Girls' Brigade Worldwide News

Celebrating International Day of the Girl 2020

Published on November 30, 2020

On 10th October this year, GB members around the world celebrated International Day of the Girl.

Ruth Utulu, a GB member from Ebonyi State in Nigeria, was involved with a collaboration between Girls’ Brigade, the Ebonyi State Vocational College and one.org.

Over 150 people were in attendance including Government officials, Girls’ Brigade mentors and girls, graduating students of the Give a Girl a Hope Project, One.org members, female students and staff of Urban Secondary School Abakaliki, Bishop Otubelu Convent school, Girls Model School Ugwachara, and Presco Secondary School and volunteers.

To mark the event, two key activities were scheduled.

First was a celebration of the young women who had completed three months of training on fashion design and entrepreneurship through GB’s Give A Girl A Hope Project. State Honourable Commissioner for Education, Dr. Onyebuchi Chima, did the honour of presenting the graduating students their certificates. Through this GB initiative, young women have been equipped with key economic skills which enables them to build a sustainable future for themselves and their families.

The graduation as followed by a panel discussion to educate young girls and women on the issues surrounding rape and gender based violence. This topic was chosen because of the increase in the reported cases of rape and gender-based violence across the State since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Organiser Ruth shared: ‘It is paramount to arm the young women with valuable information on signs to watch out for, who to speak to, how to go about reporting such cases,  laws protecting them, actions to take when experiencing abuse, when to visit the hospital and why it’s important and information about organisations that offer counselling and legal support for victims, amongst other issues.’

The event was a fantastic way to showcase the impact of Girls’ Brigade to Government officials and other people of influence. It was also an opportunity to educate girls and young women about gender based violence. It was wonderful to have girls and women indicate interest in becoming members of Girls’ Brigade.

The celebrations continued on Sunday 11th October at the Ebonyi State Radio Broadcasting Service and on Monday 12th October at the T.V Station. These media appearances were an opportunity to share what Girls’ Brigade does to amplify girls’ voices and transform lives as well as advocate for the Girl Child.

GB International is thrilled to see GB members using International Day of the Girl to celebrate the power and potential of girls, raise awareness about issues of gender injustice and showcase the fantastic ministry of GB.

Share your stories with us

LEAD//FOLLOW online equipping webinar for leaders – Growing GB in a COVID-19 world

Published on November 11, 2020

It is true to say that 2020 has been a year like no other. Join with the founder of The Rooftop International and friend of GB, Rev Den Pethers to explore the missional opportunities for Girls’ Brigade in this season of challenge. The webinar will discuss how God can use GB to grow faith in children and young people as well as grow our engagement with churches and the wider community in these challenging times. Join this webinar and be encouraged that God’s international mission of Girls’ Brigade is still for such a time as this.

Saturday 5 December 2020, 0700-0830 & 1300-1430 (GMT, UK time)

Please check the time in your own country here

(be aware we are now on GMT not BST)

You can book online here

Booking will close on Wednesday 2 December at Midday UK time.

The webinar will be led by Rev Den Pethers, Founder and International Pioneer of ‘The Rooftop‘.

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.

LEAD//FOLLOW is a series of 10 monthly online equipping webinars for GB leaders and officers which will run from September 2020 to June 2021. Each webinar will be led by expert facilitators inside and outside the GB family and are free for GB leaders. The 90 min webinar will be held by Zoom and accessible to GB leaders to join live online.

Here’s some excellent feedback from our previous webinars:

Please note that space on each webinar is limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please only book if you’re able to attend.

If you’re a registered GB leader/officer, you can book online for this webinar here

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!

Please contact us if you have any problems.

Look out for more details about future online equipping webinars for leaders.

LEAD//FOLLOW online equipping webinar for leaders – Pastoral Care: how to navigate and manage loss

Published on October 3, 2020

Join with two pastoral care leaders from the Caribbean-Americas & Pacific Fellowships to explore what effective pastoral care is and why it is important and Biblical. The webinar will discuss how we can provide pastoral care to children and young people who have experienced loss during the COVID-19 pandemic. Together you will learn how we can ensure that GB continues to be a hope-filled and safe environment for young people to navigate this challenging time.

Saturday 31 October 2020, 0700-0830 & 1300-1430 (GMT, UK time)

Please check the time in your own country here.

You can book online here.

Booking will close on Wednesday 28 October at 1200 (GMT).

Cheryl Clen from Australia (0700-0830)

Cheryl delights in exploring creative ways to go deeper into understanding the precious gift of a personal relationship with God. With a pastoral and educational background, she will be sharing with us from her experience and knowledge, practical ways to provide pastoral care, especially in times of people experiencing loss. As chaplain of her local company for over 15 years and currently the National Chaplain for GB Australia, Cheryl has been a part of GB since her own early days as a cadet and journeyed with many to see God’s transforming process in action.

Sharing her home with her much loved 15 year old, mischievous, Labradoodle dog, Cheryl is based in Sydney Australia.

Rev Carlene Walford from Jamaica (1300-1430)

Carlene is an ordained minister in the United Church in Jamaica and Cayman Islands.  She pursued her theological training at the United Theological College of the West Indies (UTCWI).  She graduated with a Diploma in Ministerial Studies and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology (Hons).  Rev. Walford is actively involved at the Synodical Level in the Church as she represented the church in several initiatives such as The Caribbean Workers Overseas Programme (CWOP) – Canada , A New Face Programme (ANF) – New Zealand, The Ecumenical Relations Committee and others.

Her passion in ministry is Pastoral Care and Evangelism and this is so simply because of her love for people.  She believes part of her responsibility as a Pastor is to help persons live that abundant life Jesus came for all to have.  Rev. Walford is married with two daughters.

What is the LEAD//FOLLOW webinar series?

LEAD//FOLLOW is a series of 10 monthly online equipping webinars for GB leaders and officers which will run from September 2020 to June 2021. Each webinar will be led by expert facilitators inside and outside the GB family and are free for GB leaders. The 90 min webinar will be held by Zoom and accessible to GB leaders to join live online.

Here’s some excellent feedback from our previous webinars:

Please note that spaces on each webinar is limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served space. Please only book if you’re able to attend.

If you’re a registered GB leader/officer, you can book online for this webinar here.

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!

Please contact home@gbworldwide.org if you have any problems.

Look out for more details about future online equipping webinars for leaders.

LEAD//FOLLOW online equipping webinar for leaders – Nurturing positive mental health and well-being in children and young people

Published on September 10, 2020

GB International is pleased to launch the second LEAD//FOLLOW equipping webinar for all GB leaders.

Booking is now open here.

Nurturing positive mental health and well-being in children and young people.

Join with two mental health professionals and GB leaders to explore what mental health is and why nurturing positive mental well-being is important and Biblical. The webinar will explore the contributing factors towards poor mental health as well as the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of young people. Together you will learn how we can ensure that GB continues to be a hope-filled and safe environment for young people to manage their emotions.

Saturday 3 October 2020 at 1200 – 1330 (UK time).

Note there is only one webinar session this month. Please check the time in your own country here.

You can book online here.

Booking will close on Monday 28 September at Midday UK time.

The webinar will be facilitated by:

Jessie Emms

Jessie holds a first class Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (Mental Health) and is currently working as a mental health nurse within child and adolescent psychiatry. Passionate about raising hope amongst women, Jessie is a long standing member and proud leader in The Girls’ Brigade England & Wales and currently serves as an under 30’s representative on its Network Executive. In 2018 Jessie attended the International Conference of GB in Zambia where she used her skills and passion to deliver a TED style talk to over 350 people about the importance of mental health. Jessie was awarded first place in the GBI ‘Girls Living Life to the Full challenge’ and as a result is a member of GB’s Delegation of Hope who is representing GB at the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women in NYC.

Hannah Morpeth

Hannah is a qualified mental health nurse working in a therapy clinic for children, young people and families with a variety of psychiatric illnesses and she also works with young people with eating disorders. Hannah has delivered emotional wellbeing and mental health equipping sessions in different countries and cultural contexts including North Macedonia and Uganda. Hannah Morpeth has been a member of The Girls’ Brigade England and Wales for twenty years and is now a leader, working in the main with the 13-18 age group. Hannah serves as a representative of Girls’ Brigade England and Wales on the Girls’ Brigade Europe Executive Board. She is passionate about the benefits that being involved in arts activities can have on someone’s emotional wellbeing and is currently working freelance under Create Healthy Minds, a venture to bring together her passions of mental health and creativity.

LEAD//FOLLOW is a series of 10 monthly online equipping webinars for GB leaders and officers which will run from September 2020 to June 2021. Each webinar will be led by expert facilitators inside and outside the GB family and are free for GB leaders. The 90 min webinar will be held by Zoom and accessible to GB leaders to join live online.

International President Mrs Priscilla Penny shares: ‘We’re delighted to be offering a series of high quality training and equipping sessions to our GB leaders around the world. In 2019, The International President’s Committee made leadership development and discipleship a pillar in its strategic plan 2019-2022 following feedback from ICGB 2018. We pray that these events empower our leaders in core skills and support them in their God-given calling to invest in girls and young women.’

The equipping webinars are not meant to replace any national training programmes but encourage a culture of continuous learning in GB. The webinars will acknowledge the difficult and challenging context that COVID-19 has created as well as explore the new mission opportunities available too.

Please note that spaces on each webinar is limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served space. Please only book if you’re able to attend.

If you’re a registered GB leader, you can book online for this webinar here.

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!

Please contact home@gbworldwide.org if you have any problems.

Look out for more details about future online equipping webinars for leaders.

FROM THE INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT’S DESK

Published on August 19, 2020


Calvary greetings to all my GB sisters around the world. These are strange times that we live in and not one of us saw this coming. But God knew this would happen.

By this time, I would have been writing this update after our annual IPC meeting for 2020. But as with everything else this year, we cancelled our planned face to face meeting which was to be hosted by GB Europe in May 2020.

So what has been happening in GB around the world in this pandemic?

All our member countries have been on lockdown since late March and GB face to face has been suspended. We praise God that our leaders around the world stepped up and created new ways of staying connected with the girls. This pandemic sent us all into creative mode! Some countries produced resources for online activities for the different age groups every week. Thank you to all our leaders who were generous enough to share the resources they produced with the GB worldwide families. Granted, not all of us are talented and have access to facilities to enable us to be creative, so we really appreciate the family spirit. As GBI we also produced a two part GB Connected Resource to help parents and leaders across the world to support children and young people. We hope you have been able to tap into some of these resources that are readily available on our GB worldwide Facebook page and website.

We are happy to learn that some countries have lifted some restrictions and other groups have started face to face meetings, with restriction guidelines to keep us safe.  I urge all those who are going into this phase, to please do so with extreme caution to keep us and our girls safe. It cannot be business as usual when we reopen, as this pandemic is not over yet. Let’s continue to follow guidelines given by our Governments and health authorities.

As IPC, we felt there was a need to go back to the drawing board in terms of our plans for 2020/21 and beyond. The resources that were launched at the beginning of the year, and all the activities planned for 2020 could not be implemented because most, if not all, were tailor made to face to face interaction.

What have the IPC been up to?

  • We have held weekly Zoom meetings since April.
  • Embarked on a workshop on ‘Planning in the midst of a crisis’ to help us focus on planning for GB Worldwide. We have had six equipping sessions during our scheduled Zoom meetings for June/July. This is helping us look at the areas (Riverbanks) that feed into our Purpose and Vision as GB, such as our Ethos, Values and behaviours. In our need to find new ways of doing GB what are the things that we should hold on to or that we do not want to lose.
  • Used our Facebook page to regularly share information.
  • Acknowledged our front-line workers who are risking their lives to serve in various aspects.  Thank you to those who sent in their pictures and stories. We appreciate and value their services, even those that are not GB members. Someone has to do it and they answered the call.  Let us continue to pray for them and their families.
  • We have received and shared words of encouragement from our Elders including immediate past President Vivienne Aitchison, past Treasurer Joyce Evans and International vice Patron Jill Clarke. Read them here

Thank you to all who have made a difference to someone by giving a helping hand during this period.

#ShowKindness

We have had reports from around the world of GB members donating groceries, toiletries, masks, running errands for the vulnerable etc. May God continue to bless you and protect you.

Looking into the future

  • THEME for 2021:
  • Fruitful and Overflowing: Be Faithful
  • Programme Focus :- Reap the harvest and share the fruit
  • ICGB 2022: because of the Pandemic there is a lot of uncertainty and plans are on hold as everything was affected by the lockdown around the world. IPC is Praying and monitoring the situation and will only be able to give out more details maybe by the end of the year or in the first quarter of 2021. Let us continue to pray for our friends in Jamaica and the Caribbean Americas Fellowship, who have the task to plan and host the event.

I leave you with words from Psalms 62:2 “Truly, He is my Rock and my Salvation, He is my Fortress, I will never be shaken.”

What comes to mind when we think of a fortress… something solid, sturdy, powerful, unshakable.

YES, God is all of those things and more! In the middle of the pandemic, He is there and let us continue to trust in Him.

Peace, Love and Joy and STAY SAFE.

Priscilla P.

International President.

LEAD//FOLLOW online equipping webinars for leaders

Published on August 14, 2020

GB International is pleased to launch LEAD//FOLLOW; a series of 10 monthly online equipping webinars for GB leaders and officers which will run from September 2020 to June 2021.

Each webinar will be led by expert facilitators inside and outside the GB family and are free for GB leaders. The 90 min webinar will be held by Zoom and accessible to GB leaders to join live online.

Details about the first webinar has just been released and booking is now open here.

Rhythms of Grace: Soul care & leadership

Are you tired? Worn out? Nearly burned out? Then let’s take time to explore the rhythms of unforced grace that Jesus spoke about and the important place of rest & recreation in our lives. This webinar will explore some practical tools to enable you to prioritise intimacy with God in your leadership and life.

Saturday 5 September

0600 – 0730 (GMT) – suitable for Asia and Pacific Fellowship leaders

1200 – 1330 (GMT) – suitable for Africa, Caribbean-Americas and Europe Fellowship leaders

The facilitator is Dr Claire Rush who has been a Vice-President of The Girls’ Brigade International (GBI) since 2014. Passionate about leadership development, Claire has led leadership equipping workshops & events in over 18 countries. Committed to mentoring female leaders, Claire co-curates Renovo, a new annual retreat style gathering, for female European mission leaders. Claire has also been part of the teaching faculty of the International Leadership Institute’s History Makers since 2012. She works for Girls’ Brigade Ministries and is a volunteer leader in a GB company in Northern Ireland where she lives by the sea. She has recently completed running 100km in a month for charity – she could barely run 30s secs a year ago!

International President Mrs Priscilla Penny shares: ‘We’re delighted to be offering a series of high quality training and equipping sessions to our GB leaders around the world. In 2019, The International President’s Committee made leadership development and discipleship a pillar in its strategic plan 2019-2022 following feedback from ICGB 2018. We pray that these events empower our leaders in core skills and support them in their God-given calling to invest in girls and young women.’

The equipping webinars are not meant to replace any national training programmes but encourage a culture of continuous learning in GB. The webinars will acknowledge the difficult and challenging context that COVID-19 has created as well as explore the new mission opportunities available too.

Please note that spaces on each webinar is limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served space. Please only book if you are able to attend.

If you’re a registered GB leader, you can book online for this webinar here.

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!

Please contact home@gbworldwide.org if you have any problems.

Look out for more details about future online equipping webinars for leaders.

Mrs Olive Miller OBE, JP: Celebrating the life of a good and faithful servant of God

Published on June 6, 2020

We are sad to announce that Mrs Olive Miller, a GB International Vice-Patron, has passed away at the age of 98 on 19 May 2020. We thank God for Olive’s life, her vision and leadership and how God has used her to transform many lives.

Miss Olive (as she was affectionately known by many) was a pioneer and throughout her life she continued to promote Girls’ Brigade and Christian values, making a significant contribution to both the life of Girls’ Brigade and the Cayman Islands.

She was loved by many in the Cayman Islands and beyond. As the Lord welcomed his good and faithful servant home, many GB leaders gathered to pray outside Olive’s house.

Founder of GB Cayman Islands

Originally from Essex, Olive travelled to the Caribbean as a missionary youth worker for the Church of Scotland in 1946 and quickly established the Girls’ Guildry in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Olive was integral to the foundation of GB in the Cayman Islands and the growth of its mission.

Mrs Iva Good was one of the first girls to join the George Town Company at the age of 11. Later through Olive’s support, Iva would follow in Olive’s footsteps and become an International Vice-President and eventually International President.

Olive was an incredible mentor who ensured that she used her leadership skills to invest in the next generation of leaders. Through her efforts, Olive has raised several generations of godly women who are still in the ministry and serving the Lord; an incredible legacy.

Global influencer

Olive’s influence extended to the international sphere. Originally a part of the Council for Jamaica, the Cayman Islands sent delegates to the first Brigade International Council in London in 1968 as part of the Jamaican delegation. 

In 1973 in New Zealand, the Cayman Islands were accepted as full members of the Brigade International Council (BIC) and were able to have their own delegation participate in the proceedings. Passionate about empowering younger leaders, Olive insisted that the delegation included younger leaders so they could be equipped to take national roles and gain knowledge about GB around the world.

Five years later, under the leadership of Olive, the Cayman Islands Girls’ Brigade hosted the International Council in Grand Cayman which 30 countries attended.

Olive served two terms as International Vice President of Girls’ Brigade, from 1968 – 1973 and then from 1978 – 1983. She was also appointed an International Vice Patron in 1983.

A life lived well for God

Throughout her life she remained committed to the work of GB continuing to participate in the life of GB in the Cayman Islands. Her strong faith and leadership positively impacted the lives of thousands of girls and young women and wider with the Cayman community.

Former International President Mrs Iva Good who was mentored by Olive shares: ‘Miss Olive was always there for me as my mentor and support. As I travelled across the world for Girls’ Brigade, the one question that I was always asked was: How is Miss Miller? She was much loved and respected.’

Olive continued to contribute and participate in GB Cayman Islands activities until her passing. As Patron, Olive never missed a GB function. The Cayman Islands GB National Council shared:

‘Olive attended and contributed to all of our Council meetings; she gave us direction and guidance and her voice of wisdom and knowledge will be sorely missed.  Her strength of character, her commitment to and faithfulness to God, her charm and wit were among the many wonderful characteristics that so made Miss Olive a gem.’

Current GB International President, Priscilla Penny from Zimbabwe, states:

‘Olive was one of the spiritual mothers of The Girls’ Brigade. As a pioneer, mentor and global influencer, God used her wisdom, leadership and faith to transform the lives of girls in the Cayman Islands and beyond. Today, GB leaders around the world walk in Olive footsteps and tread the paths that she pioneered as a Christian leader who lived her life well for God’s glory.’

Mrs Miller’s funeral and celebration of her life will take place on Saturday, 6 June at 3pm EST and will be broadcast online due to the current coronavirus restrictions in place in the Cayman Islands – https://www.youtube.com/user/CIGovtInfoServices

GB Connected resource (Part 2) launched

Published on May 28, 2020

GB International has launched its second GB Connected resource designed to help parents and leaders across the world support children and young people during this difficult time.

There are many great organisations and faith movements around the world who have produced free resources for leaders and parents. The aim of this resource to signpost you to some of them. We’ve grouped them under the following headings:

  • Growing faith – fantastic ideas for growing faith in the home
  • Understanding COVID-19 – providing some factual info
  • Practical support for parents and leaders – some fresh programme ideas and opportunities for support
  • Pastoral support for parents and leaders – looking after your soul
  • Pastoral support for children and young people – links to specialist organisations
  • Managing grief and loss – practical resources to help children and young people
  • Prayer resources – get involved in a global prayer movement
  • Fun, silly activities – keeping members smiling!

The International President’s Committee hopes that this resource will help leaders maintain positive relationships with GB members. Our challenge is to be physically distant (to stop the spread of the virus) but to remain socially connected to our members who need our help and support during this difficult time.

Don’t forget to download our free GB Connected resource – Part I. It is full of great tips for leaders to help support children and young people during this difficult time.

Thank you for all that you’re doing to seek, serve and follow Christ.

Soul care in the middle of a crisis

Published on May 4, 2020

Launching GB International’s new soul care series, Dr Claire Rush (IVP Europe) shares how she has been looking after her soul amidst COVID-19…

Anxious, scared, overwhelmed, exhausted and uncertain.

This is how I felt the week leading up to the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing that the United Kingdom would go into ‘lockdown’ and its citizens would only be able to leave their homes for four essential reasons.

Does it feel familiar?

For many of us across the world, life as we know it has ended abruptly. Loved ones have died; families are separated; freedom is curbed; plans have been shattered; church community has been scattered and our GB family is unable to meet.

We are experiencing grief… even those of us who have been blessed not to have been impacted by the death of a loved one.

Grief is the natural reaction to any kind of loss. And right in this moment, it seems that most of us have lost something.

Jobs. Security. Routine. Dreams. Life as we knew it.

In case you need to hear this: It’s OK to not be OK right now.

Let this sink in.

Feel like your dazed and confused? Me too. It’s normal to be operating at only 30% capacity. As trauma specialists have shared, we need to understand that parts of our brains have actually shut down in order for us to survive. We need to lower our self-imposed expectations and be kind to ourselves.

We’re in the middle of a global grief and trauma cycle; experiencing chaos and uncertain about how and when it will stop.

And I’m going to let you in on a well-known secret: the members of the International President’s Committee are not super-humans. We are just like you. We experience the same fears as you do. We’re struggling too.

So with the aim of being authentic and vulnerable (which is difficult for a recovering perfectionist) let me confess this: I know that there are emails that are unanswered in my inbox and projects left unfinished.

And that’s ok. I won’t apologise for it because I am choosing to practice self-compassion by prioritising looking after my mind, body and soul and looking after my family.

Looking after ourselves

Your mental, physical and spiritual health are important.

How are you caring for yourself right now? For certain personality types and as a result of some cultural traditions, self care during a global pandemic may feel very selfish. But in fact as Alli Workington writes in Breaking Busy, ‘Self-care is one of the most other-centred choices you can make in your life. That’s because you can’t live the life that God created you for, with space to be aware of his leading, if you don’t take care of yourself.’

But because our lives have changed irrevocably as a result of this virus, many of our self-care strategies have also been obliterated.

Before Covid-19 hit us, when I was feeling anxious or stressed, I went to the gym, I met friends and family and I escaped to the cinema. None of these options are available to me at this moment in time.

The week before the UK lockdown began, the fear of losing these coping mechanisms was debilitating and overwhelming. But what has been amazing and encouraging is that God has wired us to adapt to a new normal.

This week, Priscilla, Betty, Quindell, Poh Imm, Renelle, Aruk, Jessie and myself (all members of the GB International team) will share some of the ways that we’ve been taking care of ourselves and connecting with God during this unprecedented time.

The International President’s Committee from left to right: Mrs Poh Imm Tay from Singapore, Mrs Aruk Omori from Nigeria, Mrs Priscilla P. Penny from Zimbabwe – International President, Dr Claire Rush from Northern Ireland Ms Quindell Ferguson from Jamaica, Mrs Betty McComb from UK – International Treasurer and Mrs Renelle Neal from Australia.

Each day, one of us will be sharing one of our soul care strategies during lockdown on the GB Worldwide facebook page. We hope and pray that it will encourage you to look after your own mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

This will help us build good foundations so that when we’re shaken, we can still stand firm.

The Lord is my strength and my shield

And let me share a taster. For me, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to strengthen my relationship with God and find new and creative ways to connect with him.

Yes, I was upset that my fitness classes where I had a chance to meet people and move my body (great for burning the stress hormone cortisol) was cancelled. But I found new and better ones online.

For example the amazing Psalms and Stretches, a creative new way of connecting body, soul and spirit which uses a meditative form of gentle exercise using breathing, stretching and strengthening. This really is a space where wellbeing meets worship. And even more incredible, it is facilitated by Ruth who was a former member of Girls’ Brigade. Isn’t it incredible to see GB members using their God-given gifts in life-giving ways?

Every Thursday evening, I move my body and reflect on this amazing Biblical truth from Psalm 28.7:

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

This has been real soul care. A living and moving reminder that God is my unshakeable foundation in the middle of this crisis and an encouragement to live joyfully amidst the difficulties.

God IS my strength.

And nothing, not even COVID-19, can remove my HOPE in Him.

Check out the GB Worldwide facebook page daily this week to hear how other members of the GB International team are taking care of their mental, physical and spiritual health.

Rebuilding a Just World: GB International and other Faith Actors Call for COVID-19 Responses to Tackle Gender Inequalities

Published on April 23, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many faith actors are on the front-line. The Girls’ Brigade International are standing together with religious leaders and faith-based actors around the world to advocate to governments and civil society, for urgent responses that protect women’s rights and achieve gender equality.

The crisis does not operate in a vacuum and, as a result, the pandemic is increasing pre-existing gender inequalities. Around the world, gender roles have a marked impact on exposure, transmission, and outcome patterns of COVID-19. Women and girls are experiencing intersecting injustices in political, social and economic spheres.

Sexual and Gender Based Violence

In the statement published on 22 April, Faith in Beijing, who are a collective of religious actors and faith-based networks, call for COVID-19 responses to include strategies to address and prevent Sexual and Gender Based Violence. Under lockdown policies, many women are forced to stay at homes where they are not safe or secure. They are forced to live with abusive partners or parents, while services to survivors of gender-based violence are harder to access. In some communities around the world, violence against women during the pandemic has been perpetrated by the security agencies enforcing the lockdown, using undue force.

Faith on the Frontline

Faith communities have a strong base from which to promote social distancing (to reduce transmission of the virus causing COVID-19), while also practicing solidarity. Many religious actors hold significant power and trust, sometimes more than the government. Thus, religious institutions can play a vital role in distributing accurate key public health information to their communities. Religious leaders can play a positive role in promoting messages of gender justice, challenging stigma and harmful gender norms.

Equality and Justice for All

As business as usual is paused, we have an opportunity to reflect upon the brokenness in our world and our economic system. In these spaces, we can begin to imagine a world rooted in equality and justice for all. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how globally interconnected we are and how gender injustice reveals itself at an individual and a collective level. 

The Girls’ Brigade International, along with Faith in Beijing members, were due to participate in the UN Commission on the Status of Women 64. While the international gathering of UN Member States and civil society was postponed last month, our work for gender justice remains important, to ensure a just and sustainable future for all.

Read the statement on Gender, Faith and COVID-19 here

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