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.