Welcome

 

GFS is an inclusive not-for-profit organisation made up of people belonging to a Christian community locally, nationally and globally.

 

WHO ARE WE: GFS Perth is an inclusive not-for-profit enabling friendship and belonging that inspires people to thrive. It is the local expression of a pioneer organisation established in 1875 in the UK and in 1888 in Western Australia.

WHAT DO WE DO: We create welcoming spaces and places where friendships flourish and people can belong and grow.

WHY DO WE DO IT: We believe that friendship is a God given gift that enables people to thrive.
 

WE ARE ACCESSIBLE: To all whatever their story. We celebrate diversity and are committed to helping our friends achieve their potential.

WE ARE PRAYERFUL: Our faith is central to all we do so praying for our friends and ministry is a key aspect of our journey.

WE ARE CREATIVE: We are innovative and imaginative, where no solution exists, we work and think creatively to find one.

WE ARE LEADERS: Pioneering new ideas, resources and programmes makes us more effective in speaking with a voice that brings people together in friendship.

WE ARE CHANGE-MAKERS: Our commitment is to friendship that impacts people’s lives and brings positive change.

WE ARE COLLABORATORS: We foster co-operation between individuals and organisations, bringing credibility and enthusiasm to every partnership we undertake.

 
 

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GFS Perth Calendar

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

 

 News – new and older

 

Marjorie Burton Part 5

Marjorie Burton Part 5

At an informal meeting with the country clergy at Mr Henn’s residence after the morning service, at which the Misses Holmes, George and Milne Robertson were present, it was suggested that a memorial to Miss Burton be put in hand at once, with a committee being formed from delegates from the Caravan Committee and some of the clergy.
 
Three ideas were put forward :
  1.    A new caravan to be named ‘The Marjorie Burton Caravan’.
  2.    Some permanent memorial to be placed in the cathedral.
  3.    A sum of money as an endowment – the interest to be spent on books or teaching equipment for a needy
       country Sunday School.
With Archdeacon Storrs as Chairman and a strong committee supporting him, the Appeal was soon successfully launched. All the aims were eventually fulfilled. The mission van, which had travelled well over 30,000 miles through the outback of Western Australia for 17 years, was offered to the Archbishop, but as he had no-one in view to continue the caravan work he suggested that the Society sell it. This was done and the money added to the donations received from the Memorial Appeal. It was planned that a Diocesan caravan would be built when the Archbishop felt the time was right and it would be called ‘The Marjorie Burton Memorial Mission Van’. It was to be 10 years before it would be ‘on the road’.  However, the other aims of the Appeal were realised. A painting of ‘The Three Wise Men’ was originally hung as a reredos behind the altar in St Saviour’s Chapel in St George’s Cathedral, but this was later moved and was hanging on the first column to the left of the west door. 
 
The small plaque beneath it is in scribed:

‘The Adoration of Christ by the Wise Men; by Arthur Murch of Sydney, is in memory of Miss Burton, who travelling in the Girls’ Friendly Society Caravan gave devoted service to the Church in this Diocese from 1934 until her death Easter Day 25th April, 1943.

This was dedicated by the Archbishop on Sunday 25 March 1949. The altar rail at the Church of the Epiphany at Mundaring is also in memory of Miss Burton.

The balance of the money was invested by GFS until the Archbishop was ready to have the Diocesan caravan built. In 1953 he advised the Society that he was accepting an offer of a lady in England to be a missioner in WA and asked for the money that was being held towards the building of a new van. On 14 September 1953 Archbishop Moline received Mrs R. H. Moore, who was GFS President when Miss Burton died; Miss A. E. Holmes, Caravan Chairman, Miss E. George, Caravan Treasurer, and Miss Milne Robertson, the last Secretary. The sum of £739.14.9 was presented to the Archbishop. The final report from the Caravan Committee was given to the GFS Council on 4 November 1953. 
 
The Committee then disbanded and the Society’s President and members expressed much appreciation of the many years of work done by this committee. It was 27 years between the first and last meetings – years of achievement under tremendous difficulties at times, but always with a great joy in the service they were giving.

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Leader Training Part 1

Leader Training became an important part of GFS during the two years from 1949-50 that Miss Leila Granrott was Organiser and remained so until the late 90’s.

From 1951-1969 Leader Training courses were held annually at the GFS Headquarters in Hay Street. They were usually for six weeks and concluded with a weekend at Le Fanu House, Cottesloe. Programmes were co­ ordinated by Mrs Trixie Reynolds during the years she was Secretary of the Society.

Christian Education sessions were taken by members of the clergy and other areas of training were covered by panels of outstanding speakers. As new branches opened and membership increased dramatically, more Leaders had to be trained and 30-40 Leaders attended the courses and weekends.

During this time there were also Leaders’ Teas held quarterly before Council meetings. The Ethel Burt Club and Executive Committee members helped Mrs Lund, the House Mother, with the catering and this extra time together gave leaders a chance to share any problems and discuss programmes, as well as developing the fellowship between them.

Apart from the GFS training, some of the Leaders also took the National Fitness Leader Training Course and gained additional qualifications.

In 1962 Miss Joan Ash, GFS Commonwealth Leader Training Officer visited Perth and took a course of specialised training with a group of leaders. These leaders then helped with the training of other leaders the following year.


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Past Chairpersons Part 1

GFS has been blessed with outstanding Presidents (called Chairmen from 1959). Each had special gifts which were used to enrich the life of the Society. Mrs Elizabeth Riley and Mrs Ethel Burt have already been described in the chapter ‘They Built Strong Foundations’.
 
They were followed by:
  • Mrs Margaret Moore (1940-1948)
    Mrs Moore, the daughter of our first President, occupied many of the positions filled by her Mother, including that of President of G FS and the Mothers’ Union. She was a warm hearted, caring and tireless worker for others and involved GFS in many types of outreach within the Church and community.
  • Mrs Gertrude Thompson (1948-1950)
    Mrs Thompson had been involved with the Society for many years as an Associate before she became President and had a deep understanding of the needs of the position. She held office during the years when the ‘New Look’ GFS came into being and the Society began its great surge forward. She was a dignified but very approachable President and took a very active part in all that was going on.
  • Mrs Mary Knight (1951-1957)
    Mrs Knight was the widow of a former Bishop of Bunbury and was President during a time of great progress for the Society. Through her great gifts she led members and leaders in growth in their spiritual lives and in loving service and dedication through G FS. She played an important part in Leader Training sessions and was always ready to encourage and uplift leaders.
Apologies but we are unable to source photographs of these ladies.

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GFS Australia Part 3

GFS LITERATURE

The publishing of literature geared to local conditions became an important task. GFS Australia published its first Book of Prayer in 1950 and a Leaders’ Handbook in 1953. These were followed by Juniors’ , Members’ and Associates’ cards and Guide Books, plus other literature as required. The position of Literature Secretary on Australian Executive is an important one and former Perth Diocesan Chairman, Mrs Merle Davis, (later Sr Michaela, Community of St Clare) made an outstanding contribution to the Society during the time that she carried out this work from 1972-1975.

Later there was Christian Education material produced at a very high standard. The ‘How We Grow’ literature, prepared by Miss June Johncock and Miss Helen Randle of Adelaide GFS, was not only good teaching material, but is also very attractive and appealing to the girls who used it. Other literature for the 12+ age group was also been prepared used across Australia.
 
 

‘COOEE-LINK’

This Australia wide magazine for Juniors and members is also well produced and is distributed throughout Australia.
 

AUSTRALIAN (COMMONWEALTH) LEADER TRAINING

Guidelines were laid down for Leader Training throughout Australia and training manuals produced. There was an Australian Leader Training Officer and Australian Council meetings for a long time, included a training day for Leader s at the beginning of Council.  Special training courses on tape for Leaders in isolated areas of the country were prepared and supervised by the Australian Leader Training Officer. These were used by Leaders in our Bluff Point branch in the North-West Diocese.  There is still a number of high quality training materials available that is still available for GFS leaders.  In the past decade or so there has been a decline in groups and the need for training has been left to each Diocese due to the need to meet the requirements of each individual Diocese in regard to many aspects of training.


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Caravan Part 9

FINANCING THE RUNNING OF THE VAN

Apart from fundraising functions by members of the Caravan Committee, the G FS branches also supported it with money they had collected in many ways. Some were unusual… in the 1927 Annual Report, under the Busselton Candidates’ section, mention is made that “Mrs Kerr took the elder girls out into the country to gather violets, which they sold to help the Caravan Fund.”

The members made baby clothes and knitted bootees and other items as gifts to be taken to the settlers, as well as collecting books, magazines and clothing. The children gave many of their own toys and the van workers often wrote, in a very personal way, how there was always the right gift available when needed. “A toy shop found its way into the hands of a wee girl suffering from spinal trouble  –  a lovely dolly to a dear little motherless girl – and yet another doll to a child just home from hospital from an operation.” When visiting one family they found the baby had cold feet… “so Miss Benthall gave it the blue bootees”.

In recognition of the outstanding work being done throughout the State by the caravan workers, the Archbishop-in-Council gave an annual grant from 1932.  There was continuing financial and other support from GFS members, their friends, and admirers of the work of the caravaners.  The Mothers’ Union also gave donations from time to time in appreciation of the support being given to their members in isolated places. The cost of petrol and repairs to the van as it travelled through such rough conditions was extremely high. On the very first trip the caravan made, one of the clergy suggested that a box be placed in the van for donations towards the petrol, and although people were never asked for contributions, the coins dropped in the box proved a great help in keeping the petrol tank full.  It was also on the first trip that Armadale GFS branch and the Ladies’ Guild in the parish gave a box of small gifts that could be sold and others did the same. This was always called the ‘Petrol Box’.

The offerings in the Sunday School Festivals at St George’s Cathedral were often given towards the upkeep of the van and when convenient it was parked outside the Cathedral so that the children could go through it.
 

 


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Marjorie Burton Part 4

On 16 March 1943 a service was held in St George’s Cathedral before Marjorie Burton left on what was to be her last tour with the GFS caravan. She was accompanied on the first two weeks of the trip by Miss C. Hawtrey, who gave valuable assistance with the teaching during that period.  When it was time for her to return to Perth Miss Burton continued with the tour on her own, travelling in the large parish of Bencubbin, which was without a Rector. She endeavoured to provide as many services as she could in the outlying centres and took five services on Good Friday at different towns, the last being at Nukami, where she collapsed with a heart attack at a private home and was taken to Merredin hospital where she died early on Easter Day (25 April) 1943. The Reverend G. Johnson, the Rector of Merredin, who knew Miss Burton well, ministered to her the night before she died.

Her sudden death was a terrible shock to her many friends throughout the State , as it was not known  until  later  that she had  been  warned  by  a doctor the week  before  that she should  not continue  the tour because  of the condition of her heart.

The Reverend W E. Henn, the Reverend A.W Curtis and the Reverend G. Johnson assisted in very many ways with all the arrangements for the funeral. The Reverend G. Stanley and the Reverend L. Bothamley brought the van to Perth. On 27 April a Requiem was held in St Andrew’s, East Claremont, which was her parish church and where she had many friends, including the Rector (the Reverend W E. Henn) and his wife. Archbishop Le Fanu spoke at the service of the loss Miss Burton’s death meant to the church and the people in the country districts. He expressed the feelings of all when he said:

“We mourn the loss of one who gave nine years’ voluntary service with the van and who endeared herself to so many.  She gave of her best to the Master whom she served so faithfully, and we believe she died as she would have wished – on active service for Him.”

There was a large attendance of clergy and friends at this service and also at the graveside in the afternoon at Karrakatta Cemetery.  About fifteen of the country clergy were present.

Her grave was later to be marked by a special type of cross, which her sisters in England arranged to be made here to their design, and a crucifix sent out from England was affixed to the cross which bears the words:

Miss Marjorie Alice Burton
Died – Easter Day. April 25th 1943
Jesu Mercy
 
   

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