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Vale God Squad founder Rev Smithy

Rev Dr John Smith Smithy

Riders have been invited to celebrate the life of Rev Dr John “Bullfrog” Smith, the founder of the God’s Squad CMC, radical preacher and long-time social justice campaigner.

“Smithy” passed away from cancer at home on 6 March 2019 with his wife of 51 years, Glena, by his side.

His funeral service will be held on Saturday (23 March 2019) at 2pm at the Wave Baptist Church in Ocean Grove, corner of Wallington Rd and Lake Ave.

Rev Smithy was known and respected by many riders over many decades for his support, counsel, charity work and his vocal crusade against anti-association laws.Rev Dr John Smith Smithy

He even addressed the National Press Club on 5 August 2009, telling the press why the commonly called “anti-bikie laws”, wouldn’t work.

Rev Smithy was also an author and was known in professional speaking circles as the “Blues Preacher: Motivational Speaker, Doctoral Researcher  of Cultural Anthropology, Author, Advocate, Social Commentator, Biker, and Unorthodox Evangelist.”

Many knew him as “Bullfrog” because he was “the loudest noise in the pond” says his wife, Glena.

Smithy documentary

His life story is told in the documentary film simply titled “Smithy”.

God’s Squad CMC formed in the late 1960s, but expanded under Smithy’s leadership from 1972.

The film synopsis says Smithy had agonised over the inability of the church to be culturally relevant and engaged with the important social and political issues of the day.Rev Dr John Smith Smithy

“In the twinkling of an eye, he went from strait-laced suburban preacher to sharing the stage at Hells Angels’ concerts to addressing a full hearing of the United Nations Human Rights Commission,” it says.

“Smithy has been jailed and nearly executed in the Philippines for defending the rights of rural peasants, and has been an advocate for the marginalised peoples of Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua.Rev Dr John Smith Smithy

“He has spoken around the world, making friends of like-minded crusaders such as Bono and Jimmy Carter. God’s Squad has also gone global with chapters now in New Zealand, United Kingdom, Norway, Finland, Germany, Ukraine, Netherlands and the USA.

“Across four frenetic decades, Smithy set up several flourishing community churches with associated welfare arms; completed a doctorate focussing on cross-cultural studies, corporate culture and globalisation; wrote five books; and with his wife, Glena, had three children  and seventeen grandchildren.”Rev Dr John Smith Smithy

  1. Smithy had an unique ability to communicate his message and values to both Down And Outs as well as the Up And Outs. His foray into high schools was amazing to witness. Unruly teens would sit in silence as he and his Squad blokes talked about the real issues in life, often sharing the pain and anguish of kids who suffered in broken homes. In one high school I witnessed about 80% of the 300 students present ask for copies of the Bible after a God’s Squad presentation. Truly inspirational…. he’s a man that will be sorely missed. Australia is the richer for his sojourn among us, and poorer for his passing.

  2. In the 80’s, I was the manager of Portland Hospital and Community Health Service. With Alcoa’s development bursting Portland’s human services at the seams, then Mayor Murray Box hosted a “get to know” meeting with local services and representatives of the “God Squad” at their request – Smithy was present. One of his underlings chose to call me out as a fat cat that cared zip about my constituents. In those days, my “fat cat” salary was $900 per week (for about a 60 hour week), whilst the lowest paid workers on Portland’s wharf got $1100 per week……. Smithy sat there and let it happen!! If we want to worship heroes, can we please get real heroes? Oh well, I’m a motorcyclist, and always have been….. At some srage, I needed (as we all do) to know that the God Squad is and always was a crock of shit!!

    1. Sorry to read your angry comment, Greg. Also sad to see that you reckon the God’s Squad CMC ‘is and always was a crock of shit’. Pity you haven’t had the chance to speak with some of the Hell’s Angels guys who have treated Smithy with respect. Those guys are quite capable of recognising what is and what isn’t a crock of shit.

  3. Funnily enough when I was working in the 80’s, my salary was £470 a month. This was with about £40 travel money included. I did around 70-100 hours a week, lived in a bunker on the border of Northern Ireland, lost mates etc, I’d say £900 a week then was, indeed, a fatcat.
    Fatcat like me got a helicopter as a model of transport so I was quids in.
    Happy days.
    Nowadays, I’m a member of GSCMC, and I can tell you for a fact that the Squad are and always will be a force for good in these hard times and Smithy was a shining light in a dark world.
    We are all much diminished by his loss.

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