John Bach

John Bach

Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)
John Bach

Telephone:  (970) 209-8346
Address:   28 Coleman Road, Arlington, MA  02476


I have been a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) for almost all of my adult life, and am pleased and honored to represent the Friends Meeting at Cambridge within the Harvard Chaplains community. I became a Quaker because I wanted to accompany Harriet Tubman and support native Americans; to shelter Anne Frank, to consort with Gandhi and to march with Dr. King; to construct alternatives to violence; and to sit silently, waiting expectantly for the Spirit to speak. We worship in silence, speaking when called to speak.

I endeavor to live an engaged life, taking part in the "burning issues of the day," as someone once put it, while also pursuing a spiritual path, and refusing to separate the one from the other. The joyful consequence has been years of imprisonment for reasons of conscience, deportations, border crossings, dealings with badly behaved people with guns, and an arrest record longer than both of my arms. As this trajectory unfolded, foundations shook and doors flew open, and I understood freedom was not determined by which side of a prison wall you were on or by paychecks or ability to consume, but rather being of service and faithful to ideals.

And fully engaged also, I should hope, in the equally meaningful everyday acts of attention to the miracles of help and outreach, listening to the small, still voice that speaks with thunder and lightning. It's hard to corrupt a spirituality based on humility, simplicity, compassion, non-violence, moderation and contemplation. We believe that there is that which is godlike in all of us and that we do not need intermediaries to seek and discover the will of the divine spirit.

The victory is in the struggle and in living in balance with nature. With a resounding NO to the murderous policies of the State and a seductive culture, and an equally resounding YES to everything else, as we lift up each other with tender hands.

I eagerly look forward to listening and sharing with any student or member of the Harvard community in a spirit of openness and humility.