What's Julie Up To?
I find it so energising and inspiring to visit our people, and it’s wonderful to see first-hand your passion and the great work you’re doing every day.
Our time in Fiji was really inspiring and encouraging. We visited every corps and centre, and I got to see how our women officers are empowering and embracing the women in their community. I visited the craft group in Suva, where women come to learn sewing and tailoring skills, and some even go on to start a business for themselves. But it's more than that - they discover new friends, they discover they already have a lot of skills, and many of them have really deepened in their faith in Jesus.
I also spoke to one officer who is doing great work in connecting with women who are survivors of family violence. She is seeking to empower them and remind them they are beautiful and whole in Christ.
We’ve also been to the International Leaders Conference in Canada, which was an opportunity for leaders of every territory to speak about our priorities as an international Army. We're all different— we have different cultures and different needs—but we need to know how we can stand together as The Salvation Army. We spoke about gender equity, and I’m encouraged that it’s still a priority for us.
"... my priority is to ensure we have women at every level of our leadership. We need to ensure we are hearing the voices of women ..."
Just last week, we returned from Samoa, where we had the privilege of dedicating the first Salvation Army building that we’ve built in the region, and also enrolled 2 new soldiers. I’m really excited about the amazing work they’re doing with young people in talking about violence against women and girls (see our ‘Groundbreaking Campaign’ story).
Back in New Zealand, I attended the National Council of Women's 125th anniversary. The Salvation Army has been connected with the NCW from almost the start, and it’s a great opportunity to lend a Christian voice in advocating for the women in our nation.
Most weeks, when we are in Aotearoa, we try to visit a different corps – we recently visited Whanganui and New Plymouth, and I attended the 93rd birthday of Home League in Hamilton. In our own Territory, my priority is to ensure we have women at every level of our leadership. We need to ensure we are hearing the voices of women, that we’re valuing women and giving them opportunities. Meeting so many of you around the Territory has only convinced me further that our women do have the skills – and I want you to know that you are valued and your voice matters.