This International Women’s Day, we give thanks and remember women who challenge and change the world around them.
We remember Lilias Graham, whose 105th birth anniversary fell on 6th March 2022.
Lilias was appointed as a diocesan woman worker in 1952 by Bishop John How, with a threefold remit: to assist the Glasgow University Chaplain, to visit women in HMP Greenock, and to work with the people of the Gorbals.
Lilias started sharing a flat at Ibrox, as the Church initially resisted her desire to live in the Gorbals, then a notorious slum in Western Europe, being considered far too risky for a single woman.
However, she soon moved to 10 Abbotsford Place, in the heart of the Gorbals, which became a drop-in centre with a playroom, a nursery and a room where local women, the Old Hens’ Club, could meet and talk. The women also ran a second-hand clothing store, known as the Hen House, in nearby Bedford Street.
Over the course of the following decades, the social justice efforts exemplified in the work of Lilias Graham and the people involved in and experiencing the outreach of the Gorbals Group grew into a myriad of projects, some still going strong today.
On Saturday, 5th March 2022, the Synod of the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane considered a motion “that Lilias Graham be included in the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) Calendar on account of her faith-filled life and example.”
We pray for all women; for those who are too often dismissed or ignored; for those whom society or culture have taught that they are not of worth; for those women of courage who have stood up and spoken out.
We pray for all those working for change throughout society and the world; for those who raise their voices seeking justice and mercy; for those who refuse to sit down and be quiet.
We give thanks for those women in this diocese and throughout the world, who care for the community of believers; who live out the Gospel in their neighbourhoods in word and deed; who have added to our rich understanding of God and our faith.
O Living and Loving God with the power of your presence deep in our hearts, and the power of your presence overflowing in our communities, confirm and strengthen us in your truth, that all are created equal in your sight.
Help us, in these challenging times, to work together in Faith, Hope and Love, sustained by your Holy Spirit who blows where she will, disturbing and transforming the world.