Getting Started with GFS
GFS : An Important Ministry for your Church and for your Girls
The GFS ministry offers many benefits to girls and their church. GFS gives girls a special place of importance within their community. This is a benefit to the church that wants to encourage family membership.
Talk to fellow church members, vestry members, and your priest and share your vision for a GFS ministry. Ask a few women to join with you to form a GFS branch. Contact the board of GFS/LA for support. Remember, many hands make light work.
You may want to review the Leadership Manual and for helpful information on organizing a GFS branch.
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What does it take to be a GFS Leader?
GFS leaders come in all shapes and sizes! The primary leader must be a communicant of the Episcopal Church. A leader is responsible for the welfare of each girl under her care. GFS/USA requires that all leaders participate in a workshop for Safe Church training and keep a current certificate on file at the parish. Click Here to download more information about Leaders.
GFS leaders are women who recognize that the young people of our church need love, time, and attention. When you become a GFS leader, you will reap as much as you sow. Your commitment will make a big difference in girls’ lives by showing them how important their complete formation is to you. GFS provides support and guidance to leaders.
The badge program helps GFS leaders teach members about themselves, God, the Bible, and Episcopal traditions. Leaders are also encouraged to be pro-active by adding activities which they feel will benefit the girls and develop life skills in a a happy, healthy atmosphere.
To get involved, start by reading through the information on these pages, plan on meeting other GFS leaders at a GFS event or board meeting and contact us for more information!
Who can be a Leader?
The primary GFS leader ( Branch Advisor) must be a communicant of the Episcopal Church. A leader is responsible for the welfare of each girl under her care. Click Here for guidance on leadership. It is a good idea for GFS leaders to enlist the help of other church members to assist with teaching and activities.
GFS/USA requires that all leaders participate in a Safe Church training and keep a current certificate on file at their parish. Training is now completed online through a series of modules. Please discuss this training with your Rector.
The GFS organization encourages leaders and girls to be creative in finding ways for their branch to serve the needs of its members. The badge program provides a structure for working with the girls. However, we encourage flexibility so leaders and girls can make the program work for them.
How do I form a Branch at my Church?
Membership in GFS is open to all girls and young women of any race, religion or ethnic group between the age of 5 and 21. As the organization is affiliated with the Episcopal Church, members, parents and guardians should be aware of there may be activities that include participation in worship and service within the church.
A branch is formed at a parish or mission with the consent of its rector/vicar. This is formally accomplished by completing a Charter Application. This application is submitted to the president of GFS/LA(Los Angeles) and then will be forwarded to GFS/USA. Upon approval, $100 of funding is given by GFS/USA to help establish a new branch. An additional $100 is usually granted by the GFS/LA board. These funds should be kept in a separate GFS account.
The by-laws of GFS/Los Angeles govern membership and branch formation, as well as the operation of the Diocesan Board of GFS/LA. You may want to refer to this document for accurate information about GFS in the Diocese of Los Angeles.
I’m ready, now what?
First, you will want the girls know that you, personally, want each and every one of them to join. Remember, your enthusiasm for Girls Friendly Society is contagious! If you believe in your work, your attitude will rub off on your members!
- Mail or email an eye-catching invitation to prospective members. Membership is open to all girls and young women of any race, religion or ethnic group between the age of 5 and 21.
- Invite members of your parish, their friends, and girls in the surrounding community.
- If your church also has a school on site, host a table at Back to School Night.
- Follow up with a personal phone call to the girls and their parents personally to invite them to the first meeting. Even in these busy times, a personal phone call can make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to follow-up on messages until you get through to the person you want to talk to.
- Be able to promote the value of GFS with prospective members and their parents:
- Let them know that GFS gives girls a place in the church. When they are a member of GFS they will have a special role as ministers in their parish and community. They will learn ways to fulfill Christ’s words: Bear Ye One Another’s Burdens – Galatians 6:2.
- They will earn badges to wear on a vest. The badges represent what they have learned about the Bible, Christian values, church history and the life of Christ.
- They will be part of a world-wide organization that supports women and girls and wants them to grow strong in their faith and become Christian leaders.