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90th Anniversary Celebration Thanksgiving Services

90th Anniversary Celebration Thanksgiving Services Attract Many Members

One of the joys of TG Membership is the opportunity each year to meet women from around the country at national events such as the AGM and the National Christmas Carol Services held in Britain’s magnificent cathedrals. The latter are always well-supported and Members enthuse about the chance to meet like-minded women, engage in communal singing and in general give thanks for and reflect upon TG’s role in the world. So it was no surprise that in our 90th Anniversary Year the National Executive Committee decided to hold a number of special Thanksgiving Celebration Services. Like the carol services these were spread around the country. In the North, our Thanksgiving took place in Leeds Minster, close to the city centre of bustling Leeds. In the south, it was at the iconic church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, just off Trafalgar Square in the heart of London. Both services followed the same format.

Following the entry procession - with an opportunity to parade banners - and a welcome prayer given on behalf of the host church, our National Chairman Jenny Rideout lit a candle in remembrance of our founder members and those past, present and future. We then sang a selection of popular and well-known hymns such as Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise,  All Creatures of Our God and King and Now Thank We All Our God. Interspersed between the hymns there were a number of readings focused on words of wisdom about successful and inspiring women, and several poems, including Ode to a Wonder Woman, recited by National Vice Chairman Beryl Hales, and Celebrating 90 Years, specially written by Ellen Jenkinson and delivered by Jenny Rideout, our National Chair.   This was followed by us singing I am a Small Part of the World together.

Another highlight and unique feature was a presentation of many ‘Words of Wisdom’ about women read by various Trustees. These ranged from the words of early female writers such as Mary Wollstenecraft and Olympe de Gouges, through the history of suffragism and the foundation of Townswomen’s Guilds, to aphorisms from more recent prominent women such as JK Rowling and the Duchess of Sussex!  Quite a potent and inspiring mix, then. One of my favourites was a quote from Catherine Cookson, “If you are not making mistakes, you are not making decisions”. That’s a challenge to us all, if you like, as too many women have an overdeveloped fear of failure.   As we move on towards our first century, what better way to celebrate than to remember the words of Millicent Fawcett, engraved on the splendid new statue in Parliament Square, “Courage calls to courage everywhere, and its voice cannot be denied”.

Thanksgiving Celebrations Readings PDF.pdf

Jean Watkins, National Trustee

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