Inner Circle


Thursday, 10 December 2015

Dear Inner Circle,


Gosh it’s the maddest time of year. It’s a time of year that seems to amplify the best and the worst. One fellow called me aside this morning and told me a story of how his son found him after looking for years. You’d think this was going to be a happy story but tears flowed freely down his face. “Isn’t this good news?” I asked. “Look at me,” he said, “Is this anything worthy of finding?” He was undone by shame because he was living on the street. “My dear brother, I promise you that this kid of yours cares only that you love him. Love matters more than riches, more than status, more than anything. Just love your boy, find the good in him and he’ll find the good in you.”

An eight-year-old girl walked in yesterday with some care packages that she’d made for rough sleepers. Think about that for a minute. Another 10-year-old has called on some of his young friends and put together 200 care packages for people sleeping rough at Christmas time. Every time we turn on the television we only get bleak news but I remind you that there are some fine people in the world and some unbelievable kids. If you’re at our Christmas Day service on the street at 10.30am, I’m going to call some of these kids up front so you can see them and we’ll honour them.

At our Christmas Day Street Party last year, I happened to be standing at the top of the street when I saw a lady park her car and then toddle over to the party. I watched and it became clear she wasn’t a volunteer and she wasn’t meeting anyone. Eventually I sat down next to her at the table. “You know why I’m here?” she asked me and before I could answer she said, “Because I need to be”. I was on top of the world because this party is not a giant soup kitchen on Christmas Day, but a place of community so that no one need be haunted by loneliness on such a day. On the other side of the lady sat a woman who had been homeless for some weeks and was clearly struggling with the challenges that come when someone drops out of “normal” life. The two women got involved in a conversation that seemed to cover everything from the price of housing in Sydney to raising children. I reckon if we had no other wins that day, this encounter made it all worthwhile. But of course grace on the day was all around. Not only were people served with smiles and generosity, but by about 1pm there was a line of rough sleepers and community members dancing in the street. There were people in that line that on a normal day would have crossed the street just in order not to meet. What an achievement and what a joy!

Putting on a lunch for 800 people is no easy feat and as the rest of Sydney starts to wind down, we pick up the pace, to make sure that no-one misses out at this special time of year. To help us make our day a reality, we’re giving you the opportunity to again ‘Donate a Plate’ on behalf of yourself or a loved one. $25 pays for a Christmas lunch for someone who otherwise may not get one. Make a donation to Wayside on behalf of a friend, family member or colleague and in return for your donation, we'll post or email your loved one a beautifully-designed ‘Donate a Plate’ card. You can also donate a plate on your own behalf and we’ll recognise your contribution by displaying your name on the Wayside Christmas tree. Donate a Plate here.

Don’t forget the best op shops in this city are to be found at Wayside. Our Kings Cross, Bondi Beach and North Bondi op shops and all are floor to ceiling with unique gifts for your loved ones. I’ve been involved in op shops in one way or another for most of my working life and I can honestly say that you won’t find op shops as well run and full to the brim with quality clothing and jewellery as our Wayside op shops. You can ‘shop for good’ knowing that the money you spend is going straight back to Wayside to support the most vulnerable members of our community at Christmas time. Find out more here.

One last thing and I’m gone. We’re putting a new coffee table style book for next year. We’re doing lots of group photos for this book, including a shot of some of YOU - our inner circle. I’d love to have your face in our book. This may be difficult if you read this from Berlin or USA or even Perth but if you can get to Wayside in Kings Cross for 10am on Monday, I’d love to see you. The creator/designer of our book is Andrew Henderson and our photographer is Gary Heery. Monday 10am is just for readers of this Inner Circle. It’s a group shot and we’ll have you on your way again by 10.30am at the latest. If you’d like to come, email Laura Watts.

I’m sorry the note is so long this week and I thank you for being part of our inner circle,



Rev Graham Long AM

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


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



Get Involved