Inner Circle


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

Walking out of the building late this week, a young bloke yelled out, “Where you off to now Rev?” Feeling a bit overloaded, I yelled, “I’m off to drown my sorrows in alcohol!” “Aww good plan Rev,” he said. I turned back and said, “Seriously, I’m just off to another meeting.” He said, “Seriously, the first plan is better!”

Gold beyond calculation is deposited in the people on the Wayside team. The unromantic work of sitting alongside people in their worst moment is the kind of thing that most people would engage in perhaps just a few times in their life. But it is a part of our every day, every hour, every moment. Working at Wayside isn’t for everyone but we can be thankful for the living treasures that do work here on behalf of everyone. As we approach the end of another year, my voice chokes and my fingers stop over the keyboard as I ponder the unmeasurable kindness delivered in countless small acts. The staff and volunteers in our café and on the front desk. Angels all. Our staff and volunteers in the Aboriginal community who will be marching this weekend as their hearts burn about the issue of black deaths in custody. I’m in awe. The Twilight team who have turned our most difficult times into our most effective. Amazing. The people who work in our mental health program; so careful, so sensitive, so purposeful. Our ‘pathways’ people who achieve miracles in helping people’s feet to move. Our facilities team in the never ending job of cleaning and maintenance; some of these folks are human wonders who have stepped out of the deepest hole to find their way to proper employment. For those who have pioneered new services at Bondi, including those working in a cutting-edge way on physical health issues such as exercise and diet. You should be the talk of the health system as you show how effective healthcare can be delivered from the footpath. Our youth workers who walk the street at night and intervene to get kids home or to safer places. People are alive who might well have been lost to us because of your calm, laid back, informal way of caring. Our marketing team and our amazing support team. Just wow! My fellow pastors Graham at Bondi and Jon at Kings Cross. The real deal. We are out of our depths but learning together. Managers and my Executive team. I count it the crowning glory of my life to work with such people as you. Thank you for knowing me and loving me still. None of us claim to be fine examples of anything. All of us play a necessary and significant part and yet we seek only to live lives where our mission is central. Finally, our treasure is not in the bank but in the hearts of people who recognise that community making is often not best delivered by government. So many people love what we do and dig deep into their pockets to make it happen. Our donors are awesome.

The Australian tradition to ‘bring a plate’ to an event is alive and well at Wayside. Many of our visitors have no home or family to share Christmas with so we try to make up for it by bringing a plate for them, or rather ‘donating a plate’ on their behalf. Your donation can provide a meal, or an entrée, to someone who wouldn’t otherwise have much to look forward to on Christmas Day. Each year The Wayside Chapel puts on a Christmas Day Street Party for some of our nearest and dearest who may not have any nearest and dearest of their own. Christmas lunch is served and Santa makes an appearance to hand out presents. There are also carol singers, a DJ, face painting, and activities for children. People from all walks of life – homeless, parents with young children, neighbours, recovering addicts and Wayside staff – celebrate Christmas Day as though they were the closest of families. It truly is a community of no ‘us and them’ and demonstrates all that we are. Of course, it takes more money to run than we have and we need your help. If you’re up for it, please ‘donate a plate’. I can promise you it will be money well spent. You can donate here.

Chatting this week with our beloved Bob Ellicott, QC and ex Attorney General in Fraser’s government, was a joy. We shared old ‘court stories’, he from the perspective of being one of this countries most treasured constitutional lawyers and me from the old days when I had to appear in every juvenile matter for the welfare authority in South Australia. There was a fair bit of background noise in the room and I had to almost put my ear to Bob’s mouth to maintain the conversation. He said, “Some people tell me that I’m softly spoken.” “Oh Bob,” I said, “You are the most softly spoken bloke I know and even in ideal conditions, I miss half of what you say.” Suddenly his eyes lit up as if a long-awaited piece of a puzzle had been found. “So that’s why I can’t get through to you!” I love this bloke. In a meeting recently, he called me a ‘control freak’. Afterwards I went to him and said, “Bob, surely I’m the gentlest man you’ve ever met, how could you say I’m a ‘control freak’?” “That’s how you do it!” he said with a loving smile.

My cup runneth over.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


PS. We just released our Annual Report for 2015/16 and we look back on another wonderful year. I invite you to read a copy here and take glory in the achievements.

Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


1 December: Holy Ground

24 November: Opening Presence for Christmas

17 November: On Our Best Behaviour For a Day

10 November: A Seismic Shift

3 November: Outcomes by Accident

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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