Wednesday 11 October is the UN’s International Day of the Girl. As part of a GB global family, we want to celebrate and champion the value of girls across the world. Unfortunately in many places, it is very challenging to be a girl (statistics are from Plan):
I am more likely to not be able to read and write because I am a girl.
65 million girls are missing from classrooms across the world – yes, 65 million.
Because I am a girl, my wedding will probably not be the happiest day of my life.
Every three seconds, another girl is forced to marry someone she doesn’t want to.
I am more likely not to have a choice about where and when my first sexual experience happens because I am a girl.
One hundred and fifty million girls across the world have experienced rape or other forms of sexual violence before they reach 18 years old. Girls are exposed to sexual violence as they walk to school, go to the toilet, socialise with friends and even in their own homes.
I am more likely to be missing from the face of the earth because I am a girl.
Around 113 to 200 million girls and women are simply missing across the world due to violence, trafficking, neglect or because they have never even been given the chance to be born.
But there is always hope.
God has used Girls’ Brigade to give hope to many girls across the world by providing life skills, a caring family and empowering them to discover ‘life to the full.’ And we, as GB leaders, have a wonderful message of Gospel hope to share with girls:
Because I am a girl, I am loved, valued and have been made to fulfil my God-given potential.
Girls are made in the image of God and He created both girls and boys to flourish and live with freedom and hope.
Wednesday 11 October is International Day of the Girl; a time to celebrate the value and potential of girls! Here’s three ways that you can do this with your GB group:
Share the #iamgb film – Because of being part of the Girls’ Brigade family, girls from across the world have shared that they feel confident, courageous, loved and accepted. What an incredible positive message for GB to share on social media on #IDG2017!
Inspire girls to make a difference – Hope For Girls is a free resource which features stories and videos from across the world exposing the injustices that girls face and empowering GB members to be part of transforming their world in positive ways.
As a GB family, let’s continue to celebrate the value and potential of girls and women across the world so every girl can flourish and live life to the full.
The Girls’ Brigade Singapore Anniversary Celebration Dinner was held at Shangri-La Hotel Island Ballroom on Sunday, 3 September 2017. It was certainly a wonderful time for Girls’ Brigade members, Alumni and friends (all 990 of us) as we celebrated GB, where memories of food, fun, fullness and fellowship abound.
Our Guest of Honour was the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan. Mrs Joy Balakrishnan also graced the occasion. Celebrating with us were representatives from the Ministry of Education, Heads of Uniformed Groups, Church and School Leaders, our Past GB Presidents, Brigade Chaplains and our partners in the ministry.
We were especially honoured to have with us, the leaders of The Girls’ Brigade International. The International President’s Committee members present were Ms Vivienne Aitchison, International President, Mrs Lynne Rogers, International Treasurer, and International Vice-Presidents of the five Fellowships: Mrs Priscilla Penny (Africa), Mrs Tay Poh Imm (Asia), Mrs Hazelann Boreland and Ms Quindell Ferguson (Caribbean-Americas), Dr Claire Rush (Europe) and Mrs Renelle Neale (Pacific). We also had leaders and representatives from Girls’ Brigade Asia: Chairperson Nancy Shaw (Hong Kong), President Tnay Yong Hua (Malaysia), President Imelda Casuga (Philippines) and Executive Member Mrs Lawan Pitakton (Thailand).
The highlights of the Celebration were the naming of the GB orchid – Papilionanda The Girls’ Brigade Singapore and the launch of our GB Aspirational Values through a meaningful and beautiful sand art presentation by Ms Tan Sock Fong. God’s amazing grace led 11 harpists (from ages 13 to 78 ) to perform together after only six lessons on the harp! Our GB girls also did us proud through their tin whistle performance. Members from the 53rd, 71st and 72nd performed three hymns.
There was a gift of a book for everyone. ‘Rainbows in the Rain’, a GBS 90 Anniversary Publication, is a legacy from the late Captain of 45th Singapore Company, Ms Sally Wong. Girls, whose lives Sally had impacted, worked tirelessly together with their Chaplain, Dr Sandra Tan and Sally’s family, to put together a book, a tribute to their beloved mentor and friend. Dr Low Guat Tin wrote and connected the stories to bring forth a publication that is a compelling read.
GBS honoured two ladies for their sterling work in GB. Mrs Tay Poh Luan and Ms Hee Piang Chin received the Distinguished Award.
The video presentation showcasing the various GBS 90 Anniversary events and achievements of Girls’ Brigade Singapore was an exciting visual. It captured the milestones of the ministry. We thanked God for His faithfulness throughout these 90 enriching years as we raised our voices to proclaim to God – “How Great Thou Art!” Aptly, we ended the night of celebrating God’s goodness with our Girls’ Brigade vesper ’Captain Divine’.
To God Be the Glory.
Mrs Tay Poh Imm,
Chairperson, 90th Anniversary Celebration Dinner
GBS Brigade Vice-President and International Vice-President, Asia Fellowship
Having recently returned from the International President’s Meeting 2017, in Singapore, there are so many good news stories to share. Here is just a taste of what we talked about:
Looking forward to 2018, we planned a range of resources based on our theme ‘Fruitful and Overflowing.’ Your IVP’s will be asking what events you would like our GB family to pray for – do respond so you can be included in our special prayer calendar for the year. There will be a company resource pack which you can dip into for practical ideas to raise awareness of our theme, or you can use it as a holistic six week programme for your girls. There will be the launch of our winning celebration song to unite our GB worldwide family in this year of celebration. Additionally, we are seeking to gather stories of GB’s ‘Fruitful and Overflowing’ Ministry to share. All will be launched on our website , distributed by our IVP’s and profiled on our Facebook and via our newsletter.
Obviously ICGB 2018 was high on our agenda. We are eagerly waiting this wonderful opportunity to celebrate 125 years of mission and to prepare for what God still has in store for us! We know it is expensive to travel but have you considered asking your church if they will sponsor you? You will be encouraged and equipped in the work you do week by week as well as experiencing the strength of fellowship as you meet with GB leaders from all around the globe. Registration has been extended so you still have time. Watch out for news of the International Competition, for discussion papers for our business sessions and draft programmes. They will all be with you before Christmas. Please pray for our friends in Zambia as they oversee the practical arrangements for our stay.
Strategically, we have continued to explore what it means to make paradigm shifts in our thinking and in our way of being, something we were all challenged to do at ICGB 2014. To this end we have been exploring ways in which GBI, can speak out positively for girls around the world. We are conscious, too, of the need to keep our programmes relevant: we challenge all our national boards to review and update their programmes regularly. In addition, we know that to meet the changing needs of the modern world, we need to be creative in the ways we ‘do’ GB, seeking to fulfil our unchanging aim in new and innovative ways. We have plans to share stories of how parts of our GB family are already doing this. It is always good to learn from one another.
So let’s get out there and join God in His mission – let’s see
‘Girls lives transformed; God’s world enriched.’
Vivienne (International President , Girls’ Brigade International.)
The International President’s Committee are pleased to announce the WINNER of our International Song Competition based on the theme ‘Fruitful and Overflowing’.
We were delighted to receive song entries from all five fellowships. The winning song ‘Celebrate Our Girls Brigade Forever’ was submitted by the 1st Singapore company and will be published to help our GB worldwide family celebrate our 125th Birthday year. We congratulate the writer and composer.
The judges selected the following songs for special mention:
GOLD AWARD 1st place: Celebrate Our GB For Ever submitted by the 1st Singapore Company
SILVER AWARD 2nd Place: Rooted In Love submitted by the 2nd Saintfield Presbyterian & Parish, Northern Ireland
BRONZE AWARD 3rd place: One GB Family submitted by the 6th Singapore Company
MERIT AWARD 4th Place: You Choose Me submitted by the 6th Kingston Company, Jamaica.
May we thank everyone who entered this competition and congratulate you all on your efforts. Watch out for words, music and a recording of the winning song prior to the start of 2018.
GBI is a family and as such we care about one another, learn from each another and support one another. Over the last few weeks we have heard of the absolute devastation caused by hurricanes in some of our GB countries in the Caribbean and Americas Fellowship. The monster category 5 hurricane Irma swept through and left devastation. The British Virgin Islands, Barbuda, St Martin, Turks & Caicos and Anguilla suffered extensive damages and are left with a trail of chaos, wreckage and flooding as it was one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the region in the last decade. Other countries such as St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica and Bahamas were also affected though not to the same degree.
Our Caribbean friends are grateful for our prayers and our messages of love and support. But now is the time to consider how we can support them practically. We are launching an appeal to help them and if you, as an individual, or your company, or group, or church is able to send a small gift it will be gratefully received by our sisters in need. You may send donations via your fellowship, or donations can be made to Girls’ Brigade International simply by clicking here. Please reference your gift ‘C&A Disaster Fund’.
Do you recognise this group of GB friends? They are Poh Imm, Renelle, Vivienne, Lynne, Hazel-Ann, Claire and Priscilla, the International President’s Committee. They are the people who will represent you when they meet at the end of August in Singapore. Please pray for them as they travel and talk together.
If you’re wondering what they will be talking about? The answer is just about anything you can think of that will impact our work:
They’ll share the good news stories of where, in our GB world, new doors of opportunity have been opened for us
They’ll hear how THE GATHERING 2017 has impacted lives of the 87 young people attending from 15 countries
They’ll make further plans for how we can encourage you in our 125th birthday year developing our 2018 theme of ‘FRUITFUL and OVERFLOWING’
They’ll attend to issues of governance and reflect on the effectiveness of our role
They’ll further our plans for ICGB 2018 in Zambia – we hope you’ve booked your place but you’re not too late. Find out here
They’ll continue to review how GB around the world is and should be making paradigm shifts to keep us relevant and fit for mission in the 21st
If you want to keep in touch and find out the significance of some of these things then keep your eye on our facebook page during the week we are meeting and be informed.
So, the second GBI Gathering is over! Our days were filled with wonderful programmes, devotions, worship and the opportunity to shape GB in the next few years on the worldwide stage. Of course, there were challenges for the 87 delegates from 13 countries, but laughter, good humour and tolerance pulled us together. Sharing cultures, ideas and activities will definitely allow us to enhance our GB programmes at home.
Internationally, there will be impact as The President’s Committed review the thoughts of THE GATHERING delegates. Those coming to ICGB 2018 will also be able to hear about the projects for advocacy and future development that have resulted from this awesome event.
Contributed by GATHERING DELEGATES AT ACCRA AIRPORT
Around 90 delegates from around the continent of Africa met at the Pentecost Convention Centre, Accra, for their biennial conference. After opening worship, with members of THE GATHERING and a parade with the Ghanaian National Band, they met to conduct the business of the fellowship.
They were privileged to have with them our International President who led them through the week, in exploring their theme ‘GO BUILD A NEW NATION FOR GOD’S KINGDOM.’ Alongside all that, they welcomed a range of speakers who helped them to explore the multitude of issues prevalent in their African cultures, which affect the girls in their countries. Prompted by the International President they also considered the traditions in GB which may hinder rather than help GB in attracting young people for Jesus.
At their final business meeting the Fellowship commissioned Aruk Omori (Nigeria) as she prepares to take up her newly elected role as IVP Africa. Priscila Penny (Zimbabwe) was thanked for her eight years of faithful service to the Fellowship. Please pray for both these ladies of God during their period of transition.
Next year 2018, GB celebrates 125 years of faithful and fruitful ministry. Now is the time to plan! What will you be doing to celebrate in your fellowship, in your country, in your local company?
Internationally we have designed a special logo shown here and we are, of course gathering in Zambia for ICGB 2018, more details here, but as a worldwide family we would ask that EVERYONE does something to acknowledge the impact that GB had had on the lives of young women through the years. Here are some key thoughts to help you on your way.
Celebrate the past ….. but look to the FUTURE as well.
Engage your current girls and young women in the events – they are the ‘NOW’ of GB
Tell stories about the impact of GB in transforming lives
Emphasise how our faithful God has led us, is leading us and will lead us on
Ensure that our celebrations have an outward face to the world – tell our story.
On Wednesday 11 October 2017 – UN’s International Day of the Girl (IDG) – Girls’ Brigade International is mobilising the global family to continue to pray and advocate with and for the Chibok girls (and many others impacted by Boko Haram violence).
We’re thankful that 167 young women have returned to their families but currently 113 girls remain missing since their abduction on 14 April 2014; some of them are GB members. #IDG2017 marks their 1,276th day of captivity.
On #IDG2017, Girls’ Brigade is inviting its members and friends to participate in a simple creative prayer exercise and social media activity to raise awareness and mobilise the wider Church to continue to pray; to say that we believe hope endures.
The creative activity includes using colourful hand templates to pray for specific named girls. It encourages members and groups to upload photos of decorated hands on social media to make a powerful impact, raise awareness and mobilise others to join in.
You can download this short adaptable GB prayer resource and use it in GB, in church or in many other ways. The prayer can be linked with practical action through GB International’s Cards of Hope initiative or through the Hope for Girls resource. And remember, it can be used any time.
The resource also provides an update on the complex situation in Nigeria and urges us to pray for these young women, the many other people who have been affected by violence as well as their families.
As a movement, Girls’ Brigade cares about how girls around the world are treated. We aim to bring hope into girls’ lives, and freedom brings hope! That’s why Girls’ Brigade members from around the world are joining together o #IDG2017 to pray for the Chibok school girls in Nigeria (six of whom are members of The Girls’ Brigade).
Please join us as we continue to raise hope for girls.
Sign up to our newsletter
Sign up to the Girls' Brigade Worldwide newsletter to get regular updates delivered straight to your inbox.