Christmas bells are ringing! Yes, it is that time of the year again.
Is Christmas the gifts and the abundance of food and drink?
This is a holiday that is observed and celebrated by everyone and sometimes we lose focus on what it is all about. As we get busy with the preparations, for some it’s maybe the only time they get new clothes or get to eat good food. For business people, it’s a time for economic boom as people spend more on luxuries. This is all good and makes life enjoyable BUT, what are we celebrating?
Christmas is a time of spiritual reflection on the important foundations of the Christian faith. It’s also a celebration. It’s when Christians celebrate God’s love for the world through the birth of the Christ child: Jesus.
So, as we celebrate this year, let us go deeper than the gifts, the food and the drink.
Jesus Christ must be at the centre in our hearts. Let us find time, just to be quite and be thankful to God for giving us His Son and to truly take in the wonder and awe of the season. Such love and sacrifice.
May I take this opportunity, on behalf of my husband Claudio and my family, to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Let us continue to rise in His strength as we serve Him for the growth of the Kingdom.
Today, The Girls’ Brigade International joins in commemorating the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl (IDG).
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.
‘Girls are ready for a decade of acceleration forward. It is time for us all to stand accountable – with and for girls – and to invest in a future that believes in their agency, leadership and potential.’ – Unicef
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.