---Welcome!

 

GFS is a Not for Profit Organisation made up of people belonging to a Christian community locally, nationally and globally.

 

We seek to provide or support ministries to children, youth, families and adults in a safe and accepting environment where Christ’s love is evident.
 
We have been part of the West Australian Community for over 130 years and have engaged with many children and adults during this time. Last year GFS celebrates a wonderful milestone of 130 years of ministry to women, girls, men and boys in Perth. Since 1888 friendship, support and a listening ear have been part of the GFS DNA as we’ve sought to live out the GFS motto to “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal 6:2
 
On the 1st January 1875, Mary Elizabeth Townsend established the Girls’ Friendly Society in England (now you know why our premises at 240 Adelaide Terrace are called Townsend Lodge. Come and pay us a visit, we have some really interesting memorabilia in the office along with a welcoming smile and cuppa). GFS was a pioneer women’s organisation, the first of its kind in the world. The members saw a need to befriend, mentor and support many of the younger women who were leaving their rural homes and communities to find work in the cities.
 
Here in Perth GFS welcomed migrant girls to the city by providing them with accommodation as they settled in and found employment. In time we branched out to provide Townsend Fellowship, children’s groups, Holiday Clubs, Camps, Mainly Music groups, Mother & Daughter High Teas; and more recently Dads N Lads BBQs, Pamper A Nanna, the Advent Festival, our group for 15-35 year olds GFS Next Gen and our newest initiative “Blessed to be a Blessing Dinner”.
 

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Our organisation partners with other community organisations to help others outside of our own community.     MORE
 
 
 
 
 

 

We have many programs, resources and games that we can help you to get your own children’s ministry group established.     MORE   
 
 

 

Dating back to the beginnings of GFS, women’s ministry has been a vital part of our ministry to this day.  We have a lot to offer why not see what could suit you.     MORE   
 

 

Youth

 

If you wish to become a part of our NextGen GFS group this this is the place for you.  Come along and be part of the team, become a member or just attend one of the events they run.    MORE   
 
 
 
 
 
GFS Outside Perth
GFS is not just in Perth! We are part of a National and Global organisation and always are happy to welcome new members.     MORE   
 
 
 
 
Who Let The Dads Out?
GFS is proud to be working with Who Let the Dads Out? in the UK to offer help and resources to get your WLTDO? group here in WA off and running.     MORE   
 
 
 

---Upcoming Events

 
 

GFS PERTH AGM 

POSTPONED
 

CA

 

 
 

HOLIDAY CLUB

 

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

GFS Perth Calendar

Check out what is happening in GFS Perth by looking at our calendar below
 
 
 
 

 

 

--- From The Blog

 

GFS World Part 1

Although Perth is often referred to as the most isolated city in the world, it has not meant isolation from the world family of GFS for the Society in Perth.

In March 1955 16 year old Hazel Wade of North Perth branch joined twelve GFS members from other States who were travelling to England on the Strathaird to represent Australia at the 80th Anniversary of GFS, to be celebrated in London in June. The party was under the leadership of Miss Beatrice Gerdes from Sydney, who was the Commonwealth Chairman of GFS. The travellers also attended the GFS World Assembly at Shanklin, Isle of Wight, where the first World Council of GFS was formed. The second World Council meeting was held in Switzerland in 1956 and in 1957 Mrs Kathleen Bright-Parker, who was GFS Australian Chairman, was appointed the third World Chairman at the meeting held in New York, USA. The first World Mission Project, which was to assist the Mombasa Diocese, was launched and St Michael and All Angels Day was chosen as the World Day of Prayer.

World Council meetings are now held every three years and GFS leaders from Perth have attended the following:

1962 – Dublin
Misses Margaret Bunday and Merle Cream.

1972 – Melbourne
Mesdames Joy Holland, Joan Beynon, Merle Davis, Joan Matthews and Miss Jan McNamara.

1975 – World Centenary Celebrations and World Council in London.
Mesdames Merle Davis, Stella Usher and Miss Jan McNamara.

1978 – Los Angeles
Miss  Linda Griffiths.

1984 – Japan
Misses Valerie and Rosemary Wall.

1987 – Wales
Miss Jan McNamara.

Visitors to Perth from other countries have also provided special links with our world family. In 1966 we had the privilege of sharing five days with Sister Peninah Mnjama when she arrived in Perth on her way home to Kenya. The young Church Army Sister who was also a GFS leader, had spent 12 months studying at Deaconess House and the Church Army Training College and undertaking deputation work for the Church Missionary Society. During her time in Perth she met hundreds of GFS members at branch rallies.

In 1969 two Korean GFS members, Elizabeth EUN-SIK YI (22) and Agnes JUNG AE YUN (21) from the Diocese of Seoul in South Korea spent 2½ months in Perth as part of an eight month training course in Australia on GFS leadership. GFS had commenced in Korea four years before. All expenses, including fares, were met by GFS in Australia. While in Perth their training was supervised by Deaconess Joyce Polson, GFS Leader Training Officer, who helped them develop valuable new skills and took them to branches as part of their training. They also attended camps and special outings with GFS members. The Perth leaders and members gained a great deal from their visit and Deaconess Polson played a very big part in its success.

Elizabeth and Agnes lived with Bishop and Mrs Brian Macdonald during their stay in Perth and a very strong bond developed between them. The girls regarded the Bishop and Mrs Macdonald as ‘father and mother’.

Before the Korean girls left for Adelaide they presented the Diocesan Chairman (Mrs Merle Davis) with a Korean hymn book and prayer book and a small Korean nag, as well as a Korean GFS badge.
 

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Headquarters Part 7

The vision and courage of those involved with the administration of GFS is shown by the way they took on the repayment of five thousand pounds on the GFS Headquarters because they believed the building was an essential part of the caring mission and outreach of GFS. It was to be just on 30 years before the building was finally free of debt in 1956 and this was only possible through the rent from the two shops on the ground floor, continuous fund raising by GFS members and regular financial support from the GFS Lodge Committee.

The fundraising took many forms. There were musical productions at His Majesty’s Theatre and the Perth Town Hall, with hundreds of people in the cast, GFS balls, river trips, fetes and many other functions held for the same purpose. In addition the GFS Associates’ Committee held monthly bridge parties at Headquarters towards the debt reduction.

The Depression years were very difficult ones, as shop rents had to be reduced, and for many years it was only possible to pay the interest on the loan. As time went on, there were heavy expenses for maintenance to the building, including repairs to the roof, replacement of wiring and pipes and painting. This was in addition to ‘day to day’ running costs.

In spite of the careful managing of funds that was needed, these years were also ones of great outreach for the Society, with large numbers of branches and over 1600 members in Perth Diocese alone. A great deal of social work was done in the community at that time and the proceeds from some of the musical productions were given to charity rather than being kept by the Society for debt reduction.

Although the clubs that operated from GFS Headquarters played an important part in the lives of countless people, there were many other ways in which the building was used. There were socials, wedding receptions, exhibitions, leader training, rallies for country members , Synod teas, orphans’ parties, craft classes, mission film nights and countless other activities. It was the centre for co-ordinating the work of the caravan for 17 years and also for welfare work by GFS during the Depression years. There was a committee formed at Headquarters to help those in need of clothes and many hundreds of garments were prepared and given to Deaconess Genders to distribute in her district or to the Diocesan Secretary to help those who came to the building for help. These included many unemployed girls who had heard of the GFS centre and appealed for assistance. Several hundred of these were found jobs during this time.

Others helped were invalid members of the Society, who did beautiful church needlework or made knitted, crocheted or hand-stitched garments which were displayed in a glass case at Headquarters and orders taken without any charge made for the service.

There were many others who used the Headquarters building apart from GFS. For many years during the 1940s the Mothers’ Union had a room there until they moved to Church Office in 1949. In 1968, when plans for rebuilding left them homeless, GFS welcomed them back to their Headquarters for several years and there was a very happy relationship always between the two organisations. CEBS and CEGS also had offices in the building for a number of years. GFS was keen to help in this way by providing economical accommodation for fellow church organisations. The building sometimes saw ‘welcomes’ to new Archbishops and other church dignitaries. (There were 85 GFS leaders present at a welcome to Archbishop Geoffrey Sambell.) There was usually a farewell function at Headquarters when the wife of the Governor, who was always the Patron of GFS, left the State.

The building was a nurturing place for some new organisations needing a large, central meeting room. Amongst these were the Rhythmic Girls League, Alcoholics Anonymous, an orchestra and sports clubs.

One of the rooms overlooking Hay Street was made into a beautiful little chapel and was used for that purpose for many years.

@lostperth @cityofperth
 
Gallery

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GFS Australia Part 2

So it was that a party of GFS Associates and members from England arrived at Adelaide in 1879 to be met by Lady Jervois, wife of the Governor of South Australia. Their voyage, by sailing ship, lasted eight months.
It is notable that the society’s beginnings in this country took place, as in England, in venerable surroundings. The first GFS. meeting here was held in Government House, Adelaide, convened by Miss Lucy Jervois, the Governor’s daughter, on September 14, 1879.
 
The Vice-Regal family provided the main office-bearers. Lady Jervois was elected first president and her daughters Lucy and Carrie became secretary and treasurer. The Society flourished.
The Society’s early beginnings in Australia were largely uncoordinated and very much a local affair. Not really surprising, having regard to the entirely different environment from the British model, especially lack of a central body to align the GFS. in its infancy.
 
East State G.F.S. worked under a separate treaty with the parent body in England. The Society operated through 15 dioceses, each loosely linked with the State headquarters but working under their own constitutions.
Indeed, Mrs Dorothy Wright, widow of the Archbishop of Sydney attested to the difficulties, in her introduction to the Australian section of the Diamond Jubilee Chronicle for Overseas:

“The advance has been difficult amongst so many and varied conditions and there are even at times difficulties practically unknown in the Mother Country.

“Especially is this the case in the country or bush dioceses where leaders are few, distances are great and the means of transit not easy.

“The places of meeting, even, are not always forthcoming but yet the country branches bravely struggle on and do a splendid work.”

In 1880 one year after the South Australian Society’s inception, the New South Wales GFS began, followed by Victoria (1881), Queensland (1882), Western Australia (1884) and Tasmania (1901).

@GFSAustralia


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Mission Work Part 2

  Misses Margaret and Jennifer Lees, twin sisters who served as Missionary teachers in Melanesia, were GFS members at St Mary’s South Perth for many years before they moved to the parish of Applecross. They were also given practical and prayer support by GFS to help them during the years they served as Missionaries in Melanesia.
Because of Government assistance with schooling and medical requirements, the time came when the articles which had been sent were no longer required. GFS then concentrated on fund raising for Missions and a gift from the “Marginal Giving” list at the Mission office was often chosen for the members to work towards.

Branches were also encouraged to work towards their parish Mission Target. Amongst fund raising efforts by GFS members were:

• $100 towards the cost of a jeep for the Anglican Mission at Agene­hambo in Papua New Guinea.
• $100 raised to help with repairs to the mission boat used by Maxine Fuller at Kumbun, Papua New Guinea.
• $500 towards the cost of printing hymn books in Koran language for the people of Burma.
• $500 for a film projector for the Holy Name School for Girls, Papua New Guinea.
• $250 to help purchase a new boat for the Diocese of the New Guinea Islands.
• $700 to build a semi-permanent house for a priest in UIAKU, Papua New Guinea. Most of the cost of this was raised through making and selling lamingtons.
• $700 to help provide education bursaries for students at Selwyn College in the Solomon Islands and to assist Oombulgurri Mission in the North-West of Western Australia.

The aim in GFS Mission programmes was always to make the girls aware of the wide Mission work of the church, and speakers, films and other means were used. Links have been made between some Missions and GFS branches and some GFSers have penfriends as a result of this. A GFS Mission badge was always a popular one and so the interest was nurtured within the branch.

Today, the ties still continue with PNG and the Solomon Islands, with yearly visits to PNG by GFS Australia members. GFS World supported the Solomon Islands with a world project about 5 years ago which was completed in 2018 with a visit by GFS Australia members to help with the project.

@GFSAustralia
 
       

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Want To Become a Member?

 
There are lots of ways to be involved with GFS in Perth.  Head to the link below
to see how you can get involved today!
 
 
 
 

Verse of the Day

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” — Ephesians 1:7 Listen to chapter Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica. Powered by BibleGateway.com.