1. The Gideons International in Canada employs 32 people and has an annual budget of $8 million. It’s funded by membership dues, non-member donations, bequests and major gifts and donations from its 275 chapters.
2. Since its inception, the Canadian arm has distributed 28 million copies of the scriptures in this country and 46 million copies worldwide.
3. The Gideons are an association, not a church. Members pay a minimum of $10 a month and must be endorsed by a pastor and affiliated with an evangelical church.
4. Distribution of Gideon Bibles by all worldwide chapters reached the two billion mark this year.
5. The Gideons are a global enterprise with more than 300,000 Gideon members and auxiliary members (wives of Gideons) in 200 countries. In 2011, the Canadian Gideons (who number 3,755) broke off from their parent body in order to comply with Canadian charitable status regulations and also to allow women to become full-fledged members.
Anne Bokma is a Hamilton-based journalist. Her column, "Spiritual But Secular," appears monthly in The Observer.
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