13 September 2016
Member of the month: Girls' Brigade
Did you know that the Alliance has over 600 member organisations, 4,000 member churches and thousands of individual members? Why not join us? Find out more here.
When did Girls' Brigade start?
Imagine 18th century Ireland and two pioneering women sitting on a bench chatting and wondering how they could answer the needs of girls in their community.
Ok, the two women may not have actually existed, but in this era - a time when women didn't have the vote and when girls were given no formal education - the radical ministry that has become Girls' Brigade was born.
The Girls' Brigade (Ireland) was set up in Dublin in 1893 and in July 1965 merged with The Girls' Guildry, founded in Scotland in 1900, and The Girls' Life Brigade, founded in England in 1902, to form The Girls' Brigade (GB).
At that point our work in lots of countries around the world became known by the geographic area of focus e.g. The Girls' Brigade England & Wales.
The GB England & Wales team is passionate about raising the volume of hope primarily among girls and young women and specialises in working with churches to provide local community groups for four to 30s. GB Northern Ireland and GB Scotland are doing kindred style work in these parts of the UK.
In 2009 GB England & Wales pioneered and became part of GB Ministries, a UK-based mission network, committed to raising hope in this generation of girls and women especially, through provision of relevant, responsive and relational initiatives that transform lives and enrich communities.
What do you do?
GB Ministries (GBM) is home to four key initiatives that specialise in enabling this generation of primarily girls and women to openly explore and engage with real life and Christian faith in a fun, informative and hopeful way. They are:
GB community groups are sustainable local groups for 4-8s, 7-11s, 10-14s, 13-18s primarily, but not exclusively, for girls. GB provides local consultations for churches, adult leader training and ongoing support, fun programme materials and achievement awards that enable a Christian community to engage with young people in a wide variety of settings and in a fun, action-packed way. GB members also may engage in young leader training, Duke of Edinburgh's Award and GB's International Queen's Award.
koko is an online place for teenage girls, and a great resource for youth leaders. Films, blogs, insights and support about living life to the full – enabling girls to 'keep on keeping on' in a hope-filled way.
The Esther Collective is a growing online and face to face community of 18–30s women who, through intentional friendships, exploration and encounter, are supporting one another to develop integrity, influence and faith in their homes, everyday lives, study and workplaces.
GB is embarking on an intentional research project looking at the impact of faith on the lives of teenage girls, and barriers they experience to engaging with faith. Building a picture of this from girls themselves will, we believe give the Church a lead in shaping relevant outreach and discipleship in ways that match girls stated needs.
This project has emerged from the 'UK Girl Gathering', hosted by Girls' Brigade Ministries in October 2015. The day event prompted a conversation amongst a group of around 40 CEOs, ministers, youth activists and advisers in the UK about raising hope for girls.
Where do you work?
Our passion is to work among girls and women of any or no faith!
There are around 1,600 age-specific GB groups in action as part of church ministry in towns, cities and villages all around England and Wales.
The projects of GB Ministries however are more widespread, involving girls and women from around the UK and beyond – especially as web-ministry emerges.
Also, GB here is part of a global movement. Our sister teams work in their own contextual way, alongside churches, community leaders and governments in more than 51 countries at present, to deliver holistic mission that transforms girls' lives and enriches their particular part of God's world.
How can Christians in the UK get involved?
There are many ways Christians in the UK can get involved with our work, such as:
- Pray for us and our initiatives.
- Get your church to consider setting up a GB group. We'd love to meet with you to explore what could work best in your local context.
- Encourage youth leaders and teenage girls to use our koko resources.
- Link 18-30s young women you know into The Esther Collective.
- Join the UK Girl conversation – see the website for more details.
- Support us financially – you can make a one-off or regular gift via www.give.net/gbm
Why are you a member of the Evangelical Alliance?
We work within a broad church network, which means that not all the churches we serve are part of the evangelical church. Many, however, are and by being an organisational member we link in to all kinds of people, initiatives and information that are both relevant and inspiring for our gospel ministry.
Being part of the Alliance also gives us a place where we can contribute our experience and insights into girls' issues. We really value the relationships that the network of the Evangelical Alliance fosters. Thanks!
As a member of the Evangelical Alliance, Girls' Brigade is one of 600 organisations supported by the Alliance. We facilitate members' initiatives and campaigns and offer support to increase their impact and provide training for organisations on how to engage with the local government and media.
If you would like to become a member of the Evangelical Alliance as an organisation, church or individual, you can find out more here.