Inner Circle

 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Dear Inner Circle,

Minutes ago a man stopped me just to say how much he was looking forward to our Christmas Day Street Party. For the first time that I had noticed, his sleeves were rolled up and I couldn’t help but see his arms were disfigured by many hundreds of scars. Some of the cuts were so deep that he had clearly cut through muscle leaving deep ridges in what should have been a smooth arm in a man of his age. My eyes focused on his face but my heart focused on his arms. His lovely face didn’t advertise the pain manifested in his arms. His beautiful face was full of joy and anticipation for our Christmas Day. This face made all the preparation worth it. All the wrestling to get permission to shut the street, all the arrangements around rubbish collection and provision of outside toilets, all the meetings to make sure the supply of food closely matches demand on the day, all the recruitment of staff and volunteers, all the collection of food, all the making of cakes, finding of gifts, all the arrangements of every kind are worth it if this one man enters into the joy of the day and knows, perhaps on this one day, that he is special, doted on and always welcome. Like most people who are on a journey toward health, he’s more excited about how he can help, rather than what he might get. 

Along with the rest of the country our hearts are heavy because of the event in Martin Place this week that took the lives of some beautiful and innocent people. One of our staff was a school teacher of Katrina Dawson and we are bewildered at the scale of this loss for all who knew her. Likewise for the young man who managed the cafe, not yet even in the prime of his life. We also feel for the family of the man with the gun. The response of the city has generally been inspirational. The outpouring of grief for the victims has been spontaneous and deep and the #illridewithyou campaign has shown the best of this city. Premier Baird handled himself and the situation with distinction and none was more inspiring than our local Federal Member Malcolm Turnbull. We owe a debt of thanks to NSW Police and Ambos all who have trained to serve the public, this week with distinction.

On that very morning, Premier Baird along with the Minister for Health Jillian Skinner, Minister for Mental Health Jai Rowell and the NSW Mental Health Commissioner John Feneley were at Wayside launching a major reform for mental health in NSW over the next 10 years. It’s a good initiative that will place emphasis on giving people more support while in the community. It was an honour for Wayside to be the location for the announcement of this important shift in Government strategy. 

You know me well enough to know that I rarely ask for money. We constantly report on the great things we are doing and the wins frequently chalked up but the truth of the matter is that Wayside is still a ‘skin of your teeth” organisation. In addition to our Christmas Day ‘Donate a Plate’ campaign, we need to raise $180,000 this Christmas to ensure we can continue to provide essential programs and services for people in need. We are tens of thousands of dollars away from our minimum goal for this Christmas period and with only 15% government funding, any shortfall in donations will translate into real pain in the new year. Our governance is right and our work is best practice but there is no fat to endure any downturns in support. I write this in the hope that some readers who are in a position to support us have been holding back for some reason and I urge such readers to urgently choose this moment to empty your pockets and fill your heart with joy. You can make a donation here. I’ll admit to being a little anxious but I’ll keep my feet moving toward the destiny before us. I think we’re going to need some minor miracle to get across the line this year.

On the way in this morning, I was struggling to get around a young man who with a bottle of spirits in his hand, was having trouble standing up on the street. I’ve seen this fellow around but I don’t know his story. He began an angry drunken rave but I stopped him to tell him I was most upset. “Why are you upset Rev?” “Well,” (I was grateful he was giving me a chance to speak), “anyone looking at the both of us here would see you were clearly drunk and they’d say that, ‘you’ were failing. The trouble is that I know every failure is our failure and every win is our win. You are clearly not doing well but it’s our failure because we have not been able to get alongside of you. It appears to me like you believe you are on your own and it shouldn’t be that way.” To my surprise he said, “Rev, I’m listening with my ears and my heart”. I put my hand on his shoulder and invited him to come down to Wayside. I’ve not seen a sign of him yet. 

Thanks for another year filled with wonders. Thanks for being our inner circle,

Graham

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

www.revgrahamlong.com

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

Previous Inner Circles

2014

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

2013

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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