989 she was Vice-General Secretary of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI).  As the first woman member of the church’s national executive she worked for unity and servant leadership. In charge of the women’s desk, she strove to enable women to play their part in ministry at all levels as lay leaders and pastors.

In 1989 she was elected moderator of the Central Sulawesi Christian Church for two four year periods, the first woman in Indonesia to hold such a post. She was also a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches. After retirement she continued as ambassador at large for the national church. In 1998 she addressed Pope John Paul II and the Synod of Asian Bishops representing the Christian Conference of Asia.  She called for dialogue, noting that “among women also are found the gifts and graces of those who may appropriately be ordained to pastoral and sacramental ministry,” therefore “the church must order its life to be able to receive such gifts and graces.”

Margaret Kirk

Kirk, Margaret. Let Justice Flow, (I.S.P.C.K. Delhi, 1997)

Agustina Lumentut 1937–2002

The Rev. Agustina Lumentut of Indonesia, named as one of ten outstanding women in the ecumenical movement by Margareth Kirk in Let Justice Flow WCC 1997, died recently, aged 65.

Ordained in 1959, she was the first woman president of her church, serving two terms, 1989–1996, and deputy general secretary of PGI, 1985–89.

She served on the Central Committee of WCC and the General Committee of CCA. During the conflict in Central Sulawesi in 1998– 2000 and 2001 she played a mediator's role and always promoted peace among all communities. Until her death she served as chairperson of the Communion  of Churches in North and Central Sulawesi.

Mona Saroinsong, Coordinator of the Sag Sulutteng Crisis Centre of the synod, called the Rev. Lumentut ‘a true pastor and servant of God’ and ‘an ecumenical hero in Indonesia’.

Obituary, CCA News, 37(3) September 2002

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