Inner Circle


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

Golly gosh what a few days it’s been! I had a letter that informed me that I would be named in the Queen’s birthday honours list and that from Monday, I would be entitled to put the letters “AM” after my name. My daughter informs me that I am now officially a morning person. My theory is that the letters stand for “Amazing Mates”. Creating community with no “us and them” is my destiny toward which I move with my whole being. Anything that I’ve ever achieved has been a result of an effort by Amazing Mates. It could be quite misleading to pin a medal on my chest as if there was some kind of singular achievement.

I couldn’t accept an award that asserted individual achievement. If however this award is akin to the athlete that holds the flag in front of a team of athletes as they march into an Olympic venue, then I’m proud to be a leader of Amazing Mates and hold a flag of achievement and pride on behalf of such Amazing Mates.

So glory in this moment you amazing people. Our Board members are all busy people at the top of their professional trees and yet they have given their heart and soul to Wayside and every one of them, past and present, deserves honour. My most amazing team of colleagues, all of whom give themselves to the high cause of community with passion and stunning skill. Our front line workers who every day sit with people in their worst moments, looking for the beautiful sparks that happen when second chances are recognised and new life calls. The whole team who rejoices when one person achieves a small victory and who weeps when a battle is lost. Our 800 volunteers who give their time to be servants of others. The most astonishing talent of both staff and volunteers is their ability to see a person where almost everyone else sees a problem. My adorable Sunday congregation who share my deepest longings and who pause once a week to stop and be captured by the awesome. My amazing mates who live on the street and who know more about resilience than I’ll ever know. To those who have allowed me to stand with them at just the right time and have shared with me and showed me that grace can do what nothing else can do. I often say that I’ve never seen water turned to wine but I’ve seen a few winos turned into husbands and fathers. It is a never ending source of encouragement and inspiration. To you, our inner circle, who have taken time over the years to stop your busy life long enough to read a few paragraphs about what happens here by the Wayside. Our work isn’t for everyone but it certainly is done on behalf of everyone.

This is a good place to acknowledge my most amazing mate of all, Robyn, who has stood by my side for 43 years through good times and bad and embodied the quality by which we can use and measure the validity of the word, “loyalty”. My dear daughter who has absorbed and developed all of what is true and good in her mother. My beautiful granddaughters whose very presence brings me into the very present, taking my breath away and paralysing me with wonder. Some may worry that this honour might “go to my head” and I’ll admit that as a younger man it would have soothed my sense of vanity, but for the past six years my beautiful son has taught me that this life only lasts for five minutes and that I only have one minute left. His death and you might say, his presence with me since his death, has largely freed me from the grip of many things that I once held too tightly. On his deathbed I told him that we’d love his girls and that remains my highest ambition in life and my greatest joy. This exercise of being AM’d is lovely but knowing my end is just 60 seconds away has liberated me from the need for a round of applause.

The outpouring of goodwill toward me and toward Wayside has been surprising in its strength and its volume. I wish there was an adequate way to express appropriate thanks. Our beautiful board member and member of our congregation, Bob Ellicott, ex Attorney General, ex Minister for Many Things, ex judge, having met everyone and done everything, an old Methodist and young revolutionary; phoned me to congratulate me and rejoice in our common history. I said to him, “Bob, I’m a little concerned because I’m supposed be a follower of Jesus and he was never on the good side of the establishment. They never gave him a medal; indeed they crucified him.” Quick as a flash Bob said, “Just be patient, all in good time.” How funny is that?

At the end of this rather outstanding week, I’m grateful beyond words that you are part of this inner circle,


Rev Graham Long

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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