GWL October 2015

We’re gathering again on Saturday 10th October at St Clements Eastcheap in London. You can book here. We’re delighted to be joined, as ever, by some change-making women. In the Community slot Jessie Jacobs will Jessie Jacobsbe talking about going upstream, asking why the church isn’t present in more challenging spaces. She wonders why we often expect ministry to look a certain way and how we can go wider rather than higher. Jessie is a social entrepreneur, community activist and social commentator with a deep passion for people and making a difference in the world. She won The Sunday Times social entrepreneur of the year award for a charity she set up in her twenties working with women at risk, A Way Out. We’ll be celebrating Catriona Robertson.Catriona Robertson Catriona is interested in how we live well and equitably with people who are different from us and works with churches, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and synagogues. She is currently the Interim Director of the Christian Muslim Forum, which is supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and also convenes the London Boroughs Faiths Network. In 2014 she chaired the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival’s session on Faith. Emily ChalkeCatriona was brought up in the Church of Scotland, lives in London with her family and has been a Churchwarden, Deanery Lay Chair and member of Diocesan Synod in the Church of England. Emily Chalke joins for the Justice slot, talking about Ella’s Home, a new project that will open doors to enable recovery for women who have experienced sexual exploitation and trafficking by providing a safe and restorative home, and aims to become sustainable through developing its own small enterprises that will create employment and training opportunities. Emily has over five years experience working in Thailand for Nightlight, working with women who were trafficked into Bangkok. More details about the day to follow, and don’t forget to get your ticket!

St ClementsDirections: Full address is St Clement’s Eastcheap, 1 St Clements Court, Clements Lane, London EC4N 7HB. Nearest tube is Monument or Bank. From Monument tube, follow exit to King William Street and then directions to Bank tube. (Don’t go up the exits to King William Street South or Eastcheap!) Go up the steps by House of Fraser to the left. Follow the road round to the right, and turn right before Pod. St Clements is on the right.

GWL June 2015

GWL is happening on Saturday 6 June 2015 at St Clements, Eastcheap. Please book a ticket in advance. Looking forward to seeing you there

Full address of venue: St Clement’s Eastcheap, 1 St Clements Court, Clements Lane, London EC4N 7HB. From Monument tube, follow exit to King William Street or directions to Bank tube. Go up the steps by House of Fraser to the left. Follow the road round to the right, and turn right before Pod. St Clements is on the right.

Natalie Collins will be leading an interactive session on the right use of power. Natalie is an international speaker and trainer on issues of violence against women and wider gender injustice. She was on Newsnight recently and is also a founder of Project 3:28 which exists to see the church embrace gender justice. You can find out more about Natalie on her website.

Ruth Dearnley will be talking about the work of Stop the Traffik and her experience as a woman in leadership. Ruth was a founding member of Stop the Traffik in 2005 and has been CEO since 2008. With a law degree and a background in education, Ruth has spent the last 20 years communicating creatively and inspiring and facilitating others to transform the world around them, starting in their local community. Ruth was awarded an OBE in 2014 for her work with Stop the Traffik.

Katie Harrison, head of media and communications at Tearfund, will be talking about the effects of war on women. She travels the world, reporting back on what she sees and has recently visited Iraq, DRC, and Nigeria. You can see her talking on Al Jazeera about conditions in Syria here.

Plus we’ll be hearing from Louise Haughton, who trained as a social worker and has had a varied 15 year career across social care including residential care, secure units and looked after children. She now looks after Wolverhampton’s adoption service and she’ll be talking about how to navigate challenges, maintain focus, and the importance of personal vision and mission when working in big organisations.

You can book a ticket here – £10 including lunch, refreshments and a room full of incredible women.

Check the Venue for June GWL

The next GWL on 6 June is going to be at St Clements, Eastcheap. Nearest tube is Monument or Bank.

Directions: Full address is St Clement’s Eastcheap, 1 St Clements Court, Clements Lane, London EC4N 7HB. Nearest tube is Monument or Bank. From Monument tube, follow exit to King William Street and then directions to Bank tube. (Don’t go up the exits to King William Street South or Eastcheap!) Go up the steps by House of Fraser to the left. Follow the road round to the right, and turn right before Pod. St Clements is on the right.

Events in 2015

There will be two more gatherings in 2015:

Saturday 6 June

Saturday 10 October

Put the dates in your diary and look out for more details nearer the time. If you want to get info by email, use the ‘keep in touch’ page to send us your contact details.

October 2014


Imposter Syndrome is that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach, that any moment now you’re going to be found out, that you don’t deserve to be where you are. And lots of us suffer from it. Vicky Walker discussed the issue with Bex Lewis, Natalie Collins and Jo Dolby who all talked about their own experience of Imposter Syndrome and gave tips on how to deal with it. Jo Royal summed it up as comparing your insides with other people’s outsides. It was really liberating to hear how widespread it is and to be given practical suggestions for how to deal with it. Cecilia Eggleston has written about the day on her blog, including how this issue affects her.


Rosemary Lain Priestley is a priest and works as Dean of Women in the central area of the London Diocese. She chairs the Church of England’s national network of advisers in women’s ministry and does a lot of work on the inclusion and flourishing of ordained women in the Church of England. She spoke to us about Authentic Inclusion and the fact that God welcomes everyone and loves us for who we are, not what we do or produce. She said: ‘It’s that principle of inclusion, based not on status but solely on God’s love for us, not on our achievements but on God’s grace, that sets the scene for Jesus’s radically inclusive relationships with women, with people who were vulnerable because they were poor or socially marginalised, with those who were sick or dying, with tax collectors and sex workers, with people entirely outside the Jewish community like the Syro-Phoenician woman who persuaded him to heal her daughter and the Samaritan woman at the well with whom Jesus broke social taboos and made himself ritually unclean just by sitting and talking with her and sharing her water.’ You can find her talk on her website.


Next was our regular celebration of a woman in leadership. Wendy interviewed Liz Clutterbuck, who has trained for ordained ministry but was not able to find a curacy for this year. Liz talked honestly about feelings of disappointment and confusion, how she has coped with friends being ordained and started curacies and what she’s doing now.


Finally we heard from Jendella Hallam Benson, a photographer, filmmaker and writer based in London. She talked about her latest work, the Young Motherhood project, which enables women to tell their stories of being young mothers. Jeni had been thinking about doing the project but got the final impetus to do it at a previous GWL which was very encouraging to hear! She says: ‘Unlike common documentary photographic practices I do not wish to co-opt the stories of the “marginalised” or “disadvantaged”. The most important part of this project was travelling around the UK to photograph and interview 27 women who are, or have been, young mothers – that is women who have given birth to children in their early twenties or below – to hear directly from them what their experiences have been raising their children. I see myself as using my skills to amplify their voices in the hopes that their experiences can intelligently inform discussion and start a much-needed conversation within our communities on how best to support young families in our common goal for an inclusive and healthy society.’

July 2014

saraSara Hyde began the day by talking about her journey from a fairly naïve girl brought up in a ‘nice middle class, 2,4 family’ to a woman who is passionate about women who are caught up in the Criminal Justice System and currently campaigning to become the Labour candidate for Salford. She gave us an insight into women’s prisons and challenged us all to look beyond individualism to the broader community. We were asked to think about our background, to consider why we hadn’t been to prison and to think about how we could contribute to making a difference in the lives of women who often face incredibly hard life decisions.

judeWendy Beech-Ward interviewed Jude Levermore about her many years of experience in Christian leadership. Currently working with the Methodist Church, Jude has chaired the board at Greenbelt and worked with her team to transform the event into a sustainable, successful festival. Jude brought great wisdom to the room as she shared what has helped her work in very male dominated environments, how she has navigated the challenges she has faced and how she has learned that to lead you have to be prepared to make unpopular decisions.


andreaAndrea Boden, marketing and partnerships manager for Relate, talked about networking and encouraged us to think about what makes it hard for us to go up to someone new and introduce ourselves. We discussed the assumptions we make about other people before we’ve ever met them, the damage that comparison does to our self-esteem and the negative things we believe about ourselves that make us think people won’t want us to talk to them. Andrea suggested that we exchange those thoughts for their opposites and speak out of those in situations where we’re meeting new people.


laraLara Bianca Pilcher wrapped up the day by talking about her work in the creative arts. Dancer, singer, actor and producer Lara talked about the kind of resilience it takes to work in an industry where you might not get work for two years, face endless knock backs and wear your heart of your sleeve. She shared top tips for setting up new projects and fundraising, and left us to remember that we are more than the product of someone else’s imagination.

Thanks to Bekah Legg from Liberti Magazine for this report.

May 2014

Tamsin Martle talked about her experience of finding what she was passionate about, moving from a successful career that didn’t particuarly inspire her, to becoming an executive coach and using her talent for motivating, developing and envisioning people and organisations. She led us in an exercise towards crafting a personal mission statement, thinking about what’s at our centre, what motivates us and what might be holding us back. We were all left with plenty to think about and to do some more work on.

Wendy Beech Ward interviewed Ruth Mawhinney as part of our mission to celebrate women in leadership. Ruth has been editor of Christianity Magazine for several years and has just moved on to edit She talked about her calling to the city, to connect with the community around her, about what she’s proud of in the work she’s done and her hopes for her new role.

Cath Pearson talked about The Marylebone Project which houses vulnerable women and helps them move on in their lives. The project is in need of volunteers to spend time with the women and money to create comfortable lounges that they’ll want to hang out in.

And then Jenny Baker talked about her book Equals, explaining what equality is, why it’s so important and how we can create environments where equality can flourish. She talked about gender at work – how organisations and workplaces are not neutral places but actually help to construct and reinforce gender stereotypes. There’s a follow-up post on her blog about why some of us need to stop making the tea.

We failed to take any photos but we did have an amazing time again, with great connections being made and people leaving encouraged, inspired and determined to pursue their callings.