GFS through the years
World Council in South Africa postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mrs. Alison Jackson visited GFS South Africa and attends and speaks at the South African GBFS conference in Mthatha.
Mrs Thembeka Pama visit
All Ireland Camp – 6 – 8 April 2018 – Wilson’s Hospital School, Multyfarnham, County Westmeath.
5 – 14 May 2018 – Mrs Thembeka Pama, World President began visiting cluster countries in Ireland before going to England and Wales on 14th May 2018
Mrs Alison Jackson commissioned All Ireland President in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh by Rev Tanya Woods.
22nd June – Mrs Alison Jackson, Tamara McKenzie, Amy Waters, Jennifer Wright and Victoria Hawkins attended a Garden Party at Áras an Uachtaráin celebrating the ‘Young People of Ireland and paying tribute to their Leaders’; hosted by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Mrs Sabina Higgins
22nd to 23rd June – All Ireland Conference for Diocesan Presidents, Secretaries, Treasurers and All Ireland Vice Presidents in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Braemor Park, Dublin
For the past: Thank God
For the future: Take courage
For the present: Seek Christ’s help
To be a good friend
To stand for purity and truth
To live not for yourself, but for others,
Therein lies the joy of life.
F. Ross Todd, GFS President
For the Diamond Jubilee – 1937
140th Birthday Celebrations
21 May – 140th Birthday Celebrations: Christ Church Bray. Rev’d Tanya Woods, officiated and Rev’d Janice Aiton, former GFS Chaplain preached. The theme for this wonderful occasion was “Yesterday, Today and Forever”.
Sylvia Quinn, Senior Delegate and Tamara McKenzie, Junior Delegate commissioned by Rev Tanya Woods in Christ Church Bray.
World Council in Swan Valley Adventure Centre, Perth, Australia from 11th July –20th July. Mrs Sylvia Quinn Senior Delegate and Ms Tamara McKenzie, Junior Delegate attended. Mrs Thembeka Pama (South Africa) was commissioned World President.
9th September – Mrs Sylvia Quinn attended ‘The Big Sing’ (by invitation) in The National Concert Hall, Dublin; celebrating one hundred and thirty years of Mothers Union in Ireland (1877 – 2017)
Leader Training Days:
– Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone – 16th September
– Newbridge, Co. Kildare – 30 th September
– Carrick-on Shannon, Co.Leitrim – 7 th October
All Ireland Camp
All Ireland Camp – 31 March – 2 April 2016 – Kilkenny College, Co Kilkenny
24 April – Mrs Sylvia Quinn attended(by invitation) the Church of Ireland’s National Service ‘marking the centenary of the Easter Rising’ in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
9 – 11th September, Nineteen Leaders completed the All-Ireland/Green Lanyard course. Final stage training with commissioning in Christ Church, Leeson Park on 19 November, Dublin by Rev’d Tanya Woods, GFS Chaplain
New Past President
New Past Presidents’ Brooches designed and presented.
Mini-conference for incoming Diocesan Officers; venue GFS Oak House, Upper Leeson Street, Dublin.
Leader Training Days:
– Abbeyleix, Co. Laois – 12th September
– Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone – 19th September
– Longford, Co.Longford – 3rd September
Handbook redesigned, updated and launched at Central Council
World Council in Swansea University
All Ireland Camp – 25th – 27th April – Wilson’s Hospital School, Multyfarnham, County Westmeath.
Rev Tanya Woods commissioned as All Ireland Chaplain by Dean Dermot Dunne in Christ Church, Leeson Park, Dublin.
Sylvia Quinn, Senior Delegate and Michele Armitage, Junior Delegate commissioned by Rev Tanya.
World Council in Swansea University, Wales from 25th July – 4th August. Mrs Sylvia Quinn Senior Delegate and Ms Michelle Armitage , Cloughjordan Branch, Limerick & Killaloe Dioceses, Junior Delegate attended. Canon Val Gribble (Australia) was commissioned World President.
GFS Broadcast Service from RTE TV and Radio
GFS Broadcast Service from RTE TV and Radio – 11th August. Rev Janice Aiton presided.
All Ireland Training Day – 7th September Abbeyleix.
All Ireland Training Day – 12th September Enniskillen
All Ireland Camp
All Ireland Camp—11th -14th April St Columba‘s College, Dublin.
3 July – Elaine Grothier, Karen Morton, Hannah Goulden, Alison Bailey and Jane Smyton attended an Áras Garden Party celebrating the ‘Young People of Ireland and paying tribute to their Leaders’; hosted by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Mrs Sabina Higgins.
Mrs Sylvia Quinn commissioned All Ireland President in the CICE Chapel, Rathmines, Dublin.
All Ireland Conference for Diocesan Presidents, Secretaries & Treasurers 22nd-24th June; Venue The Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Braemor Park, Dublin.
World Council in Dublin
World Council in Dublin Ireland 24th June—3rd July. World Chairperson Mrs Emila Corrigan; our representatives were, Mrs Florence Higgins, Senior Delegate and Miss Jane Cairns, Magheralin Branch Connor, Down & Dromore Dioceses, Junior Delegate. Mrs Glenys Payne (Wales) appointed World Chairperson.
Leaders Training Days:
3rd September Venue—The Cathedral Hall, Kilmore, Co Cavan
24th September The Parochial Hall, Portlaoise, Co Laois
GFS World Day of Prayer Service
All Ireland Camp– 7th – 10th April Kilkenny College, Co Kilkenny.
GFS World Day of Prayer Service, compiled and produced by Rev Janice Aiton, GFS All Ireland Chaplain.
All Ireland Leaders’ Training Conference 25-27th June Venue – The Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.
All Ireland Leaders’ Final Stage Training – 16th October Venue – Parochial Hall, Kells, Co Meath.
All Ireland Conference for Diocesan Presidents
All Ireland Conference for Diocesan Presidents, Secretaries & Treasurers– Venue the D4 Hotel Ballsbridge, Dublin.
World Council in Seoul
All Ireland Camp,- 27th-30th March – St Columba’s College, Dublin.
World Council in Seoul, South Korea. Mrs Emila Corrigan Commissioned as GFS World Chairperson. Our representatives were Mrs Florence Higgins, Senior Delegate and Ms Isla Poyntz, KilmoreBranch, Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh Diocese Junior Delegate.
Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, London, to mark the 50th Anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh Awards; Mrs Florence Higgins, Central President and Mrs Pearl Smyton Diocesan President of Clogher Diocese attended.
Leaders Training Days – Venues:
Church Street, Longford – 8th of September
Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone – 15th September
Portlaoise, Co Laois – 20th October
Mrs Florence Higgins commissioned as All Ireland President in St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Mrs Florence Higgins commissioned as All Ireland President in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, County Armagh by the Bishop of Meath & Kildare, The Most Reverend Richard Clarke.
All Ireland Camp—20th-23rd April Venue– Kilkenny College, Co Kilkenny.
All Ireland Conference for Diocesan Presidents, Secretaries & Treasurers. Venue NUI Maynooth, Co Kildare 16th-18th June.
World Council in Pennsylvania
Rev. Janice Aiton commissioned as All Ireland Chaplain.
World Council in Pennsylvania, USA. Our representatives were Mrs Emila Corrigan, Senior Delegate and Junior Delegate, Elaine Grothier, Tullow Branch, Cashel & Ossory Dioceses. Ruth Choi, Korea appointed World Chairperson.
All Ireland Training Day in Castleknock Parish Centre
All Ireland Training Day in Castleknock Parish Centre, 20th March.
All Ireland Camp – Wesley College, Dublin – 15th -18th May.
All Ireland Conference for Diocesan Presidents
All Ireland Conference for Diocesan Presidents, Secretaries & Treasurers in the Theological College – 20th-22nd June.
All Ireland Training in Emmaus Centre, Swords, 17th -19th October.
125th Birthday Celebrations
125th Birthday Celebrations. All Ireland Camp in Kilkenny College from 4th to 7th April.
9th May 12 GFS members (drawn from across dioceses) visit, by invitation, the President of Ireland, Mrs Mary McAleese at Aras An Uachtarain.
A Service of Celebration was held in St. Patricks Cathedral; 23rd June – Live televised service from RTE.
World Council in Cairns and Townsville, Australia. Our representatives were Mrs Emila Corrigan, Senior Delegate and Suzanne Henry, Junior Delegate, Christ Church branch, Lisburn, Connor Diocese. Mrs Adele Ray, USA appointed World Chairperson.
All Ireland Conference for Diocesan Presidents
All Ireland Conference for Diocesan Presidents, Secretaries & Treasurers in the Theological College – 23rd-25th Feb.
Millennium Services held throughout the country
Millennium Services held throughout the country. An All-Ireland Service of Thanksgiving held in St. Patricks Cathedral, Dublin on 7th May.
World Council in Port Elizabeth and Umtata
World Council in Port Elizabeth and Umtata, South Africa. Our representatives were Mrs. Maeve Hannon, Senior Delegate and Anne Healy, Junior Delegate, Cloughjordan Branch, Killaloe Diocese. Mrs. June Hillier from Australia appointed World Chairperson.
World Day of Prayer
World Day of Prayer service sheet produced by Ireland.
World Council in Swanick and London
World Council in Swanick and London, England. Our representatives were Mrs. Maeve Hannon, Senior Delegate and Tanya Woods, Junior Delegate, Billis Branch, Kilmore Diocese. Mrs. Nobantu Makunga of South Africa appointed World Chairperson.
World Council in Wellington
World Council in Wellington, New Zealand. Our representatives were Mrs. Olein Gyles, Senior Delegate and Alison Burnside, Junior Delegate, Donaghmore Branch, Armagh Diocese. Mrs. Joy Epton from England appointed World Chairperson.
Live Broadcast of Holy Communion from RTE
Live Broadcast of Holy Communion from RTE on Sunday 26th April. Dean Salmon presided.
All Ireland Camp held in Rathdown School
All Ireland Camp held in Rathdown School, Dublin.
“The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
This window formerly in the Girls Friendly Society Chapel in Oak House was transferred by the Society to Christ Church Leeson Park in 1989.
World Council in Sierra Leone
World Council in Sierra Leone. Our representatives were Mrs. Olein Gyles, Senior Delegate and Hazel Codd, Junior Delegate, Tullow Branch, Cashel & Ossory Dioceses. Mrs. Joy Parkin of New Zealand appointed World Chairperson
All Ireland Camp in Villiers School
All Ireland Camp in Villiers School, Limerick. Members from England and Wales attended. England also hosted a camp which Irish members attended.
All Ireland Training Week-ends in Carrig Eden
All Ireland Training Week-ends in Carrig Eden, Greystones, County Wicklow and The Theological College, Dublin. Ireland published the World Day of Prayer Service.
World Council in Swansea and Bangor
World Council in Swansea and Bangor, Wales. Our representatives were Mrs. Mary Hinchliff, Senior Delegate and Lorna Beattie, Junior Delegate, Magheralin Branch, Connor Diocese. Mrs. Subuola Thompson of Sierra Leone appointed World Chairperson.
Camp for 14 – 18 year olds in Llanfairfechan, Wales; Mrs Olein Gyles in charge of the Irish group.
All Ireland Conference held in the Theological College
All Ireland Conference held in the Theological College, Dublin. Mrs. Dilys Fowler, World President attended.
GFS supported the Owerri Weaving Project in Nigeria
GFS supported the Owerri Weaving Project in Nigeria.
World Council held in Japan
World Council held in Japan. Our representatives were Mrs. Mary Hinchliff, Senior Delegate (Geashill & Killeigh Branch) and Patricia Matthews, Junior Delegate ( Meath & Kildare Diocese). Mrs. Dilys Fowler of Wales appointed World Chairperson.
Leaders Conference held in Greystones
Leaders Conference held in Greystones, Co. Wicklow.
World Council in Coleraine, Northern Ireland
World Council in Coleraine, Northern Ireland. Theme: ‘Go Forard with Love’; Peggy Johnston, Sr. Delegate and Gillian Thompson Jr. Delegate. Mrs Iwai of Japan appointed World Chairperson.
Irish GFS Members at Holiday Camp in Wales.
Leaders' Conference in Greystones
Leaders’ Conference in Greystones, Co Wicklow.
Party of girls from Armagh visit Dublin and Glendalough over Easter weekend.
The Eva Hales project in Sierra Leone
The Eva Hales project in Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia. Note: Eva Hales was from Belfast.
New GFS chapel in Christ Church, Leeson Park, Dublin 4 dedicated by The Most Reverend H.R. McAdoo, DD (The Lord Archbishop in Dublin).
Centenary of GFS in USA
Centenary of GFS in USA; an inscribed scroll from GFS Ireland to GFS USA.
World Council held in Los Angeles – Mrs Beth Mayes (nee Irwin) appointed World Chairperson. Helen Trimble, Donaghmore Branch, Armagh Diocese Junior Delegate
Centenary of GFS in Ireland
Centenary of GFS in Ireland, There is a broadcast service from Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, the Primate Archbishop Pike preached. Mrs Beth Mayes on “Outlook”, a RTE programme. Mrs Bain, the GFS World President is invited to the Centenary dinner. GFS Oak House at 36 Upper Leeson Street, Dublin was opened by Archbishop McAdoo. There was an invitation to share in the Centenary of GFS in Scotland, Mrs Jean Lindsay, Kilmore Cathedral GFS Branch attended on behalf of Ireland.
World Council in London
World Council in London, England. Irish delegates: Hilary Johnston, Harmony Branch, Connor Diocese and Jean Lindsay, Kilmore Cathedral Branch. Mrs F. Bain (USA) was appointed World Chairperson.
New “All Ireland” banner made by Leaders and Helpers from Kilmore Cathedral branch; dedication in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.
Opening of the new Oak House in Orwell Road
May – World Chairperson and English GFS President Mrs C J Mandleberg addresses Central Council – first time for an English President to do so.
Opening of the new Oak House in Orwell Road, Rathgar – Mrs Mandleberg present.
July – A party of Irish GFS, three from each Diocese went to Blacon, Cheshire, for holiday as guests of English GFS.
World Council in Melbourne, Australia
World Council in Melbourne, Australia. Our representatives were -Naomi McKinley, St Barnabas’ Branch. Connor Diocese, and Kathleen Linnegan, Diocesan Secretary, Derry Diocese. World Project – Lesotho.
Oak House (34 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin) sold with the house’s furniture going to Wilson’s Hospital School, the Simon Community and to the Salvation Army.
Purchase of Rathgar House (Bethany Home) in Orwell Road, Rathgar.
A gift of £10.00 sent to Winchester House (Isle of Man) Holiday Home; some members having stayed at the house in the past.
90th birthday services
90th birthday services held in Christ Church cathedral, Dublin and St. Patrick’s cathedral, Armagh.
All Ireland training weekend held in Coolnagreina, Greystones – County Wicklow.
World Council in Kyoto, Japan
World Council held in Kyoto, Japan. Miss Beth Irwin from St Barnabas’ GFS Branch, Connor Diocese was the Irish Representative. Mrs Tsuji from Japan was the World Chairperson. The World Project was ‘Japan’.
All Ireland Conference in Tramore
All Ireland Conference in Tramore, County Waterford; a decision was made to have training week-ends to enable leaders to become AllIreland Leaders.
GFS handbook updated.
World Council in Ireland (Dublin)
World Council in Ireland (Dublin) Theme ‘Peace through Friendship’.
World project British Guiana, Mrs Mercy Simms was World Chairperson.
85th celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland
An invitation to the GFS President and Secretary to attend the 85th celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland.
World Council in Australia
World Council in Australia. Decision to send GFS Worker to Kenya. This was the World Project until next World Council. Ireland represented in Australia by Ivy Kerr, Kilkenny, Ossory Diocese.
Lambeth Conference and also GFS World Wide Conference (three Irish delegates attended).
Mrs Summer Walters, President of GFS USA, and her husband Bishop S Walters visit Ireland.
GFS 80th birthday
GFS 80th birthday celebrations held in Belfast; 7th – 10th June – afternoon pageant titled ‘Friendships Highway’ in Wellington Hall.
A festival service in St. Annes Cathedral.
Mrs Ellswork G Ferriera, official representative from GFS USA, was welcomed for the 80th celebrations.
The following two messages were illuminated and given to Mrs Barry and Mrs Ferriera to take to the World Assembly and to America:
To the World Assembly – A greeting from the Girls’ Friendly Society in Ireland to the gathering of the World Assembly – Greetings – We feel proud and honoured to be members of this great World Assembly, and although unable to be with you in person we are with you in Spirit – Mizpah.
To GFS USA – Greetings and best wishes to the Girls’ Friendly Society in the United States of America from the Girls’ Friendly Society in Ireland. May our next twenty years be twenty years of progress and friendship in the fellowship of our society.
Second World Council
Second World Council was held in Les Diablerets, Switzerland. Five delegates attended from Ireland.
International Conference on Isle of Wight
International Conference held on Isle of Wight. This was where the World Council of GFS was formed and coincided with the 80th anniversary of GFS being founded.
World Day of Prayer was set as the 29th September – the Feast of St Michael and all Angels. Offerings collected at this service are used for the World Project Fund.
Rostrevor Holiday House closed.
Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation
Our much loved patron, Queen Mary, dies 24 March; sympathy message sent to the Princess Royal.
Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation; GFS sends Northern Ireland delegates: Miss Telford (Connor) Associate with girls Ann Moore and Georgina Proctor.
Golden-Silver Jubilee Celebrations
Golden-Silver Jubilee Celebrations – a garden party in the zoo, a concert in CMS Hall ending with a thanksgiving service in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.
A rally held in the Grove School in Belfast; a gold and silver cake was cut by the lady mayoress.
Mrs Exshaw agrees to act as Vigilance Officer
Mrs Exshaw agrees to act as Vigilance Officer and as Head of Sick and Convalescent.
Forty-two girls in residence in Oak House
Forty-two girls in residence in Oak House; 325 visitors took advantage of vacant beds in the holiday periods.
GFS 70th Birthday
GFS 70th Birthday Celebrations in Dublin.
Sat 12th July-Rally in the Metropolitan Hall, Dublin.
Sun 13th July-Thanksgiving Service in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.
G.F.S. 1877 – 1947
Miss Florence Ross Todd resumes the office of President
Miss Florence Ross Todd resumes the office of President after a long illness; Council wished Miss Todd to receive the highest honour possible and so is made “President Emeritus”
Committee sanctioned an optional uniform, similar to that worn by GFS in England, consisting of a blue dress, a blue forage cap or alternatively the forage cap, an armlet with monogram and a blue tie.
The Queen Mother became a Patron
Queen Elizabeth (“the Queen Mother”) became Patron of GFS.
“The Oak Tree” painting commissioned
‘The Oak Tree’ painting was commissioned by GFS by the artist Miss Helen Colville (GFS). The caption below the picture reads:
“The Oak Tree is an emblem of strength, security, and shelter. We pray that this Oak House may inspire all those who come in and go out of it, with the spirit of Friendship, Love, and Service.”
–note picture of the painting to be inserted.
Oak House purchased
Oak House purchased at 34 St Stephen;s Green, Dublin for £4,000.
GFS pledge card against ‘betting’ issued to members
GFS pledge card against ‘betting’ issued to members; card reads “I promise with God’s help not to bet, or help others to do so, while I retain this card”.
Jubilee year, many celebrations to raise money to buy new GFS House. Money presented at a Pageant using ‘Oak leaf’ symbols.
Jubilee Banner of St Brigid presented to Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.
First Cetnral Arts and Crafts Exhibition held.
Victory Fete held in Mansion House
Victory Fete was held at the Mansion House, Dublin. £1,000 was raised to help repair the Queen Victoria Home of Rest in Rostrevor, Co Down.
Various War work undertaken
First Camp held in Ireland for members. Various war work was undertaken, with Savings Group, Club for War Nurses (QMAAC). Vigilance work was started, and hospital beds etc were donated.
Larger hostel opened
Larger hostel opened in Upper Merrion Street, Dublin.
Queen Mary became our Patron.
Queen Mary became our Patron.
Front and back view of the card given to Maud Allen
An example of the card that was given to members to encourage and support them in their faith. The actual example shown was given to Maud Allen (Parish of Donoughmore, Co. Wicklow in 1906 when she was 14 years old)
First hostel –GFS Lodge –opened in College Street, Belfast.
Certificate of marriage
A certificate presented to a GFS member on her marriage in 1902.
Queen Victoria visits Ireland
Queen Victoria visited Dublin and the new GFS Hostel in Rostrevor, County Down named after her as a memorial of her visit.
Honary Life Members elected
The Countess Dowager of Meath (the Foundress of GFS in Ireland) elected as an Honary Life Member of the Central Council and Mrs Elizabeth Townsend (the Foundress of the parent society) elected as an Honary Life Member of the Irish Central Council.
GFS lodges opened in Armagh, Belfast, Derry and Cork where members could avail of a safe and inexpensive accommodation working in these cities.
Emigration Department opened
Emigration Department opened to help girls going to Canada & USA.
Queen Victoria became Patron
Queen Victoria became the Patron of GFS and sent a gift of £50.
GFS Ireland was the first country to have a ‘Candidates’ membership section.
First GFS centre opened
First GFS hostel and recreational centre opened – Molesworth Street, Dublin and later Frederick Street.
First office opened
First office opened with Miss La Touche as Registrar or Secretary – girls helped to find suitable jobs here.
First meeting in Ireland
GFS in Ireland was established and began on 22nd February 1877 when Viscountess Powerscourt, Viscountess Monck, Mrs La Touche, Rev’d J.A. Cross (Secretary) and Rev’d J.G. Scott, Rector met in the Royal Marine Hotel, Bray.
At the first meeting in Bray, 17 Working Associates were appointed with five more Associates added at a later date. GFS became a respected organisation supported by the Church of Ireland with families appreciating the fact that GFS was a guiding factor in the lives of females of all ages. Of particular interest was that Mrs CF Alexander, the hymn writer, was one of this first group of Working Associates. The first Central President was the Countess of Meath from Killruddery Estate, Bray.
The creation of GFS
GFS has a history starting in the 19th century by an Irish woman, Mrs Mary Elizabeth Townsend in England in 1875.
Mrs Townsend once wrote “If the power of rescue work will be so increased by organisation, why should no work be organised to save from falling?” In modern terminology, from its inception GFS was concerned with prevention.
Cut off from the support of friends and family, Mrs Townsend’s idea was for ‘Lady Associates’ to befriend and guide these girls, who would form the Society’s members. Today, we would probably call these Associates ‘mentors’. Girls could join GFS from the age of 12, but from 1882 those from the age of eight could become ‘membership candidates’.
This was the first girls and women’s organisations within the Church of England. It was a society for friendship and recreation where all girls might share, bound together in a fellowship of Christian love and service.
GFS was spreading quickly around the world and began its’ work in Ireland in 1877.