Inner Circle


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

First thing in the morning a man was playing a fiddle out the front of our building. I wish there were words that could deliver the shock contained in that sentence. This man didn’t just play; he played in a way that caused everyone – staff, volunteers and visitors – to dance with delight. The power of music is not often witnessed in such raw form. There were no backing tracks and no other instruments involved, just the fiddle and the sound of the man’s foot thumping on the ground. For a while I sat next to him, mesmerised by his skill and enthralled by the transformation he brought to people who had every intention of getting on with their day until they were arrested by joy. After playing one piece I told him that I wished I could pay him to sit and work his magic all day, every day. He said, “I’d be happy if you could give me a free meal”.

Later in the morning the Enigma Quartet set up and played in our cafe. The musical overdose was a bit hard to believe. Enigma is a group of young women who are masters of their musical craft who play classical style music. Even people who have no taste for that style of music decided to find a chair in the cafe and let the music sink into their bones.

A young woman just walked out of my office, who today is celebrating 5 years in recovery. I knew her in her years of addiction when nothing mattered to her more than getting the next hit. I remember nursing her newborn baby with a heavy heart as I pondered what might be ahead for this little boy. The little boy was removed but today, he’s back with his Mum. The woman is married to a lovely man now and she’s working full time, keen to help others who are on the journey that she left behind. Every time I see her, she catches my breath. Yesterday she allowed us to share her “before and after” shot on Facebook. Check it out here if you want to be blown away in a beautiful way.

First thing this morning I sat for a little while out the front of Wayside. The bloke I sat next to asked, “Are you a recovering alcoholic mate?” We'd never met and I didn’t want to embarrass him. “I never feel far removed from the dangers of alcohol” I said, “but I don’t drink much”. A rather lovely face was looking into mine. He said, “I’ve been clean for 6 days and they help me here with support and with a shower and some clothes.” We shook hands and I congratulated him and told him I hope to celebrate day 7 with him tomorrow.

I had a text message at 5.30am this morning from our own dear Laura who had reached Machu Picchu together with Geoff, Jane, Alick, Josh, Amy and Katherine. These folk took this trek for the purpose of raising funds for Wayside. The text message told me that it had been much harder going than anyone anticipated. They’d had rain, hail, snow; they’d been soaked to the bone and all their stuff was sopping; they had to turn back at times when the way ahead was too dangerous, and the way back looked impossible enough. Gosh there are some lovely people in the world and this group, although suffering a good deal, are happy because they’ve found strength in one another and because they know that their effort will make a difference to many people that they’ll never know. They would love nothing more than to find they’d raised even more funds, and you could make their return a blow out of joy by donating here.

Did you ever play “touch you last” when you were a kid? I played that game recently with some Sudanese kids, although they say “Soombalook” as they tag you and then run away. It’s the only word I know in the Dinka language. It’s not a big vocabulary but it’s a handy word to know when in the company of beautiful Sudanese children.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle and Soombalook!


Rev Graham Long

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

Want to receive the Inner Circle directly into your inbox every Thursday? Sign up here.


Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter if you have an account; @waysidepastor

Previous Inner Circles


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



Get Involved