Inner Circle


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

To sit in my office is sometimes an act of significant courage. A big strapping man sat with me this week and struggled to tell me of his childhood. He was brought up in a string of religious children’s institutions where fear and brutality were constantly present. Over the years he’s hated anything that had the mildest sniff of religion because it just wakes up memories of loathing. An ocean of resentful feelings filled the room and yet he was bewildered that he had come to a minister to talk and seek understanding. He told me at one point that in those years, most of the beltings he received were from ministers. He told me how he had come to a church service once with his socks turned down. It was against the rules and the minister thrashed him and sent him to spend the morning in the toilet. My heart broke. I could see the little boy as I was hearing the story.

I once would have tried to explain away the violence against children perpetrated in our culture and especially that of religious institutions. I used to tell myself that those who ran such places meant well or that the world was different then. But brutality is brutality no matter the ideology or theology of the brute. We’ve been shocked in recent years by a Royal Commission exposing our blindness to the sexual abuse of children, but as hard as it might be to contemplate, all of this was a subset of a more brutal history.

The good news is that the beautiful man who sat in front of me this week is beginning to wake up to the contradictions of his cancelled childhood and find a destiny that names the past brutality for what it really was. He’s not blaming himself anymore and he’s learning a love that has no fear and wishes no one ill. He’s putting distance between himself and the church for now even though some of his family still try to feed fear into him. They tell him that he’s losing his salvation when clearly, he’s gaining it. For the first time in a long life, he’s finding a faith and walking a path that to now, was unthinkable. I was stunned and honoured that he could talk to me and I hope we travel together for a long way ahead.

Yesterday walking into the building I saw a guy standing on the footpath that I think has been on the same spot for a few days. I walked up and asked if he was ok. “I’m waiting for me missus,” he said. “It seems like you’ve been waiting a long time. How late is she?” I asked. “Two days,” he said. This morning I saw him eating in the café and so I asked him if he’d made contact. “Yeah,” he said. “She’s in hospital with gallstones”. Most poor people have mobile phones, but not all. This man had no phone and no way of knowing why his partner was unable to leave a country town and meet him as arranged. I could see significant anxiety had left his face now that he knew what was happening.

The inner circle note didn’t go out last week due to technical issues. If you want to catch up on it, you can read it here.

Thank you so much for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


5 May: A place to belong

28 April: Lest we forget

21 April: I've seen into the abyss

14 April: Colourful language

7 April: Poetic licence

31 March: Happy in the Cross

24 March: Easter

17 March: A party mix

10 March: The intimacy of everything

3 March: An unusual look

25 February: He ain't heavy

18 February: Tears of laughter and sadness

11 February: Wisdom is a tricky business

4 February: A wave from The Wayside Chapel

28 January: Some long distance loving

21 January: No time for judgement


17 December: Last note for 2015

10 December: Sanity Clause if coming to town

3 December: It's all about the presence

26 November: The joy of not knowing

19 November: The curse of perfectionism

12 November: To speak is to act

5 November: My cup runneth over

29 October: Prophet and loss

22 October: Finding yourself in a magical team

15 October: A silly question

8 October: Surprised by the joy

1 October: Being dead right

24 September: A day by the Wayside

17 September: It's a gold rush

10 September: The psychology of onions

3 September: Life comes from without

27 August: Surprised by the beautiful

20 August: Light shining through the cracks

13 August: A matter of balance

6 August: Recognising a gift

30 July: Your weakly note

23 July: 'A thing' from the Wayside

16 July: The future is calling

9 July: In love with some Dame

2 July: Better days ahead

25 June: Something funny, something beautiful

18 June: Seeing what's there

11 June: Amazing mates

4 June: There's a time and a place

28 May: The weight and the joy of being a neighbour

21 May: You're invited

14 May: Laughing, lying and loving

7 May: The awesome in the ordinary

30 April: Wayside light

23 April: Priceless gifts, freely given

16 April: Good news from the Wayside is great news

9 April: Awesome

2 April: Easter by the Wayside

26 March: Thankful for little things

19 March: A few minutes in the cross

12 March: Seeing what isn't there

5 March : A tour like no other

26 February: Tough love

19 February: Puffing or building

12 February: The two shall become two

5 February: Chest pains

29 January: Shear joy

22 January 2015: Fully alive

15 January 2015: Blessed interruptions

8 January 2015: A glimpse of glory


18 December 2014: Christmas hat in hand

11 December 2014: A little season of goodwill

4 December 2014: There was nothing silent about that night

27 November 2014: It's not about feeling better

20 November 2014: Gathering Moss

13 November 2014: Love the land, love the people

6 November 2014: The power of presence

30 October 2014: Paralysed by presence

23 October 2014: The joy of sight

16 October 2014: The best medicine

9 October 2014: Who would have guessed?

2 October 2014: There's no such thing as a terrorist

21 August: Saving souls

14 August: Squeaking out

7 August: A time for turning

31 July: You're okay

24 July: Happy tears

17 July: Let's aim higher

10 July: Gristle and good

3 July: The joy of not knowing

26 June: If not now, when? If not me, who?

12 June: Longing for riches

5 June: When you least expect it

22 May: Finding home

15 May: Flying

8 May: Tests, triumps and tissues

1 May: Skuse the French

24 April: Lifting the curtain

17 April: Collective love

10 April: Cardiac arrest

3 April: Awe struck

27 March: You're invited to something special

20 March: Rather a prohet than a loss

13 March: It's all happening at the wayside

6 March: Love makes all the difference

27 February: What goes around

20 February: The joy of being empty handed

13 February: Loving the growth spurts

6 February: Mighty glad to be back by the wayside

23 January: Some criminals have class

16 January: Wonderful surprises

9 January: Ready, set


19 December: Thanks for an awesome year

12 December: Mission and wishin'

5 December: The ups and downs and all is well

28 November: Kissed by the community

21 November: Our cup runneth over

14 November: A revelation from wayside

7 November: When excrement happens

31 October: I am therefore I think

24 October: We are surrounded by heroes

17 October: When you least suspect

26 September: A wayside wobbly

19 September: Knowing a gift

12 September: Advancing at the retreat

5 September: A little dose of good

29 August: Fighting with a feather

22 August: The boom is just beginning

15 August: True riches

8 August: Small is beautiful

1 August: Sensitive people miss all the best views

25 July: A whole lot going on at wayside

18 July: Kings Cross a place of courage

27 June: Holy ground

20 June: You cannot take what can only be given



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