Inner Circle


Thursday, 9 March 2017

Dear Inner Circle,

“Grandad! Hey Grandad!” A voice was calling me from across the road when I walked into the building this morning. I get called lots of things but rarely, “Grandad”. I abandoned my journey into the building and walked across the road. A rather young woman stared at me as if I should know her. “Look at my face,” she said. An awkward moment followed as I wondered whether to look surprised to see this face finally recognised or whether to be honest about my complete lack of recognition. “See,” she said, “I’ve had a shower and put on some make-up.” “Ah,” I said, deciding to fake it, “You’re looking good.” She went on to explain that she’s only been a couple of days out of a long rehabilitation program and she was full of optimism of a path ahead, free of drugs. I could easily share the joy of this achievement without faking it and I stressed how helpful I thought it would be if the young woman could speak with our Pathways Officer Mandy, who is the world’s best at helping people move from thinking about better paths to actually walking on better paths.

Our growing team of supporters never cease to amaze me. This week we brought on another ambassador to Wayside’s ranks, the fabulous Elizabeth Wymarra. Elizabeth has been a passionate supporter of The Wayside Chapel for many years, and grew up just down the road from us in Woolloomooloo. She has a diverse background as a writer, director, producer and actor across film and TV (including writing and acting for ABC’s AACTA award winning show, Black Comedy) and for many years has also been a youth worker in the community services sector. She is passionate about Aboriginal issues, human rights, and creating community. We’re thrilled to have her joining our other Wayside Ambassadors, David Wenham, Claudia Karvan, Indira Naidoo, Kylie Kwong and Jason Grant – each one of these people are captured by the awesome vision of creating community with no ‘us and them’ and it’s an honour to have their support.

Sitting opposite me was a fellow yesterday, clearly under a dark cloud. His shoulders were stooped and his eyes were mostly downcast even though he was dressed well and looked to be a fit man. He told me how he’d struggled to feel better about himself but that nothing was working. He said that he’d “tried being kind to people,” but it left him drained. He even said that he’d “tried prayer but that didn’t work either.” I couldn’t help but laugh. It wasn’t entirely appropriate or sensitive but it was nevertheless one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a while. In due course it became obvious that he had good reason to be in a season of grief. Actually, I’d say it would have been most odd if he felt ok after the losses he’d recently suffered. But I laughed because to be kind to someone in order that they make you feel better is not kindness. And to pray so that God will become a means to some end, isn’t prayer. Kindness is kindness when there are no strings and prayer is prayer when words run out and you want nothing. My friend was greatly relieved to hear me use the word “grief” which made a penny drop. Having a familiar word to use gave him permission to be ok about feeling poorly. He forgave my inappropriate laughter and gave me permission to share this story.

After the Mardi Gras last Saturday, we gathered for another day by the Wayside. A group was exchanging the kind of banter that seems to start most days, when four naked men walked up the road. They stopped and chatted with some of our folks as if there was nothing remarkable about four stark naked men taking a walk up the road. The encounter was friendly and brief. One old fellow with a dry sense of humour had not been part of the banter but rather observed quietly as if he’d just watched the landing of aliens. He noticed that I was watching him so he smiled and said, “We’re a broad church!”

Thanks for being part of this inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


9 March: Permission To Be Human

2 March: Every Life Celebrated

23 February: Surprised By Joy

16 February: Wayside Isn't A Place, It's An Activity

9 February: Heavy With Meaning

2 February: The Danger of Stability

26 January: Australia Day

19 January: Wow

13 January: The Joy of Being Useless


22 December: Miracles in the Messy

15 December: A Season for Demons

8 December: Soul Restorer

1 December: Holy Ground

24 November: Opening Presence for Christmas

17 November: On Our Best Behaviour For a Day

10 November: A Seismic Shift

3 November: Outcomes by Accident

27 October: Wow! Look How Far You've Come

20 October: Moving Toward Our Destiny

13 October: A Tribute

06 October: Risk and Sacrifice

29 September: Wisdom in Unconventional Places

22 September: It's What We Do at Wayside

15 September: The Joy of Being Wrong

8 September: Turning Toward Love

1 September: The Power of Weakness

25 August: Words as weapons

18 August: Wattle become of us

11 August: Precious and fragile

4 August: A wave from Wayside

28 July: Understanding bedlam

21 July: Time for some straight talking

14 July: Holy ground

7 July: Sowing in tears, reaping with shouts of joy

30 June: A bit of banter about Bondi

23 June: My cup runneth over

16 June: Injecting some joy

9 June: At the end of the line

2 June: Lots of perspiration and a touch of inspiration

26 May: Swimming against the tide

19 May: Every 7 days but not weakly

12 May: I once was blind

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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