GFS is a place of friendship and belonging where God's love is shared

About Us

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.

Theme from 2024 term:

Faith in Action

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourself.  Do what it says.           James 1:22

GFS is more than a monthly get together, it is being out in the world, it is doing God’s work. And every time we knit a beanie, cook a meal to share with others, listen to a friend’s heartfelt worries, pray for a stranger, pick up litter – we are being GFS, we are doing as we have been commanded to do. We live out our motto with every action we take (or we ignore our call with every action we don’t take.)

I want to see us being more visible in what we do, in acknowledging that we are more than a cup of tea at a monthly get together. “Oh, is GFS still going?” Some might ask. Yes, it is, and we have an important job to be doing. We are called to live out our motto. To be people who are moved by our faith, by our knowledge of God, of knowing how much we are loved to then share this by our actions with others. I recently read the annual report which highlights just how much we are out and about, carrying the desire to help others into our everyday lives. From the annual reports I see that -  GFS is about hospitality, it is about listening, it is about sharing your crafty talents with the items you make as you give them to others, it is about being a friend, helping out when help is needed, being willing to step in to do tasks no one else might want to do, creating resources, being a friend. It is more than just a nice cup of tea and a very tasty cake to go with it. Although this is still important. (and if you have some good recipes perhaps, we could share them as we think about how we help the new World Project – a bakery of skills development in DRC).

I am going to give us all some monthly challenges. Challenges that might be part of your daily life already, but perhaps you just might think of them in a new way. Our World President has set before us some goals. These translate into far reaching areas of our lives – good health and education, climate change, faith development, halting gender violence, and greening the planet. Each month you can choose to work on a challenge for a day, a week or even the whole month. Take your GFS into everyday life. Live out your motto, be faith in action.

Here's your first challenge – wear your badge to church on the first Sunday of each month (or choose your own day), pray for the work of GFS and even light a candle for those you remember who set you on your GFS path, tell others what your badge is all about if they ask.

In GFS love and service,

Julie Somerville

2024 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

GFS has been a major part of my life since I joined in Brisbane diocese in the late 1950’s so a long association.  There were gaps when my husband worked in areas where GFS didn’t fit (eg St George’s Homes for boys!) but each time I came back to GFS it was with joy and anticipation.  It was always a blessing to work with girls and boys, particularly in rural areas where GFS became a part of small communities and very much an evangelistic  tool.  Taking GFS to Papua New Guinea in the late 1980’s was a life changing experience and despite the many challenges I continue to be uplifted by the leaders there who have so little and give so much.   Being a part of the decision makers of GFS Australia and then the world opened so much in my life.  I have been blessed with the friendships made, the countries I have visited, not as a tourist, but being allowed to be part of the GFS country families.  Such a privilege.   I am conscious that I have been able to experience GFS at work in so many different areas around the world.   Despite the challenges that we face now in Australia, I believe that the purpose and motto of GFS will lead us to find a path, maybe of change.  Through faith in our God we will be led to action that may sometimes be difficult but will deepen our faith and lead to renewal.

Tania Brown - Secretary

I Joined GFS Emu Plains at 7 years old and would look forward to going every week because you were made to feel welcome and included, you would have fun playing games, you would learn new skills and crafts, learn how to serve, and care for others. And I loved story time and wanted to know more about Jesus and becoming a Christian.  And as I got older, I loved training to be a leader and becoming a leader and watching girls have the same delight as I did, wanting to know more about Christ and welcoming him into their hearts.

I love that GFS friendships last a lifetime, that GFS Friendships span all ages across the years and across the miles and all over the World. I love that we do not outgrow GFS and it is a lasting community of friends. I love that GFS provides a safe and caring environment where we can come together as women of God and provide support, prayer, and friendship to one another.

I love that GFS continues to inspire people especially girls and women in a faith-based organisation that believes that bearing One another’s Burdens and serving others with love, compassion and faith is what the world needs today.

What changes GFS has brought to my life

I was very shy and insecure as a child and didn’t have a lot of self-confidence in myself. But through GFS I learnt that God loves you, as you are, and I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me.

GFS brought mentors into my life who believed in me and helped me to identify my strengths, to build self-esteem and develop leadership skills.  I would never have had the courage to take on leadership roles at Emu Plains, Sydney, Australia, and world if it hadn’t been for GFS.

It also helped me in my church life, with teaching scripture and in working with people with disabilities in my professional life.

It has also provided me with prayer and support from close to home to all over the world when I have gone though tough times and reminded me, I’m not alone.

And has helped me to try and life up to our GFS Motto. “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the Law of Christ”.


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 Kjellgren - Vice President

As a semi-retired priest with over 30 years of experience in ministry, I am delighted to serve as Vice President of GFS Australia Inc. in 2024. I Iook forward to promoting and supporting the organisation’s goals related to the empowerment of girls and young women. The 2024 GFS Australia Inc. Leadership Team is well-placed to ensure the goals of GFS are upheld. The spirit of Mary Elizabeth Townsend, who established the Girls’ Friendly Society in England and Wales on 1 January 1875, lives on, as we strive in GFS Australia to encourage confidence building of young women through support, mentoring, social justice and other educational opportunities to assist them to reach their full potential.

Bronwyn Barber - Treasurer

I’m Bronwyn and I have been involved with GFS since I was about 7 when I joined St Mary’s at Geebung.

I have been involved with many branches over the years at Zillmere, Chermside, Strathpine and now at Clayfield. I love how GFS can influence so many lives. GFS has changed my life in so many ways, I have been mentored by wonderful wise women who were my GFS leaders, and now I have so many friends who continue to support and mentor me still. I suppose the biggest change GFS has bought to my life was meeting my husband at a CEBS and GFS Leader training camp, as they say the rest is history.


Gail Orchard - Executive Member

I have been a member of GFS since I was 7 years old and first joined at South Tamworth in NSW. My father worked on the railway and as we moved around the State, I have been lucky enough to have found GFS in most locations that we lived in.

I have been a Branch Leader, member of Diocesan, State and National Executives, as well as, attending World Councils in  NZ, Wales, Ireland, Australia and South Africa, and sharing with leaders and young women throughout the many countries of the world where GFS has branches.

I have found a group of women who share a common passion to share the Gospel to young girls and women. I have been blessed with many years of friendship and made many lifelong friendships. I have been privileged to travel to PNG and Melanesia to share fellowship and training with the girls and leaders.

I have found that my membership of GFS has been instrumental in the way that I live my life and the way that I try to model and teach my great grandchildren how to live.

Rev'd Canon Cheryl Selvage - Chaplain

Hi I am the Reverand Canon Cheryl Selvage and I was delighted to be invited by our current National President to be GFS National Chaplain.

I began my GFS journey in my early adult years when I became a Townsend member, after the locum priest of our parish wanted to start a GFS group. We had not had the joy of a GFS group at my local family church. It didn’t take long for me to put my faith into action, and I was appointed over time to most Diocesan, Provincial and then National positions. So, I am sure most of you will have met me at some point.

I live on semi-rural acreage with our little menagerie and my husband of over 40 yrs, Ross. Our only precious Daughter Jemma, now lives and works in London. Currently I am the Hospital Chaplaincy Manager for Anglicare and am based at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane as Head of Department, Pastoral Care. In my spare time I volunteer as a teacher of speech reading and sign for Better Hearing Australia, love gardening, cooking, reading and travel.

This is my second time in this office, and I hope to bring encouragement and a message of hope to you all, as you put your faith into action also through GFS.