Written by Dr. Ernest Crocker
It is with great sadness yet rejoicing that we announce the passing of Canon David Claydon. David died peacefully in the presence of his family at the Adventist Hospital Sydney on July 28th 2022 and is now in the presence of his Heavenly Father.
David was born in Bethlehem sometime in 1936 by his reckoning. His parents, had been killed in crossfire between the Zionists, British and Palestinians and all records regarding his birth, family and citizenship had been destroyed by bombing. A fair skin boy with red hair, he had no name, no birth date, and no family. He was totally without identity and as such became a ward of the Bethlehem Orphanage on the road between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Arabic became his first language.
With the coming of war, he was taken into care by Lora Claydon, an Australian social worker whose name he later adopted. During time in the middle East, he came close to death on several occasions. It was from that position of weakness that he found strength. In the context of those early childhood experiences, he found wisdom, insight, and a simple trust in God. He learned that when we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough. And in this he found his prime identity and purpose for living.
After the second battle of El Alamein, Lora decided to bring David to Australia. As he stepped onto Australian soil he is quoted as saying, ‘I recalled all the things that had happened to me, and I thanked God that I was alive. I dedicated my life to God and told Him that I would serve Him.’ He was eight years old at the time.
David was schooled at Knox College in Sydney later going to study economics, education, and theology. He was appointed Director of Scripture Union for Australia and East Asia Pacific from 1960-81. He then went on to serve as rector at St Matthews Church West Pennant Hills. In 1988 he was appointed Director of the Church Missionary Society (CMS Australia) and in 2002 as International Director of the Lausanne Committee for world evangelism. He was a Canon of the Cathedral of Cairo and Sydney. In 2018, David was awarded the order of Australia Medal for services to the Anglican Church, to interfaith relations and to refugees.
Through life, God’s hand of protection was clearly upon David. He had saved him from crossfire, from starvation, illness, drowning at sea, aerial bombing, U boat 862 during his passage back to Australia during WW2 and later, from Congolese soldiers.
During his later years, he worked tirelessly with Federal Ministers and others to ensure safe passage of endangered and persecuted Christians to safe havens.
David edited “Islam Human Rights and Public Policy” and has written several books most notably ‘Who do You Think I am?’ exploring personal identity and what it means to be ‘in Christ.’ (Morling Press 2013). The man with no name found his identity as a much-loved son of His Heavenly Father.
Our sincere condolences to wife Robyn and family members. They may be assured that ‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints.’ (Psalms 116:15).
May he rest in Peace, may he rise in Glory. ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’.
‘I have a home, forever free from toil and care and misery,Barney E Warren 1897
Where stormy seas can never roll, where bliss eternal crowns the soul’.