GideonsUK

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by GideonsUK's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from GideonsUK is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.gideonsuk.com

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
20 | BARNABAS FUND
programmes jointly with Stellenbosch,
Pretoria, and other South African
universities and also supports a range
of worldwide training events. The
centre is advancing the understanding
of religion in public life, especially the
relationship of religion to the proper
governance of people. In a time when
religiously motivated violence is on the
rise, OCRPL graduates, who include
some of the most senior leaders
of the Church in the global South,
will be well educated and equipped
to facilitate engagement between
different faith groups, religious groups
and government bodies.
Overcoming global challenges
Geopolitical upheaval and uncertainty
are making the work of many
charities and NGOs more difficult
and hazardous. Barnabas’ mode of
working – through local organisations
and focusing only on Christians – has
the great advantage of allowing us
to operate in a non-intrusive, neutral
way that national governments find
less threatening. Even so, it is getting
harder to transfer financial support to
certain countries.
Terrorism, for example is an ongoing
risk. Countries in the global North
are required to carefully monitor
any organisation operating abroad
financially to prevent the deliberate
or inadvertent funding of terrorist
networks. Licences and guidelines
provided by the Office of Foreign
Assets Control in the USA are a well-
proven platform with trusted screening
tools to reduce such risks. We would
welcome a similar initiative by the
UKgovernment.
In a world of global instability,
Barnabas Fund’s structure and
methodology of working through
national church leadership provides
us with a unique flexibility. This will
enable the organisation to continue
responding quickly to changing events
and using donations effectively to
meet needs as they develop.
In a world of
global
instability,
Barnabas
Fund’s
structure and
methodology
of working
through
national church
leadership
provides us
with a unique
flexibility
Above: Food for disaster
victims in Bangladesh
Below: Vocational skills
training for women in
Pakistan
21GIDEONSUK |
COMMUNITY
Executive Director Iain J. Mair
Football and other sports clubs
receive badged Testaments
Over the past 70 years, Executive Director Iain J. Mair says,
over 45 million Bibles and copies of the New Testament and
Psalms have been distributed by members of GideonsUK.
This work, Iain tells
The Parliamentary Review
, covers many different
walks of life and touches many aspects of society. GideonsUK
distribute to schools, hotels, hospitals, universities, colleges and
prisons, providing the Bible to give guidance in life, offer comfort in
times of sorrow and loss, provide inspiration and to help deal with
many of the issues that people of all ages, nationalities and ethnic
and social backgrounds face on a day-to-day basis.
We began as an association of Christian business and professional men. Now,
members comprise men and women of all ages, interdenominational in church
background and no longer restricted to business and professional occupations, but
still retaining the same common purpose of the association’s founding members,
which is to introduce others to Jesus.
The national office of GideonsUK is based in Lutterworth, Leicestershire. From
here, a small staff team of twelve support the work of over 4,700 volunteers all
around the country, including in Gibraltar. To commemorate the two billionth Bible
distributed by Gideons worldwide, a Bible was presented to Her Majesty the Queen
at Buckingham Palace in May 2016.
Our members are all volunteers and pay an annual subscription, which covers most
of the administration costs of the charity. All donations received from churches,
Friends of Gideons, of whom there are over 40,000, and other supporters, unless
otherwise indicated, go entirely to the purchase and delivery ofScriptures.
FACTS ABOUT
GIDEONSUK
»Executive Director: Iain J. Mair
»Established in1949
»Based in Lutterworth,
Leicestershire
»Service: Distribution of Bibles
and school visits
»No. of employees/volunteers:
12 employees with 4,700
volunteers
GideonsUK
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | GIDEONSUK
»NAME CHANGE
At the 2018 AGM members in the UK voted overwhelmingly to adopt
a new constitution, which allowed ladies to become a member of the
association on an equal basis with men.
Unfortunately, this was not accepted by the International Gideon
Association, headquartered in Nashville, USA, and the UK association
was expelled from the worldwide association and were not allowed
to continue using the name “Gideons”. GideonsUK will operate for
the time being as “Good News for Everyone!”until such time as their
constitution is changed. The new name being proposed is “ShareWord
UK”, working in partnership with ShareWord Global (Canada).
In more recent times, Badged
Testaments have become increasingly
popular. With the relevant permission,
these carry an embossed logo of the
organisation involved. These include
the Armed Forces, the police, fire and
ambulance services, staff of football
clubs, rugby clubs, cricket and other
sports clubs, The Fishermen’s Mission,
Railway Mission, St John Cymru,
Scouts, Girls’ and Boys’ Brigades and
other similar organisations.
Our work in schools
In schools, about 35 million Testaments
have been presented to pupils with
many people still remembering when
they received their “little red Bible”.
Beyond the distribution of Scripture,
we are often invited to give talks
within schools. For those that no
longer hold a traditional morning
assembly, when Gideons would normally
be invited to speak to school pupils, our
members are often asked to speak in
religious education classes. We work
closely with the National Association
of Teachers of Religious Education to
provide curriculum-based lessons and
training programmes for members who
undertake work inschools.
We receive many letters, emails and
telephone calls from people who
have been helped through reading
a Gideon-placed Bible or Testament.
Many come from school pupils and
reveal some of the challenges that
pupils face. For instance, we received
this from a pupil at a school we had
visited: “I’m in year 7 and a couple of
months ago we were given the red
‘New Testament and Psalms’. I looked
into the ‘where to find help’ page and
I found exactly what I was feeling.
Even though I hate to admit it, I was
close to suicide, but it really did help.
When I felt like I had nowhere to turn
and nobody to speak to, I had God.”
Do people find the Bibles
useful?
In the front of every Gideon Bible is
a section called “Where to find help
when”, which many people find useful,
especially those who may not be familiar
with the Bible. This section covers issues
which range from stress and loneliness to
the struggle of looking for employment,
and we ensure that those who receive
our Bibles can be directed to relevant
passages which may help them or are
signposted to other external services.
Interestingly, the government report
“A connected society – a strategy for
tackling loneliness” contains many
objectives that we are looking toaddress.
The utility of this section, and the help it
can provide for people, is clear from the
messages we receive:
“Last week I found
myself in hospital for a hip replacement
operation. I am not brave and was
very anxious indeed. As I waited to be
called for surgery, I looked in the bedside
Scouts exploring the
Bible
When I felt
like I had
nowhere to
turn and
nobody to
speak to, I
hadGod
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
22 | GIDEONSUK
»NAME CHANGE
At the 2018 AGM members in the UK voted overwhelmingly to adopt
a new constitution, which allowed ladies to become a member of the
association on an equal basis with men.
Unfortunately, this was not accepted by the International Gideon
Association, headquartered in Nashville, USA, and the UK association
was expelled from the worldwide association and were not allowed
to continue using the name “Gideons”. GideonsUK will operate for
the time being as “Good News for Everyone!”until such time as their
constitution is changed. The new name being proposed is “ShareWord
UK”, working in partnership with ShareWord Global (Canada).
In more recent times, Badged
Testaments have become increasingly
popular. With the relevant permission,
these carry an embossed logo of the
organisation involved. These include
the Armed Forces, the police, fire and
ambulance services, staff of football
clubs, rugby clubs, cricket and other
sports clubs, The Fishermen’s Mission,
Railway Mission, St John Cymru,
Scouts, Girls’ and Boys’ Brigades and
other similar organisations.
Our work in schools
In schools, about 35 million Testaments
have been presented to pupils with
many people still remembering when
they received their “little red Bible”.
Beyond the distribution of Scripture,
we are often invited to give talks
within schools. For those that no
longer hold a traditional morning
assembly, when Gideons would normally
be invited to speak to school pupils, our
members are often asked to speak in
religious education classes. We work
closely with the National Association
of Teachers of Religious Education to
provide curriculum-based lessons and
training programmes for members who
undertake work inschools.
We receive many letters, emails and
telephone calls from people who
have been helped through reading
a Gideon-placed Bible or Testament.
Many come from school pupils and
reveal some of the challenges that
pupils face. For instance, we received
this from a pupil at a school we had
visited: “I’m in year 7 and a couple of
months ago we were given the red
‘New Testament and Psalms’. I looked
into the ‘where to find help’ page and
I found exactly what I was feeling.
Even though I hate to admit it, I was
close to suicide, but it really did help.
When I felt like I had nowhere to turn
and nobody to speak to, I had God.”
Do people find the Bibles
useful?
In the front of every Gideon Bible is
a section called “Where to find help
when”, which many people find useful,
especially those who may not be familiar
with the Bible. This section covers issues
which range from stress and loneliness to
the struggle of looking for employment,
and we ensure that those who receive
our Bibles can be directed to relevant
passages which may help them or are
signposted to other external services.
Interestingly, the government report
“A connected society – a strategy for
tackling loneliness” contains many
objectives that we are looking toaddress.
The utility of this section, and the help it
can provide for people, is clear from the
messages we receive:
“Last week I found
myself in hospital for a hip replacement
operation. I am not brave and was
very anxious indeed. As I waited to be
called for surgery, I looked in the bedside
Scouts exploring the
Bible
When I felt
like I had
nowhere to
turn and
nobody to
speak to, I
hadGod
23GIDEONSUK |
COMMUNITY
cabinet and, finding a Gideon Bible,
started to read the notes at the front.
I was immediately very comforted. I
remain very thankful indeed for the help
I received that day.”
Other examples of
these testimonies, from a wide range
of environments and situations, can be
found in the accompanying text box.
A changing climate
The biggest challenge we face as
an organisation is that many places,
including hospitals, hotels and schools,
no longer feel it is appropriate to
have Bibles. The reason often given
is that other faiths may be offended
and yet, time and time again, other
faiths are at pains to point out that
they are not offended by Bibles. We
have received countless messages of
support from other faith groups and
are often invited to speak in Muslim
schools in order to raise awareness of
differentfaiths.
A key facet of our work is undertaken
overseas as we organise mission trips
to other countries in conjunction with
our Canadian partners ShareWord
Global. Alongside spreading awareness
of scripture, our members also get
involved in scripture distribution,
supporting local community events.
As we look to the future, we are
aiming to strengthen these overseas
connections and develop our
international presence.
The core of what we do is very simple
and has not changed since our
foundation. In the future, we will simply
strive to improve our systems and
networks, ensuring we can continue to
reach as many people as possible.
The core of
what we do is
very simple
»TESTIMONIALS
From a hotel room.
Through the Gideon Bible in my hotel room, I really needed the
words of comfort and support that I came across to help me
continue in a positive way forward in the face of difficult trials
I’ve been facing. So just want to thank you for your work and
encourage you [ … ] through your work people like me are being
helped through the availability of a Bible in their hotel room.”
From a prison cell.
In August 2006, while in prison, I decided to take my own life. My
situation had become so hopeless I’d lost the will to live. I had made
a noose and decided to fix it up at the window then let myself hang
to death. At that moment a quiet voice spoke to me: “Just read that
Bible.” On the shelf sat a copy of the New Testament and Psalms
placed by The Gideons. If no Bible had been in that prison cell, I
would have committed suicide, instead of living my life in the joy of
the Lord!”
Partnership with the
Girls’ Brigade England &
Wales
A special gift of a
badged Testament for
veterans

www.gideonsuk.com

This article was sponsored by GideonsUK. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development