Aims of GFS
GFS Australia Inc is a Not for Profit organisation of people belonging to a Christ-centered community locally, nationally and globally through the Anglican Church.
The purpose of the Association is as follows:
To provide ministries to children, youth, families and adults in a safe and accepting environment where Christ’s love is evident and the Gospel is proclaimed.
(a) Children’s, youth and family ministry
- to encourage children, youth and families in local communities
- to purposefully support and encourage family life
- to equip children and youth with life skills to reach their God-given potential.
(b) Adult ministry
- to support and nurture adults in a faith community
- to encourage prayerful support to children’s and youth ministry
- to encourage adults to be positive role models to all members, particularly those in leadership.
To serve the community locally, nationally and globally through our motto “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
We are in 14 Diocese around Australia and you can look for your nearest GFS, KidsPlus+, Kidzlink or Townsend group by going to Our Locations page.
We have an Executive Committee that is elected at an AGM every year. Our new Executive group is listed below with a little bit about them.
First to the themes for this term:
I have four themes which we can develop during this year and next.
As I felt a certain fatigue among members during our recent AGM, I prayed and thought about you all, and came up with:
“We will proclaim the word of God with JOY and CONFIDENCE!”
We will continue to tell others about God and Jesus, as we always have done, and at the same time invite and encourage friends and family to join our wonderful society. We need more members and we all need to increase the profile of GFS in our churches, community and nationally. Our National Executive stands ready to support and assist Dioceses in these matters. When I read and heard your amazing reports from across Australia and overseas, I know we have all offered and are still offering sooo much, so the National Executive entreat you to tell others about YOUR ministry! INVITE parishioners and friends to be GFS members in your Diocese. It is modestly priced and easy to join. Then they can join a long list of amazing Christian people with the wonderful history of the GFS!
Our society can only move forward if we all encourage and invite membership!
I feel we all need filling up our glasses with some JOY! Acts 2: 25-28 speaks of the paths of life that we all can follow with joy and confidence because we are children of God. Hence, we can be filled with joy in the presence of God. I urge us all to pray and contemplate on this passage. Contemplate and re-read our GFS Annual Report for 20/21 and lets all give thanks to God for all our contributions. We remember that it is the Holy Spirit that helps people to become a Christian, our job is to pass on the Word! We are doing that!
In addition, as we give thanks for our many ministries, we can be CONFIDENT (1 John 2: 28- 3: 1) as children of God. We are unashamed in Him as we have been born of God. We all aim to do what is right, with God’s help, and it is our right and privilege as Christian’s to approach him as His children. This will also bring us joy!
We can approach God with confidence that He will answer our prayer and He loves us a child! Christian PRAYER is intentional, personal and meaningful and all these aspects are essential parts of Christianity. So, I wish for us to study and look at prayer. Please use prayers from later in this newsletter and from our AGM reports where people outlined prayer concerns.
My final theme for us to consider is: TRUTH AND STORIES. A picture they say says 1,000 words but what can a single word say or imply? That will be for us to follow-through later this year or maybe next year. Watch this space!
2023 GFS National Executive Committee
Chris Rooney - Executive Member
I have been a member of GFS for 44 years. I started my GFS journey in 1976 at St Peters, West End in Townsville and was lucky to have Jennifer Buckby, Jenny Nolan and others as my leaders, mentors and now friends. In 2000, I moved to Brisbane and joined Suzanne Claire as a fellow leader at GFS/KidsPlus+ at Kenmore Anglican Church. I also was also warmly welcomed by my fellow GFS friends and leaders onto GFS Brisbane’s executive.
I was fortunate enough to attend GFS World Council in Wellington, New Zealand in 1993 as Junior Delegate and have been able to attend all World Council’s since, with the exception of South Korea and most recently South Africa. I have previously been a member of GFS Australia’s Executive and was pleased to be able to assist Val on her GFS World Team from 2014 – 2017.
My greatest joy in GFS has been having the opportunity to learn from so many amazing Christian, GFS women in Australia and across the world. All inspiring!
Lay Canon Val Gribble - Executive Member
(Lay Canon) Val Gribble, Rockhampton diocese, by far the elder member of Executive, which has given me more time to experience many joys through membership of GFS. Membership of GFS, itself, is a joy; to belong to a worldwide organisation that is committed to bringing others to Christ and to serving others, whether at a branch, diocesan, national or international level. My greatest joy has been the privilege of travelling to so many different GFS countries and seeing the amazing and different work of GFS, seeing the very positive differences made to the lives of women, men and children through GFS; seeing a number of the world projects in action, meeting so many leaders who continue to sacrifice so much to be great models to GFS members; the joy of talking with many church and community leaders and perhaps being able to encourage their support of GFS (who would have thought I would be having breakfast at the same hotel as the Archbishop of Canterbury, when visiting India, and making sure I introduced myself!). And experiencing the joy of being part of the GFS membership in Papua New Guinea over 20 years, with its highs and lows and challenges. It has not been a joy only but a great privilege to serve at world level and to experience so many different facets of GFS life. May we always have joy in our membership.
Julie Somerville - Secretary
HI I am Julie and GFS has been a very big part of my life since I was a 7 year old going along to my first night of GFS. I instantly felt I had found a place in which I belonged, just as I was. And as the ad goes, I am “still feeling it”. GFS has been a place to find other like minded women who are passionate about sharing the love of God to others, and bringing them into the faith. As a leader and then as a member of executives, Tasmanian diocesan and nationally (and even on the world team) I just love being able to serve others as our motto reminds us. Sharing our talents with others, particularly as I went to Melanesia and World Councils, has been a privilege and a great joy as I met with some amazing GFS members who shared their joy in GFS with us.
Helen Petering - Executive Member
Hello there! I’m Helen. I’ve been a part of GFS since I started school at the age of four-and-a-half. In those days, you were supposed to start GFS when you turned seven, but I started early because my mum was a leader. I grew up at GFS and started leading our group when I was 16, and I’m still leading more than 30 years later! Throughout all these years, girls have come and gone from our local branch in Blackburn North, Victoria, but my passion for GFS has stayed strong as we have introduced so many girls from our local community and beyond to Jesus and His love for them and we continue to welcome them into a loving community that is focused on fun, friendship, belonging, learning and sharing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus. So as you can probably tell, GFS has been a very big part of my life.
Outside of our own GFS group, I have been on the National Executive for nine years prior to this term. I have also been a member of GFS Melbourne’s Executive for many years, stepping down from that Executive in 2014 to become the GFS/KidsPlus+ Liaison Officer. This role has been in a consultancy capacity to help local churches in the Diocese of Melbourne employ Children’s Ministry Workers through financial assistance provided by GFS Melbourne.
I attended two National Camps as a camper and one as a leader, plus numerous World Council gatherings. The World Council gatherings have brought great joy to me as I have had my eyes opened to the wider ministry of GFS around the world, made wonderful friends and I’ve helped in little ways to grow the ministry and membership of GFS both locally, nationally and globally. These gatherings have also given me just a little glimpse of what heaven might be like as we gather from many tribes, nations and languages and worship our great God together. What a great and certain hope we have to look forward to.
Reverend Sandra Skiellgren - National Chaplain
I have been blessed to share in the lives of many people in ministry since my ordination in 1993. My passion has always been to share the love and compassion of Jesus both in parishes and the wider community.
It has been a privilege to enjoy a significant baptismal ministry in my life as parish priest and consider it a joy to support young parents in their faith journeys. The future of the Church is tied significantly to relationships formed with young families and children as we live in a geographically scattered world. So many young people are without family support.
It is a joy also to be appointed National Chaplain for GFS Australia Inc. I believe the organisation of GFS is of critical importance to the Mission of the Church as it continues to promote and support ministry with Children and Young People – the next generation of Christian believers.
Bronwyn Barber - Treasurer
Hi Bronwyn from Brisbane here, I am a leader at St Mark's Clayfield in Brisbane. I love being able to show God's love in action to the little kids in KidsPlus+ and the girls at GFS.
I am so excited to be part of the larger family of GFS in Australia and the world.
Noeleen Stewart - Vice President
I’m Noeleen and I have been in GFS since I was 7, so just a few years now!! I have been on the Branch and Executive Committee in Perth on and off in various roles for the past 35+ years and on the National Executive since being Kate’s secretary in 2009. My joy in GFS is definitely knowing how there is a place for everyone and the joy we share in growing together and sharing the love of Christ with others and for me sharing that joy with children.
Hannah de Soysa - Junior Delegate
Hannah was recently chosen to be our next Junior Delegate to represent Australia at the World Council in South Africa in Au-gust 2023.
Hannah is from Melbourne, currently a leader at St Alfred’s Blackburn. She grew up in the Parish and attended GFS there before branching off to University and then attending their Christian Unity group where she was also a leader.
Hannah has many a talent—2 university degrees, works in 3 part time jobs, has musical talents utilized in the branch and also at their holiday program and is going to make a brilliant Junior Delegate.