Inner Circle


Thursday, 21 January 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

Walking past our front door just a few minutes ago, a woman put her arms out, inviting me to embrace her. I put my arms around the woman and a rat crawled up her back and stood on her shoulder with it’s gaze fixed on me. Saint Frances talked to the animals and on occasions, so do I, but I suspect our message is not the same. I was shocked to the point of being unable to move my arms. I wanted to flick this rat on the nose and say, “That is for the plague of 1349!” but alas I was paralysed and it looked like an animal with no sense of history.

January has been crazy. Actually, every January is nuts. It could be that over-spending, over-eating and over-drinking is bad for your sanity but for whatever reason, we seem to work at full speed at this time of year. I pay tribute to all of our amazing teams but particularly to our Community Services Centre teams in Kings Cross and Bondi, to our fabulous Twilight team, and with special mention of our Aboriginal Project team who do an awesome job in the most demanding context, all year, every year but especially in January.

Some moments in our lives transcend time. If you’ve ever asked a young person in love to make sure they are home by a certain time, you’ll know well that love does not happen in time but time happens in love. A watch is of no use to someone who is in love. Time stood still for us yesterday when we held a funeral for a man who lived and died a life that was almost unnoticed. The man had no family and he was so quiet that few even recognised him even by sight. So we stopped our lives for a short while to remember the man and to remember that his life was as significant as the richest celebrity on earth. Only one person present knew the man enough to call him a friend. The others who attended were beautiful spirits who just believed that every person deserves a dignified farewell. I fell in love with those who came to shed a tear and pay their respects for a life they never knew. We pondered Jesus saying, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first” and smiled at the thought of Kerry Packer or David Bowie trying to get a selfie with our man as he passes to the head of the queue. We held hands as I said the benediction and the one fellow who knew the man said, “You people are priceless.”

This year Wayside is once again entering a float in the Mardi Gras. We love to show our support for the LGBTQI community and we couldn’t think of a better way to demonstrate our love for our LGBTQI brothers and sisters than to take to the streets of Sydney with a fabulous float. The parade is on Saturday 5 March so there isn’t a lot of time for preparation. We’re looking for people who’d like to be involved with us. Our theme this year is “Soaring Together” and our Wayside heart and wings will feature prominently as we walk and dance with our LGBTQI community. Our float will be a team from our street dwellers, our staff and our volunteers. You’ll never know who is who – it will be a community of no ‘us and them’. We are looking for walkers, a dance troupe and have room for some to travel on the Wayside bus. We’re also seeking volunteers to help with costumes, float decoration and hair and make-up. Spots on our float are for everyone – you don’t need to be a member of the LGBTQI community. You can find more information here or express your interest to Eimear Elkington.

It’s nice to be back in the swing of engaging with you, our inner circle. Our Christmas could not have been better. The biggest, deepest, widest and highest thank you to all who donated to our Christmas Appeal to keep our café running or who donated a plate to make our street party possible. The Prime Minister showed up to our party and he got such a warm welcome that I thought I might lose control of the service that preceded the lunch. In a brilliant move, he just stepped into our choir and sang Christmas carols with us. When he spoke, I think he blew us all out of the water. Along with a big team of volunteers, the PM helped set up the street for the party. Again this year, we had old people and young, rich and poor, sick and well, dancing in the street together. My heart soars at the thought of the most unlikely conger line in the world passing down Hughes Street.

I jump into 2016 with confidence because few, if any, organisations have an inner circle like this one.

Thank you for being part of this inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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