Introducing the New President - Bill Thomas
Bill has been a member of the Association since 1972 and held many positions over the years, including most recently International President of The Gideons International.
"We are living in unprecedented times when there is a great deal of uncertainty, confusion and even fear for the future. Folk are crying out for a message of hope and some good news, and we believe that the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only good news around.
"As the newly elected National President, I passionately believe in the wonderful message of ‘Good News’ that is found in the Bible, which we believe is the Word of God. Therefore, we will do all we can to ensure that copies of the Scriptures be made available to everyone, in hotels, schools, colleges, hospitals, care homes, prisons etc., and to the armed forces, the police, sports clubs and chaplains in any institution or organisation. Most important for us is to ensure that any individual who needs a copy should have access to one.
"We are keen to work with other Christian organisations and with our churches here in the UK and abroad, to fulfil our vision of sharing this ‘Good News'. We long for others to join us in this mission so at this time of uncertainty there can indeed be a wonderful message of Hope that can comfort and encourage folk of every age and culture."
Bill has been a Consultant Surgeon and Clinical Director of Surgery at Sheffield University Teaching Hospitals Trust, a post held since 1986 and is also an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in Surgery, University of Sheffield and Senior Vice President and Surgical Skills Tutor of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
Having a deep interest and commitment to relief work overseas, Bill takes surgical education and the Gospel to many lower and middle income countries around the world, and in the past made annual visits to the hospitals and churches in Romania, providing the hospitals there with educational tools, resources and Scriptures.
Bill now becomes the 30th President of the Association.
Introducing the New Ladies' President - Catherine Erbetta
Catherine has been a long standing member of the organisation for nearly 50 years and has recently performed the duty as Ladies’ National Vice-President for the past two years. During her membership she has held all Auxiliary offices at branch level in three Regions across the UK.
"It's an important and exciting time to be involved in the leadership at GOOD NEWS for Everyone! (formerly GideonsUK). A message of hope is desperately needed at this time of pandemic and, in God's perfect timing, we had just produced our HOPE gospel magazines, which have been widely used and valued. This is just one example of the many opportunities we have for sharing the Word of God.
"More than one generation has now grown up without any knowledge of the Bible; they believe it is dull, boring and irrelevant today. The reverse is of course true – Scripture is full of life and death, romance, love and hate, sickness and health, war and peace.
"We continue with our traditional areas of distribution of free Bibles or portions thereof such as:
- Schools – where we believe it is even more important at this time to offer young people the opportunity to discover the basics of Christianity (which has historically underpinned our national life) and make choices as to how relevant that is to them.
- Hotels – where the Bible by the bedside has provided much support to many in times of loneliness, crisis or distress (our National Office has a steady stream of letters thanking us).
- Hospitals and Care Homes – where God's Word provides comfort in times of pain, anxiety, bewilderment and when life draws to its close – often reminding patients of an earlier and dormant faith.
"Above all, our aim remains, by making Scripture available (working with partners where appropriate), to help many more people to find the love, peace, salvation and forgiveness in Jesus Christ that has radically changed millions of lives over the centuries and indeed my own life many years ago."
Catherine first qualified as a nurse before becoming a Health Visitor with a Masters’ Degree in Health Promotion. She was one of the first tranche of Nurses nationally to become a full Board Member of the local NHS Primary Care Group, which later became the Primary Care Trust. Catherine was also involved in the implementation of a major NHS organisational change in Buckinghamshire and manager of Health Improvement at Buckinghamshire NHS Trust.
Having been in leadership roles in the churches she has attended Catherine also occasionally leads women’s meetings, away days and quiet days as well as weekly services for residents of a local nursing home and assisting the chaplain with weekly Bible studies at HMP Huntercombe.
Catherine now becomes the 20th Ladies' President of the Association.
We pray for Bill and Catherine as they begin their roles at this new and exciting time for the Association.