An Easter message from Priscilla Penny

It was finished at Calvary! Happy Easter.

The Easter message is one that will never get old or expire! Easter, that is, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is the greatest event of all time.

In a few days, we will be starting the Holy week and celebrating Easter. the story of Easter is its life changing message that our sins are forgiven, we have a purpose to live out through the power and promises of Christ, and our eternal future is secured in heaven.

What has particularly stood out for you this Lent/Good Friday/Easter Season? As we pray and meditate this season let us light a candle for the families of Ukraine who have been separated by the devastating war. We pray for divine intervention and an end to the war.

Let us RISE IN STRENGTH and stand in the gap to intercede for this war to end.

I leave you with these words by CityAlight:

“It Was Finished Upon That Cross”

How I love the voice of Jesus
On the cross of Calvary
He declares His work is finished
He has spoken this hope to me
Though the sun had ceased its shining
Though the war appeared as lost
Christ had triumphed over evil
It was finished upon that cross

Now the curse, it has been broken
Jesus paid the price for me
Full, the pardon he has offered
Great, the welcome that I receive
Boldly, I approach my Father
Clothed in Jesus’ righteousness
There is no more guilt to carry
It was finished upon that cross

Death was once my great opponent
Fear once had a hold on me
But the Son who died to save us
Rose that we would be free indeed!
Death was once my great opponent
Fear once had a hold on me
But the Son who died to save us
Rose that we would be free indeed!
Yes, He rose that we would be free indeed!

Free from every plan of darkness
Free to live and free to love
Death is dead and Christ is risen!
It was finished upon that cross
Onward to eternal glory
To my Saviour and my God
I rejoice in Jesus’ victory
It was finished upon that cross
It was finished upon that cross
It was finished upon that cross

Priscilla P. Penny

The International President

ICGB 2022 – Equipping Workshops

On Saturday 2nd April 2022 Girls’ Brigade International will be running 4 workshops as part of virtual ICGB.

These are open to all GB members.

All of the sessions can be booked via Eventbrite here.

Ms. Vivienne Aitchison

1 – Governance – a tool or a straight jacket – 1pm GMT+1

Facilitated by Ms. V Aitchison.

Vivienne joined GB at the age of 7years and, through the witness of faithful local leaders, gave her life to Christ at a GB camp. Passionate for the organisation that brought her to faith Vivienne has served as a volunteer throughout her life first as a local officer and then in District, Regional and National Roles. She was privileged to have served as Girls’ Brigade’s International President from 2014-2018, having been VP for Europe from 2006-2014.  Professionally, Vivienne is an experienced headteacher, has been an Inspector of Church Schools and a Headteacher mentor.  She is still involved in the training and support of newly qualified teachers as well as in Leadership Development. She has served the local Diocese by providing training for School Governors on such things as understanding their role, running effective meetings and managing change.  

This workshop is designed for those serving, or interested in serving at Regional or National levels on executives, governing boards, management committees or similar bodies.

All national leaders/executives are expected to attend.

Exploring:

  • The importance of using good governance as a tool which ensures both legal compliance and strategic oversight of GB in your country. 
  • It will highlight the Governing Body’s role in maintaining a clear focus on the missional aims of the organisation.
  • It will provide a check list of good practice to examine the potential and actual effectiveness of your governing body.
  • It will give Practical tips for the management of effective board meetings.
Dr. Claire Rush

2 – GB the Advocate – 7am or 1pm GMT+1

Facilitated by Dr. Claire Rush.

Unfortunately the world is still an unfair place for many girls.

Come and join Dr Claire Rush, Vice-President of GB International, to learn how we can be more intentional and strategic in our advocacy skills in Girls’ Brigade. This interactive webinar will equip leaders to understand advocacy and help young women in their GB groups transform injustices in their own communities. It will also introduce the new She Speaks: A Gender Justice resource, a free programme from GB International.

Rev. Dennis Pethers

3 – GB in mission – 7am GMT+1

Facilitated by Rev. Dennis Pethers.

Dennis grew up in the East End of London in the UK and for the early part of his life knew nothing of church, Jesus or the Christian faith. He discovered the truth about Jesus while reading ‘Mere Christianity’ sitting on a train outside of London Liverpool Street railway station. Since coming to faith in Jesus, Dennis has always had a passion to see a global movement of evangelism. 

Dennis is now the International Pioneer of ‘The Rooftop’ a global movement that is helping churches across the world to ‘Join Jesus in His mission’. They do this as they journey through a process that begins on a rooftop and then helps them to engage with, and make disciples of people who are beyond the walls of the church. 

Dennis spends much of his time travelling across the world speaking at conferences and events as well as equipping Christians and churches to communicate the message of Jesus in ways that makes sense to people who ‘don’t know that they don’t know Jesus’. Dennis is a great friend of Girls’ Brigade; he has been national chaplain of GB England & Wales and also spoke at the International Conference of GB in 2018 in Zambia. In addition to his speaking and equipping ministry Dennis is the author of several evangelistic resources and books.

Dennis is married to Lynn and they have three grown up children – Gregg, Scott and Amy. He is a passionate fan of Everton FC and loves to play tennis.

This session will be exploring:

  • Mission from a biblical perspective
  • Why are we doing what we are doing? 
  • What are we doing ?…Sharing innovative ways of doing GB
  • What are some of the things that we can do better and those that we are not doing that we can do?

4 – Fun and games with GB – 1pm GMT+1

Facilitated by the GBI team.

Watch this space for more information.

All of the above sessions need to be booked via Eventbrite here.

Please do not book onto multiple sessions that are running at the same time!

Book before Thursday 31st March to secure your place.

Zoom links for each session will be sent once booking closes.

You can check UK current time and the time in your own country here.

Launch of She Speaks: A Gender Justice resource for GB leaders

On International Women’s Day (8 March 2022), Girls’ Brigade International launched a free resource for local Girls’ Brigade leaders called She Speaks: A Gender Justice resource.

This resource was created by GB leaders from around the world including Caitlyn Robinson (GB Australia), Jessie Emms (GB England & Wales), Hannah Morpeth (GB England & Wales), Nelly Banda (GB Zambia) & Ruth Utulu (GB Nigeria) and edited by one of GB International’s Vice-Presidents, Dr Claire Rush. As GB’s Delegation of Hope to the United Nations in 2021, these young women represented GB members and advocated for gender justice by hosting a session at the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women.

You can watch a recording of their incredible session (which included drama and spoken word piece) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1D_lxEJ7RM&t=500s

This free resource can be used by leaders to facilitate girls and young women (13-25s) and can used at any time during the GB year. Each of the five sessions contains creative activities with a Biblical focus including games, art, team-building, discussions, personal stories and creative prayers. The five sessions include:

  • Girls in the world today: what is gender justice?
  • Missing from school: improving girls’ access to education
  • Being safe: ending male violence against women and girls
  • Removing taboo: shattering mental health stigma
  • Girls’ Brigade Raises Hope

The resource also features the voices and stories of young GB members from across the world.

Girls’ Brigade International President Mrs Priscilla Penny from Zimbabwe shares: ‘When Margaret Lyttle established GB in 1893, she was advocating with and for girls. In other words, she was helping shape a different and more hope-filled future for girls. Advocacy – raising hope for girls – is in our DNA. She Speaks features stories of how Girls’ Brigade members across the world are transformers, generations-shapers and hope-bringers! This resource will help enable GB members to challenge injustices in their own community in creative ways and transform lives which will have long-lasting impact.’

The structure of the She Speaks resource is designed to be flexible – it can be used for a one-off GB group meeting (pick and choose the most relevant activity) but it will be most effective when used over a course of five sessions or a residential. This amount of time will empower the young women to understand the issues and will enable them to plan to make a real difference. GB leaders are able to tailor it to the needs and requirements of their GB groups.

Download the new She Speaks: A Gender Justice resource below.

She Speaks: Young Women on Faith, Climate Justice and Transformational Acts.

Wednesday 16 March, 1200-1330 GMT

A Girls’ Brigade International event at UN’s Commission on the Status of Women.

You must register here if you’re planning to attend.

Christian young women’s voices are often missing from the conversations about climate change – particularly those from small nations. Girls’ Brigade International is passionate about amplifying their voices!

Girls’ Brigade leaders from British Virgin Islands, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Zambia will share how climate change has impacted their own families and communities as well as how they are advocating for change thus demonstrating how engaging young women of faith is critical in ensuring the successful implementation of SDGs and achieving gender and climate justice.

To join us for this exciting and dynamic conversation, you need to register here: https://forms.gle/TNQCPdrnn3PM4dRF8

The session will close with a panel discussion at the end on why engaging with faith-based organisation on the issue of climate justice is important. Contributors include:

Please support the team with your prayers and by registering to join the session live: https://forms.gle/TNQCPdrnn3PM4dRF8

Happy New Year – 2022

Compliments of the season! By His grace we are here, 2022, and God is saying in Isaiah 40:9 (NKJV) “…lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Rise in Strength!

2021 is gone with all its challenges. We do not know what lies ahead in 2022, but one thing is certain, God is still God. The past two years have been blighted with a pandemic that has left no one untouched the world over. Despite being believers and optimists, we could approach this year with a heavy heart, which can steal our joy in celebrating the New Year. New variants of the pandemic keep coming up and there is no end in sight despite the breakthroughs in vaccines. But you know what, God hears our cries. He has not forgotten or forsaken us. God’s word is full of promises and in Lamentations 3:22-23 (ISV) “Because of the Lord’s gracious love we are not consumed, since his compassions never end. They are new every morning – great is your faithfulness!”

What does the new year mean for us? We do not forget the past but take stock of what God did in our lives during the past year. It will show us the faithfulness of God and draws us into worship. As we step into the future, looking back at God’s work in our lives, both the expected and unexpected gives us faith for what He will do next. We are assured of God’s faithfulness always. As an organisation, we thank God because we experienced His presence and guidance when the whole world went into lockdown. We have been connected as never before as an international body through Zoom and other social media platforms.

We make new year resolutions, but maybe the most important resolution of all is to make Jesus come first in our life. In the busyness of life, it can be easy to forget that we were commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27). When we focus on God, everything else falls into place.

Our theme for 2022 is “Rise in Strength” based on Isaiah 40. In Verse 9 God commands us to, “…lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Are we ready to Rise in Strength to share the message of Hope? May I encourage each and every one of us to form some personal habits that will shape and focus our lives as we join God in His mission to ‘See girls’ lives transformed and God’s world enriched.” Let us read the word, speak the word, live the word and pray the word. For the word of the Lord endures forever.

Priscilla P. Penny

The International President

“For we walk by faith and not by sight”…. to see girls’ lives transformed: God’s world enriched! 

Maintaining Kingdom Values With 21st Century Mission
2022:   RISE IN STRENGTH   Isaiah 40:9…” lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”

ICGB 2022

Booking is now open for our first ICGB event on Saturday 29th January 2022.
This event is open to all GB members, not just delegates.
You can book your place now by following the below link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/224107751317

The event begins at 12 noon GMT/ 7am EST. It is expected to last approximately 2 hours.

Please check the time in your own country here.

Bookings will close on Saturday 22nd January.

If you have booked your place, details of how to join the meeting on Zoom will be sent w/c 24th January.


This will be the first in a series of online ICGB events throughout 2022.

If you would like information on how you can become an official ICGB Delegate please contact your GB country for more information.

Safety Work

By Caitlyn Robinson

Gender-Based Violence, or GBV for short, is still a threat to the freedom of Australian women. In Australia, GBV can look like being cat-called on your afternoon walk, having a man rub his leg against yours on your morning commute, or having a car follow you home. The sad reality is that women learn to live with these experiences, keeping themselves as safe as possible when they navigate public spaces. It begs the question- are public spaces really public? In the last few years, I have come to learn that women are very in tune with their presence in public spaces. They understand the importance of being aware of their surroundings.

The different ways in which women protect themselves in public is collectively known as ‘safety work,’ a term coined by Vera-Gray and Kelly in 2020. The term is new, but safety work behaviours have been around for years. Women may identify with safety work behaviours; changing routes on your way home, selectively choosing where to sit on the bus, and even physically reducing oneself in public by wearing headphones and sunglasses. Safety work behaviours act to keep women not only hyperaware of their personal space, but ultimately to make us invisible to those who could threaten our safety.

Women are pretty tired of carrying the burden of safety work and we are calling on male allies to lighten the load. I recently read an article by ABC News (2019) where Patrick Wright outlined ways that men can be allies in public, here are his tips:

  1. Keep your distance; as a woman it can be scary if we think people are following us. You might consider crossing the street to signify to a woman that you are not a threat.
  2. Be a mindful runner; avoid running up behind women, especially at night, jog past at a good distance, or even use those few metres to take a walking break.
  3. Play the tourist card; if you think a woman is in an unsafe situation but you are not sure how to interrupt the interaction, ask for directions to a certain location. Asking for directions is a great way to shut down a conversation without being threatening.

Safety work is exhausting for women. Male allies sharing that burden helps us move towards a world where public space is free for all to enjoy. GBV remains an issue for Australian women, but we have the power to make small changes to how we interact with public space that ensures inclusivity in our local communities.

Sources used:

Vera-Gray, F., & Kelly, L. (2020). Contested gendered space: public sexual harassment and women's safety work. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 44, 265-275. doi:10.1080/01924036.2020.1732435

Wright, P. (2019). Women don't feel safe in public spaces — and it's up to men to do something about it. ABC News.

Photo by Todd Diemer on Unsplash

DIGITAL REVOLUTION? NOT WITHOUT GIRLS!

MESSAGE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT ON INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD, 11TH OCTOBER 2021.

This year The Girls Brigade International joins the rest of the world on 11th October 2021 to celebrate International Day of the Girl Child under the Theme, “Digital Generation,Our Generation“.

According to statistics by UNICEF, whilst the pandemic has accelerated digital platforms for learning, earning and connecting, some 2.2 billion people below the age of 25 still do not have internet access at home.

Girls are more likely to be cut off. The gender gap for global internet users grew from 11 per cent in 2013 to 17 per cent in 2019. In the world’s least developed countries, it hovers around 43 per cent. Only by addressing the inequity and exclusion that span geographies and generations can we usher in a digital revolution for all, with all.

The Girls’ Brigade is helping girls around the world to achieve their God-given potential through formal and informal education. The impact of informal education in the Girls’ Brigade may seem subtle, but it is a powerful force in the fight for gender justice. As the largest and oldest Christian organisation focused on the girl child, we are well positioned to ensure that NO girl is left behind. We can use our platforms to  improve women’s and girls’ access to technology and digital spaces by pushing digital technology education and actively support and promote girls’ participation in IT related subjects. This will help ensure that they have equal access to opportunities in the workplaces of the future.

Girls might be reluctant to access computer classes and internet cafes because these spaces are dominated by men or they are located in places that are not accessible to women. Let us create safe spaces for girls and women to learn digital literacy and how to use technology to improve their lives. We also need to bring awareness to the girls, of the risks associated with using technology and being online. Knowing what to do and who to contact if anything makes them feel uneasy is a crucial part of closing the digital gender gap. 

Let us rise up and encourage technology creativity among our Girls.

Happy International Day of the Girl Child.

Priscilla Penny

GBI International President

GB International’s World Day of Prayer Gathering

We are delighted that Rev. Tara Tyme-Campbell will be hosting our International World Day of Prayer on June 12, 2021 (0700 & 1300 BST.) Led by the Caribbean-Americas Fellowship, it is a space where our GB International family from various cultural backgrounds will share in praise and worship as well as celebrate 128 years of GB. Let us support and encourage each other during these challenging times!

Please book online here before Wednesday 9 June (midday, BST): https://forms.gle/1Yd9uPydaqy867iW6

The service will be led by Rev. Tara Tyme-Campbell.

November 11, 2020, marked the 16th anniversary of Rev. Tyme’s ordination to Word and Sacraments in the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI). She has served as Pastor in both contexts of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Since September 2015, she has served as Pastor for the St. Paul’s/Norwood Charge of United Churches in Montego Bay, St. James, Jamaica.

In addition to her local pastoral work, Rev. Tyme currently serves UCJCI synodically and regionally as a member of the UCJCI’s Central Mission Council, a member of the Church and Ministry Committee for the Synod of the UCJCI, Camp Administrator for the Camp Ministry of the UCJCI, and Vice-Chair for Leadership in the Western Regional Mission Council.

Rev. Tara is no stranger to the Girls’ Brigade family. She served in Grand Cayman as National Chaplain and Chaplain for the company in her then congregation – the John Gray Memorial United Church.

Saturday 12 June 2021, 0700-0830 & 1300-1430 (BST, UK time)

Please check the time in your own country here.

(be aware we are now on BST not GMT)

Please book online here before Wednesday 9 June (midday, BST): https://forms.gle/1Yd9uPydaqy867iW6

On the day, please ensure that you’re logged into the Zoom call ready for the meeting to begin about 5-10 minutes before. Zoom is a really easy piece of software to use. Here is how you can download the software to your computer in advance. It’s best to use it with a laptop with a webcam. We’d love to ‘see’ you!

Girls’ Brigade raises hope for girls at UNCSW65

Last month, five GB members from across the world represented Girls’ Brigade International at the virtual UN’s Commission on the Status of Women, the largest gathering of gender justice activists in the world.

The Delegation of Hope team – Caitlyn Robinson from GB Australia, Jessie Emms and Hannah Morpeth from GB England & Wales, Nelly Banda from GB Zambia and Ruth Utulu from GB Nigeria – attended a number of workshops, equipping sessions and conversation circles focused on issues impacting girls around the world.

On Thursday 18 March, the team led its own equipping webinar on the NGOCSW virtual platform. ‘She Speaks: Young Women on Faith, Social Justice and Transformational Acts’ was created and led by GB’s Delegation of Hope and explored issues like girls’ access to education, ending violence against women, gender-specific religious persecution and mental health and well-being. It included drama, spoken word monologues as well as interviews with people of expertise.

You can watch the equipping webinar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1D_lxEJ7RM&t=478s

The webinar was the result of many months of research, planning and networking and it was supported by partners like Open Doors International, Christian Aid and the Women’s Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance. It included expert input from Bishop Sarah Mullally from the Diocese of London, Chine McDonald from Christian Aid, Helene Fisher from Open Doors International and Christine MacMillan who is an advisor on the UN Multi-Faith Advisory Council.

As a faith-based organization, one of the team’s goals was to demonstrate how Christian movements like Girls’ Brigade can make a positive impact on improving girls’ opportunities and self-esteem.

Team member Jessie explains: ‘I think Girls’ Brigade’s presence at UNCSW has made a big difference because we were able to show people why faith-based organisations are so important in achieving gender justice. We’ve helped turn up the volume of hope in this crucial area. Religion plays a key role in the lives of many people around the world with 84% of the world population associating with a faith. So, faith leaders are often an important and influential factor in many people’s lives. They’re trusted members of the community and can be agents for change. When people experience an injustice such as gender-based violence, it’s often faith-based organisations like the Girls’ Brigade who are the “first responders”. Our presence was very much needed and will make a difference.’