Pacific Yearly Meeting 2019 Annual Session attendees have the opportunity to hear David Johnson, our keynoter, speak on Saturday, July 13 at 11:15 am. David Johnson is a seasoned Friend, an activist and a pragmatic man who is being worked by the Divine. He lives in North Queensland, Australia with his wife, Trish, who will also be at Annual Session.
David grew up in Australia. As a young person he loved rocks and fossils and worked most of his life as a geologist in industry and in academia at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. He wrote The Geology of Australia, which is now co-authored in its third edition. He left the university in 1998 to concentrate on the work of peacemaking.
David has a long history of peace and justice activism. In 1991, motivated by the first Gulf war, David with his wife Trish and several friends, started the Australian Campaign Against Arms Trade (ACAAT). He worked extensively with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and with other weapons issues. Growing up in a culture of patriarchy and colonialism, David has come to understand the damage of bias and white privilege. For many years he has been walking with the Australia’s First Peoples and learning from them. When David travels, he makes it his practice to visit with the descendants of the indigenous peoples to respectfully request the opportunity to be present on the land of their ancestors.
In 2005 David was invited to give the James Backhouse lecture, a public talk on contemporary issues delivered at the annual gathering of Quakers in Australia. David’s title was “Peace is a Struggle”. He spoke about peace in our world as well as within each one of us and described how the outer search for peace and the inner search for peace fit together. He offered practices to experience this truth.
In 2008, David was one of the founders of the Silver Wattle Quaker Centre in Australia. This spiritual and practical venture arose from a concern that the modern Quaker faith is more fragile than many might believe, and not sufficiently grounded for us to carry the witness that will be called from us over the next decades.
More recently, David has been called to serve the Quaker community through writing and speaking. He is the author of A Quaker Prayer Life (2013), and Jesus, Christ, Servant of God: Meditations on the Gospel According to John (2017) from Inner Light Books. In May he led a retreat on John’s Gospel at Pendle Hill.
As our keynote speaker this year at Annual Session at Walker Creek Ranch, David will be speaking on the workings of the Light of Christ within each of us. Drawing on the spiritual perceptiveness of the first Quakers, he will ask us to encounter the spirituality under their 17th century language. He is an example of a Quaker activist who finds his spiritual sustenance in private prayer and worshipping in community. It will be a gift to welcome him to our gathering.
Sandy Kewman, Clerk
Link to 2005 James Backhouse lecture “Peace is a Struggle”: https://www.quakersaustralia.info/sites/aym-members/files/pages/files/2005%20Lecture.pdf