Inner Circle


Thursday, 3 November 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

“Hey Rev, I found my Mum.” I was looking into a face that couldn’t have been forty yet. It was what I call a “high mileage” face but with unmistakable beauty and character. Our eyes engaged from the first second of our meeting. This was a man who had looked for his mother for most of his life, having been given for adoption as a baby. Although he’d recently found her, she is dying. He discovered that he had three sisters. “She never gave any of them away. Just me!” he said. Every word seemed to hold both the joy of finding his Mum as well as the pain of her imminent loss. He couldn’t yet begin to understand why he was given up when there were other children who grew up with their mother. He was busting to ask her about how this all happened but instead he just asked if there was anything he could do for her. Her reply was that all she needed was to know that he would always be in the life of his own son. Her greatest fear would be that she’d caused injury that might sustain for generations.

How life is unleashed when we are not central to the story. The young fellow asked me to pray for his Mum. I have no idea what I said nor does it matter. We spent a moment where what mattered was, Mum. He knew I had no magic but he had freedom to be with me in a space without answers. There wasn’t an outcome in sight. I felt no necessity to find a prayer that would, “work” but bare hearts groaned together for life lost, for ground impossible to regain and for a lifetime of longing and love unexpressed and unfulfilled yet alive, fluttering and awake.

In the Opera House this week I witnessed the revelation of a star like has rarely been seen in that special place. Georgie Long-Spencer filled the place with her presence. To have not heard of this precious jewel is to confess that you haven’t yet fully lived. Actually, there was no need of singing as Georgie’s face filled the space with intimate warmth. There may have been other children involved; I think six hundred and ninety-nine of them. It was difficult to focus with full eyes. These were all children of our public schools and what talent; what promise; what beauty! What asset does this State possess that could be as valuable as our public schools? Surely we could cancel a submarine or two and use the funds to invest in our public schools. Is there any trust greater than that of a teacher? With the funds from the first submarine, I’d give every teacher a pay rise. With the second submarine, I’d create a fund for those special teachers who demonstrate overwhelming love for their subject area and whose energy proves to be contagious with the children in their care. I would then legislate for such outstanding teachers, so that every time a banker got a bonus, the teachers would get a bonus.

Having recently read “Ghost Empire”, I’ve been a bit of fan of Richard Fidler, so it was an honour to join him in his Conversation Hour this week. You can hear it here. I also had the honour of appearing with Jane Hutcheon on TV, One Plus One. You can check it out on iView here when you get a spare thirty minutes.

We’ve spent the last year pouring our hearts and souls into a new coffee-table book, simply called Wayside. It’s a triumph of community and a testament to the strength and diversity of the characters that call Kings Cross home – from those sleeping rough to some of our city’s richest residents. I’m pleased to let you know that it will land in selected bookstores on Monday and we’ll be sharing more details next week.

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


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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