The job at first seemed that it would be a breeze collating all the stories, but as the time went on things became very stressful. Juggling jobs between proof reading, Girls’ Brigade and family, became a big task, but in the end, it was very rewarding to read all the wonderful stories that members sent in. We didn’t quite make the goal of 125 stories, but still I was very happy with what we have. There are so many wonderful Christian Women in Brigade, transforming girls and encouraging ladies to take up roles in Brigade.
If you still want to add a story, please contact us here and we will try and accommodate you.
I am privileged that I have been invited to share a Christmas thought with you all, as we come to the end of this year of celebration of 125 years of fruitful ministry for Girls’ Brigade. As I sit here, I am conscious that we will soon be surrounded by all things Christmassy:
good food and drink (too much),
pressies and cards (too many),
crackers and carols (too noisy)
shopping and cooking (too busy)
Whether you love all the trappings of Christmas or whether you find it all too much, I trust you will have time this Christmas to take a new look at the old story.
Jesus, God’s son, made man,
born in Bethlehem, the promised Messiah come to earth!
But, Christmas will come and go and soon we will find ourselves in a new year. For GB a new era will be born as we move on from our hectic year of celebrations. There will be more busy-ness, new agendas, new goals, new year’s resolutions. But, have you ever noticed how all those who took part in the Christmas narrative returned from Christmas in ‘a different place’?
Mary went to Bethlehem a virgin
and returned Mary the Mother of God’s son
(with new things to ponder)
Joseph went to Bethlehem a young fiancé
and returned as protector of the most holy gift
(with a new role)
The Shepherds went to Bethlehem to see a baby born
and returned glorifying and praising God
(with a new joy)
The wise men went to Bethlehem to find the new born King
and returned ‘another way’
(with new eyes)
And what of you and me? When we return to our desks, to our roles, to our busy diaries….. will anything be different because we have revisited the birth of the Messiah? I pray that you may have new eyes too to see what God wants you to do for Him differently, as we seek to be relevant to the 21st century mission we pursue.
Blessings of Christmas to you all – love, joy and peace!
2018 has been and has gone so fast. It has been a year full of excitement and celebrations as we looked 125 years back! What a journey it has been! We celebrate and salute those who were before us, our Pioneers, for answering to His call for a Mission for girls. We take pride in being the oldest, strongest Christian movement for girls.
How far God has taken us! But having come this far we face a challenge to remain relevant and responsive to the generation of today, while maintaining our Christian values. A group of us want to do things the way we have always done. Any deviation is met with anger and demands to do what we have always done. But that same passion is not evident about participating in work of the Gospel to transform lives. We spend hours discussing protocol, programmes, uniforms and sometimes we forget about the Great Commission.
Where is our focus as GB ?
We go into the New Year on the heels of ICGB 2018, where we were challenged to be Fruitful and Overflowing. Some of the key words/phrases that should continue to speak to us and help us start our journey for the next 125 years, intentionally, pioneer again, understand the soil, be authentic, embrace technology, be innovators, tell people how good your fruit is (be masterful), gusty (champion our uniqueness), make people (girls) our priority.
As we celebrate the Birth of Christ this Christmas may we be truly thankful and pray that we will “Be Joyful” despite the pressures of this world and continue to abide in Him and bear fruit.
Romans 12:12 “ Be Joyful in Hope, Patient in affliction, Faithful in Prayer “
I take this opportunity to wish you all and your families a very blessed Christmas and all the best for 2019. !!!
***HAPPY HOLIDAYS ****
On International Day of the Girl (11 October 2018), Girls’ Brigade International launched a free resource for local Girls’ Brigade leaders called GB’s ‘Raising Hope’ Advocacy Toolkit. [Download it from the link at the bottom of the page].
The Advocacy Toolkit is part of GB International’s on-going advocacy strategy to enable girls and young women to turn up the volume of hope in their own communities. The toolkit has two specific aims:
To equip GB leaders (particularly at local level) to be strategic and intentional about advocacy
To empower girls and young women to be at the centre of leading social action initiatives to transform their own communities
There are many definitions of advocacy but Girls’ Brigade believes it is ‘bringing God’s hope to people (particularly girls and women), who are experiencing injustice in order to bring about transformation in lives and communities.’
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. The Advocacy Toolkit features stories of how Girls’ Brigade members across the world are transformers, generations-shapers and hope-bringers! This resource will help enable them to challenge injustices in their own community in creative ways and transform lives which will have long-lasting impact.’
The free resource can be used by leaders to facilitate girls and young women (10-18s) and can used at any time during the GB year. Each of the six sessions contains creative activities with a Biblical focus including games, art, team-building, discussions and creative prayers and explores:
a common understanding of advocacy and injustice through interactive activities
how Girls’ Brigade members are and can be advocates of God’s hope and life in our world today
where the deficit of hope is in local communities and helps young people decide on one key injustice to transform
the root causes of injustice and demonstrates how problems can be turned into opportunities for change
how to plan an advocacy initiative which will challenge structural inequalities
how God calls us to ‘live justly’ every single day.
Dr Claire Rush, International Vice-President for Europe, shares: ‘Through this resource, young people will gain an understanding that advocacy is not just a one-off initiative or campaign – it is part of our rhythm of discipleship with Jesus who calls us to ‘live justly’ every day. Following Jesus is a whole-life adventure. This resource will also challenge our perception of real change and transformation. The brokenness in the world can only be restored by Jesus but He calls us to partner with Him to renovate reality. Each of us has an important role to play in transforming our communities. Use the Bible studies, discussions and creative prayer activities in this resource to challenge the young women with this question: do they know the transforming power of Jesus in their own life?’
The launch of GB’s ‘Raising Hope’ Advocacy Toolkit follows the exciting announcement last week that Girls’ Brigade International has been accredited with special consultative NGO status by the United Nations. This is an integral part of Girls’ Brigade International’s future advocacy strategy moving forward and an achievement to celebrate on our 125th birthday year. You can read more here.
After a 15 month application process, the International President’s Committee is pleased to announce that Girls’ Brigade International has been accredited with special consultative NGO status by the United Nations. This is an integral part of Girls’ Brigade International’s future advocacy strategy moving forward and an achievement to celebrate on our 125th birthday year.
Girls’ Brigade International President Mrs Priscilla Penny from Zimbabwe shares: ‘We thank God for this tremendous opportunity to turn up the volume of Gospel hope for girls in this influential global forum. Being recognised by the United Nations will amplify GB International’s platform to advocate for and with girls on gender justice issues and help empower girls to transform their communities. As one of only a few recognised Christian organisations focussing on transforming girls’ lives, Girls’ Brigade has a huge opportunity to show how faith can make a difference in the lives of girls.’
What does having consultative status mean?
Having consultative status enables GB International and our members to:
Provide expert analysis on gender justice issues
Help raise public awareness of gender justice issues on the global stage
Play a major role in advancing United Nations goals and objectives on gender equality
Attend international conferences and events for free
Make written and oral statements to United Nations and influence policy making
Organize events at United Nations
Have opportunities to network and lobby (and make fundraising contacts)
It also enables Girls’ Brigade International to have a presence at the annual Commission of the Status of Women (CSW).
What is the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)?
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global policymaking body dedicated to gender equality and advancement of women. The Commission meets annually for a period of 10 working days each March in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.
Attending CSW would enable GB International to contribute our unique faith-based Gospel hope perspective, influence global policies affecting girls and women and network with high-level individuals and organisations leading to collaborative partnerships.
A few members of the International President’s Committee will be attending CSW in March 2019 in order to assess future opportunities. It is hoped that in future years, GB members of all ages will attend to develop advocacy, communication and leadership skills and faciltate faith-based workshops at the event.
Why is Girls’ Brigade developing an advocacy strategy?
Over the last few years, GBI has been developing its advocacy emphasis along with its missional and evangelistic ethos.
GBI President Mrs Priscilla Penny explains: ‘GBI’s advocacy development is about equipping girls and young women to turn up the volume of Gospel hope for girls in communities across the world. Girls’ Brigade cares for girls because God cares for girls. GB wants to celebrate the value and potential of girls and women across the world as they’re made in God’s image. After all, that’s what Jesus did.’
‘Unfortunately in many places, it is very challenging to be a girl. I’m more likely to not be able to read and write because I’m a girl. I’m more likely to have tears of sorrow (not tears of joy) on my wedding day because I’m a girl. I’m more likely not to have a choice about where and when my first sexual experience happens because I’m a girl.’
‘But there is always hope. God has used Girls’ Brigade to help girls flourish across the world by providing life skills, a caring family of leaders who invest in them and empowering girls to discover ‘life to the full’.’ Let’s continue to bring Gospel hope to lives and communities across the world.’
On 11 October 2018, the UN’s International Day of the Girl, GBI will be launching its new social activism toolkit to enable girls to transform their communities. It will be free to download from the GB International website.
Dr Claire Rush, International Vice-President for Europe, shares: ‘GB members across the world are transformers, generations-shapers and hope-bringers! This free resource will help enable them to challenge injustices in their own community in creative ways and transform lives. It is part of our on-going advocacy strategy to enable girls and young women to turn up the volume of hope in their own communities.’
This new resource builds on the Hope For Girls resource which explores gender injustice across the world.
How can UN recognition help my GB group and GB country?
Watch this space for more information about how this news can impact your GB group in a positive way.
Four years ago in Perth I was humbled to be elected International President of Girls’ Brigade 2014-2018. It has been a privilege and joy to serve the faithful leaders and committed members of GB during this time. Thank you all for your support, your love and your prayers! Key words like open doors, inter-generational leadership, transformation, hope, empowerment, courage, expectation and ‘joining God in His mission’ have helped us to maintain our fruitful and overflowing ministry during this period.
It was a joy to meet with GB personnel from all around the world in Zambia, at ICGB 2018. Together we dealt with the business issues, soaked up the challenge of the key note speakers, shared the expertise of the workshop leaders and were inspired by the exciting stories that were shared. New words, fresh challenges and different ways of being lie ahead, but one thing was clear – GB has a future in God’s vineyard
Now, as I hand over the baton to Priscilla Penny, our new President, my prayer is that she and her team (Renelle, Poh Imm, Claire, Aruk, Quindell and Betty) may know that the great God who has led us in the past and watches over the present will continue to be the true leader of GB. He said ‘Behold I am doing a new thing’ May He do a new thing in GB under their leadership.
What a great experience it was, to once again enjoy the different cultures, from the African ladies to the ladies in the Pacific, from the Caribbean to Europe and of course our sisters in Asia, with their dancing and singing, to the worshipping of the different cultures, which was so amazing.
This is my 6th ICGB and each one has been different, teaching us many ways of communicating, worshipping, the different cultural diversities of our Girls’ Brigade World. The colours of our cultural dress, our singing and our different ways we portray how we worship. This is all brought together when we sing the same song or say the Lord’s Prayer in our own language. What an amazing feeling we all get, showing that we are all joined with the one purpose in our life, is to be one in God.
I always go away from these Conferences uplifted in Christ, praying for our sisters from around the world, and realising that they also have the same issue that we have with our girls in our areas. We are truly blessed in the work of transforming lives, enriching God’s world.
Rev. Dennis Pethers has served as chaplain for Girls’ Brigade England and Wales for many years and a regular speaker at their conferences. He urged the over 300 delegates to keep abiding in the vine if we want to maintain being fruitful. He also spoke of the historic nature of the event, celebrating 125 years of our mission. He challenged us to think about what we need God to do in us to be fruit bearers. He urged us to tell the world about the good work we are doing and challenge us to expand our reach.
While Mrs Janet Mwafulilwa Kalale an active and practicing preacher of the word, emphasised on the importance of knowing the soil we work with. She spoke about the world of Generation Z, their passions, their world, their compassion, their spirituality and their values. She challenged us to meet their needs and embrace their culture.
Mrs Brenda Sichilembe is serving as Zambia’s High commissioner to Nairobi and permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Nairobi. Emphasised on pruning she urged us to empty ourselves and have the image of GB in us by recreating it and giving it colour because God loves colours. She urged us to believe in whom God says we are. She challenged us to be, Anointed, Equipped, Talented, Redeemed and Blessed.
The speakers were wonderful and made each session very inspiring. We thank God for a Fruitful and Overflowing periods we shared together.
Ideas Worth Sharing and Voices Worth Hearing were two new additions to ICGB this year and enabled members to challenge and inspire the global GB family with new ideas and initiatives. Mirrored on the popular TED talks, each speaker had 10 mins to communicate an idea that could make GB more fruitful and overflowing.
As a result of feedback from The Gathering 2017 in Ghana, The Voices Worth Hearing slot focussed on amplifying the voices and ideas of 18-35s leaders. Speakers included Hui Ting Lee (24) and Ching Yee Tay (29) from GB Singapore who challenged us about how to use digital media more effectively in Girls’ Brigade and Safiya Da Silva (29) from GB Trinidad & Tobago who shared about an innovative Caribbean-Americas community outreach project.
Reminding us that 1 in 4 people experience poor mental well-being, Jessie Emms (21) from GB England & Wales shared her passion about how Girls’ Brigade can help turn up the volume of hope for girls in this area and challenged us not to perceive it as a taboo subject.
Ayana Graham from GB Jamaica and Nicola Watson (24) from GB Northern Ireland facilitated a joint talk on strategies to empower younger leaders. Both are involved in leading youth empowerment initiatives in their own GB countries. Ayana, who is 25 years old, is the Vice-President of Jamaica.
Miriam Waapera from GB Nigeria, who delivered an excellent talk on the importance of girls’ education, shared how the experience impacted her: ‘I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to deliver a presentation at ICGB; this meant a great deal to me.’
IPC was committed to ensuring our younger leaders’ voices were amplified at ICGB; we have heard and listened to them. Now the challenge is to respond.
Calvary Greetings. ICGB has been and gone. I am humbled by being elected at IP for 2018 to 2022. 125 years on and we are still there… We must be doing something right.
At ICGB 2018, we heard and we learnt. We were challenged to keep the main thing, the main thing, to be Intentional in moving GB forward. Our eyes were opened to Generation Z, we need to remain relevant. We heard God speak to us in so many ways.
As we begin on this journey together for the next four years, I wonder what plans God has for us. I can only believe that it will be an exciting and fulfilling journey. What will be our objectives?
That GB will take its place as the Oldest and Strongest Christian Organisation focusing on Girl Child Issues.
That GB members will be good stewards and take care of God’s creation – The Earth.
That GB will make a Loud Noise that cannot be missed as it turns up the volume of Hope for Girls around the world. May the Girls Brigade be the FIRST TO PRAY, THE FIRST TO SPEAK AND THE FIRST TO ACT for safety and justice for the Girl child. As it say in Proverbs 31:8-9, “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and the needy.”
GB will empower and nurture our young women to drive the Mission and Vision of GB.
The Theme for 2019 is “Fruitful and Overflowing… Live Joyfully”. I tried to understand the term “Overflowing”. Producing Fruit is a process from preparing the soil, to harvest and then sharing the fruit. How do we get there? How do we get to a point where we move beyond private and personal breakthrough to being so full of the Holy Spirit that we become carriers of His Glory and have His presence overflow out of our inner spirit into every area of our soul, body and around us, bringing healing and freedom to those we come into contact with, to our girls especially as we seek to Transform Lives.
We maybe separated by land, water, different cultures, but we are one family with one Mission … to Transform the lives of the girls. ONE GB … ONE MISSION!!!
Priscilla Penny – International President
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