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.
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.
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
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.
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
and Overflowing: Be Faithful
Focus :- Reap the harvest and share the fruit
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.”
comes to mind when we think of a fortress… something solid, sturdy, powerful,
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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
Founder of GB Cayman
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.
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
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.’
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.’
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Due to the current global pandemic, the majority of GB groups across the world can no longer meet face to face. The GB Connected resource has been created to help you stay connected with your GB members during this difficult time.
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. The International President’s Committee hopes that this resource will help leaders maintain positive relationships with GB members.
It has been amazing to see the creativity and innovation amongst our leaders and members as we move GB online and into the home. We’ve gathered some fantastic ideas here; some may not be applicable to your GB context but we hope that you will discover some helpful ideas.
Please remember to ensure that you comply with any government regulations on social distance.
Due to the current global pandemic, the majority of GB groups across the world can no longer meet face to face. The GB Connected resource has been created to help you stay connected with your GB members during this difficult time.
Look out for more future resources to help support you.
The story and reassurance of Our Salvation – at a time of global turmoil
“For Unto to us a King is born” – Yes, He was born, but first Jesus had to Die.
The Girls’ Brigade around the globe, is
joining the rest of the world in celebrating Holy Week and Easter in 2020 with
the backdrop of COVID 19, which has disrupted the normal flow of almost
everything in our lives, wherever we are. The whole world is in a state of
turmoil, seeking for ways to and trying to contain this pandemic. Many of you reading
this are facing new ways of living each day. Against the awful reality of the
pain and suffering this is causing, stands one constant that never changes…THAT
OUR GOD IS STILL
OUR LOVING GOD.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:3, “Christ died for
our sins according to the scriptures”, but this is only true because Christ
rose from the dead. The salvation story would not have been complete without
the resurrection and His resurrection made His death effective. It is the great
miracle of Easter that gives Christmas its true meaning. Good Friday would not
have been ‘good’ without the resurrection.
Jesus himself said these words after the
am with you always” Mathew 28:20. In Hebrews 13:5 He promises, “I will never
leave you”. Because He rose from the dead, He lives today and will be with us
forever, we are never alone, and we are never forsaken. HALLELUJAH HE IS RISEN!
I know that most of us are facing
restrictions on our movements/gatherings. Most of us cannot meet as we normally
do in our GB groups. This can be frustrating, and I am sure you miss each
other. But as your President and sister in Christ, I encourage all of us to be
responsible members of our Communities and follow the guidelines, and comply
with the guidelines your Governments and local authorities have put in place,
to keep us safe. This is for our own good and the benefit of our loved ones.
Thank God for technology – now is the time we must make use of it to keep
engaged with our family and friends. Let us share what is keeping us “sane” while
remaining at home.
Our International President’s
Committee (IPC) has had to cancel its IPC meeting in May 2020. For safety, we also cancelled
our trip for the UN Delegation of Hope to New York, which should have taken
place in March. Despite this we can
assure you that we are busy working through scheduled Zoom meetings, emails etc
so that we don’t lose focus. The
IPC is looking to help all of us cope during this difficult time, with most of
our members, many meeting virtually
and keeping engaged. Maybe this is also
a time to take time to listen to God without the day to day “Busyness”.
#SHOWKINDNESS is our Theme for 2020 so I
encourage us to be helpful in our communities, following local guidelines that
also keep us safe. What are you doing as an act of kindness? There are those on
the frontlines, working day and night at hospitals and health centres. Do you
have elderly neighbours? Maybe you could
provide a meal or pick up essentials for them if you can. You could phone members of your church and
just check on each other.
Above all let us continue to PRAY, PRAY,
PRAY without ceasing.
As we celebrate Easter, and find comfort
from the knowledge of our Salvation, let me leave these words from Psalm 91
with you…”God is our refuge & protector”.
Today it was announced that ICGB 2022 will be held in Jamaica. Please read on to find all the initial information.
ICGB 2022 Initial Information
DATES: 2nd to 9th AUGUST, 2022. GB Jamaica has recommended arrivals on a Tuesday and departures on Tuesday, as all weekend flights in and out of Jamaica are very expensive.
HOST: KINGSTON, JAMAICA
The proposed host city of Kingston is Jamaica’s capital and administrative and financial centre. Greater Kingston with the nearby regions of Portmore and Spanish Town is home to over 1.2 million Jamaicans and is currently undergoing major infrastructural improvements (road widening and overpass construction) which will make moving the about 500,000 vehicles much easier. The City is a major cultural hub, with theatres, restaurants, clubs, churches, and tertiary institutions of world class renown. Its National Stadium has been the host venue for the Commonwealth Games and the IAAF World Junior Championships in athletics, as well as the Netball World Championship.
Kingston sits at the base of the majestic Blue Mountains, Jamaica’s highest mountain range and has the 7th largest natural harbour in the world. Across the harbour is the world-famous Port Royal, home to pirates and buccaneers for over two centuries. Nothing to fear, Port Royal was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692 and is now a quiet fishing village which serves the best fish fare in the country.
The City is home to several historic churches and the Ward Theatre, where many of London’s West End plays of the early 20th century had their debut performances. There is the touch of fine global cuisine and a stylish nightlife scene with many live performances in different genres from religious to classical, popular to folk and a range of theatre plays and revues.
VENUE: To be confirmed
Norman Manley, Kingston: www.nmia.aero
Donald Sangster, Montego Bay: www.mbjairport.com
Ian Fleming, Boscobel St Mary: www.ifia.aero
ACCOMMODATION: Shared Rooms
COST: US$800.00 per person (Plus any bank charges to ensure full amount is transferred )
AGE: all delegates must be over 18 years
ATTENDEES: there will be two categories of attendees:
Delegates: these are to be selected by the National Boards following whatever local protocols they may choose. Each country may have up to 10 official delegates 50% of whom should be under 35 years.
GB Friends and Supporters: these are independent GB members, friends or supporters who wish to immerse themselves in all that ICGB has to offer. They will be responsible for their own funding, will be able to attend all sessions but will not have voting rights. Places for GB friends will be available on a first come first served basis. Those wishing to attend should liaise with their National Office.
REGISTRATION FORMS – will be available from your National Office or from www.gbworldwide.org at a date to be advised.
This year, Girls’ Brigade International has put together some ideas on how we, as GB, can support World Environment Day. These activities can be run within your GB Companies to help look after our environment and to help raise money for Girls’ Brigade International. We have also created a prayer resource that links with the challenges.
Using the resources below, choose one of the challenges (or something else that would suit your Country) and make a start.
We will be running a competition for the Best Conservation Story or Presentation that the girls have participated in. Further details will be available soon. When the fundraiser is completed please send the funds you raised to your National Office, who will forward the funds onto the Fellowship and on to GB International. Money raised from this activity will be for the GiveAGirlAHope Fund.