By Dan Wooding, Special to ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS – June 16, 2016) – Patricia Johnson, a Southern California-based PR expert who worked tirelessly for many years as a supporter of Israel, died on Monday, June 6, 2016, after a long battle with Junior Diabetes, also known as Type 1 Diabetes.
She has been described by a friend as “a true lover and supporter of the Jewish State of Israel and the Jewish People.”
Patricia Johnson grew up in Orange County, California, but then moved to North Hollywood, and was a regular at the Church on the Way, Van Nuys, California, founded by Dr. Jack Hayford.
She also worked for several years with Gen. Shimon Erem (IDF), the Founding Chairman of the Israel Christian Nexus (ICN), who died on Sunday, May 27, 2012, at the age of 90. His group works to bring together the Jewish and Christian communities in support of the people and State of Israel.
The Israel General fought for Israel in its War of Independence — where he served at the Latrun (the Road to Jerusalem) and the southern front against the Egyptian army, receiving citations from the commanders and suffering wounds at both fronts. He also participated in the Sinai Campaign, the 1967 Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. He received an award from the President of Israel for distinguished service.
Shimon Erem spent three decades working tirelessly to build Christian support for Israel and the Jewish community throughout the US and in Europe. In 2002, he founded the Israel Christian Nexus to unite and mobilize the two communities in support of the people and State of Israel. The work of the Nexus is Shimon’s legacy to all people who love Israel.
Dan Hicks, Sr. Associate Pastor, The Church On The Way, said: “Patricia was the entry point into the Jewish-Christian conversation. She crossed back and forth between the two faith expressions seamlessly and with the greatest of ease and with the regard of all who knew her.
“She was a constant source of encouragement and with a dauntless faith that was her hallmark, she accomplished what seemed impossible for most.
“Her intentional effort to connect me with Shimon and Danielle Erem will be a point of gratitude on my part forever. For both became remarkable friends and they effortlessly engrafted me into the company of those with a life-long love for and commitment to Israel and increased my understanding of the G-d of both the Christian and the Jew.”
Hicks added, “I know she will forever enjoy her reward in heaven.”
Her long-standing friend, Jan Burmeister, said: “We might wonder why God took Patricia home, but she doesn’t. She had pain here but has no pain where she is now. She struggled here but has no struggles there. She is at this very moment at peace in the presence of God, and now we can look forward to her greeting us when our own skies unfold.
“God has given us a promise of comfort, and the gift of tears with which to express our tribute to the love we had for those who are no longer by our side. Let’s try not to say we’ve “lost” Patricia. When you lose something, you don’t know where it is or if you’ll ever see it again, and neither of those things are true for us, are they.”
She added: “Rest well, my dear friend, until we meet again!”
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Director, Interfaith Affairs at The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said, “I don’t think I can remember Patricia without a smile on her face and boundless energy in her step. Many years ago, when invited for the first time to a meeting of a group of evangelical Christians who supported Jews and the Jewish State, it was Patricia who took me under wing. Her presentation of her beliefs – which, at their core, could be reduced to unyielding confidence in the Word of G-d – were not only an eye-opener, but changed me for life. She continued for many years to be the point-person in building bridges between our two communities.”
Ari Bussel, a founding board member of the Israel Christian Nexus described Patricia Johnson as “a modern-day Disciple, a most devoted servant of the Lord Almighty, an angel not-in-disguise, [who] has graced us with her presence. A most unique gift we were given.”
He went on to say, “Patricia was not only a true friend, a fighter, a believer, a giant, a force of nature in a very frail human body; Patricia was a pillar of strength, a continuum-now-interrupted, a comforting, consoling, supporting and amazing friend.
“If there is one thing we can do, something in which Patricia believed in her whole body and heart and soul, it is to pray.”
Besides her work on behalf of the Jewish community, Patricia also ran a well-respected company called The Johnson Group, a full-service public relations agency, which has represented many Christian and Jewish non-profits, including: World Vision, National Coalition for the Restoration of the Judeo-Christian Ethic, D.A.R.E., Voices United for Israel, Shuva Israel: Return Israel Fund, Operation Blessing, Regional Center of Orange County, American Diabetes Association, and then Declaration Foundation.
A memorial service for Patricia Johnson will be held on Friday, June 17, 2016, at 11:00 AM at Mission Viejo Christian Church, 27192 Jeronimo Rd, Mission Viejo, CA 92692. Phone number: 949 465 1945. Many of her Christian and Jewish friends are expected to attend.
Her brother, Kenneth Johnson, has requested that donations be sent to the Junior Diabetes Foundation (http://diabetesfoundation.jdrf.com/info/jdrf/).
To see a video of Patricia Johnson speaking out for Israel, please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-zMcIzVUg8.
Photo: 1) Patricia Johnson with General Shimon Erem and Jan Burmeister. 2) Patricia with Israel’s Consul General Yaki Dayan. 3) Patricia with Dr. Jack Hayford. 4) Dan and Norma Wooding.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding. He is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for nearly 53 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren, who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and the author or co-author of some 45 books, the latest of which is a novel called Mary My Story from Bethlehem to Calvary (http://marythebook.com). Dan has a weekly radio show and two TV programs all based in Southern California. Before moving to the US, Dan was a senior reporter with two of the UK’s largest circulation newspapers and was also an interviewer for BBC Radio One in London.
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