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Vale John Smith

Motorcyclist, theologian and international speaker Rev Dr John Smith passed away on 6 March 2019.

A talented writer and teacher, he was a requested speaker at Christian conferences such as Green Belt in the UK.

He formed the God Squad, an international motorcycle organisation that provided chaplaincy to bikie gangs such as the Bandidos, Finks, and the Rebels. His autobiography, On the Side of the Angels, was first published in the 1980s, then revised in 2006 and again in 2015.

Dr Smith had battled prostate cancer for several years. It had cost him his hair and signature beard.

As his official website says, he was “as much at home talking to business leaders, academics, church leaders, politicians and the media as … with school children, university students, the poor and marginalised, and outlaw motorcycle club members”.

Dr Smith was the founder of Concern Australia, a non-government organisation that aims to help vulnerable children enjoy full and meaningful lives. While often critical of the institutional church for the harm that it had done to people, he acknowledged, “there is no institution that does more to bring care to those in need”.

Rev Dr John Smith is survived by his wife Glena and three adult children.

This piece has been republished with thanks to Insights magazine.

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