After almost 100 years, The Gideons of Canada have decided to dissolve their association with The Gideons International.
In a called meeting of the Gideons in Canada on January 15, a change to the by-laws of the Canadian organization was approved by a large majority of the membership present. According to the by-law amendment, the Gideons in Canada will no longer be governed by the Constitution and By-laws of The Gideons International and they will cease to have a representative from the International Cabinet of The Gideons International serve as a member of the cabinet of the Gideons in Canada.
In light of the decision made by the membership in Canada to no longer be an integral part of the governance and policies shared by the other 193 Gideon countries in which The Gideons International is organized, the International Cabinet of The Gideons International voted on February 18th to acknowledge the by-law amendment change in Canada. Since the amendment puts the Canadian association outside of the International Constitution and By-laws, the International Cabinet regrettably accepted the action taken by the Canadian Gideons to sever organizational ties.
Canada is the only country that was, from its beginning, organized separately from The Gideons International. As such, this decision by Canadian Gideons does not affect the membership or distribution policies of any other Gideon country or our association as a whole.
In reaction to the actions taken by the Canadian and International cabinets, Craig A. Warner, the Executive Director of The Gideons International stated, “We regret that after such a long and effective association, the Gideons in Canada have decided to implement these changes and remove themselves from The Gideons International. We ask all members worldwide to pray that God’s plan will prevail in Canada and they will be successful in reaching their fellow Canadians for Christ.”
In light of Canada’s decision, the international cabinet of The Gideons International voted on February 18th to acknowledge the by-law amendment change in Canada, effectively ending a relationship that had lasted nearly 100 years. Here are some highlights:
- The first Canadian camp was organized in Toronto on December 27, 1902. This was the first Gideon camp outside of the U.S.A. Another Toronto camp was organized in late 1910.
- In March of 1911, the Canadian Gideons organized on a formal, national basis.
- In 1911, the first hotel Bibles were placed in Canada at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto. These were the first Bibles placed in a hotel outside of the U.S.A.
- 1913, the first international convention of Gideons was held in Toronto.
This early history shows that Canada has long been not only a close neighbor, but a valued missionary partner. Close to 26 million Scriptures have been distributed in Canada during the past 100 years.
The Gideons International continues to provide God’s Word in more than 190 countries around the world in more than 90 languages. We will continue to fulfill our mission of winning men, women, boys and girls to Christ by sharing our faith and God’s Word in approved areas of Scripture distribution.