Inner Circle


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

A woman sat so close to me in the café this morning that to even pick up my cup of coffee was awkward. “Do you have a job?” she asked. “Yes I have a job” I replied. “Do you have a car?” she asked. “Yes” I said, “I have a car”. “Do you have a wife?” was the next question. When I replied, “Yes, I’m married to a lovely woman” my interrogator suddenly lost interest and moved away.

Leslie is a person whose entrance into any room, warms it up. Every day of my life I’m in awe of the team of people who give their lives to serve others at Wayside. Leslie is a youth worker and as she walked in this morning, about ten people all lit up in some way or yelled out, “Hi”. One big boofy fellow got up and gave her a hug. The bloke sitting next to me turned and said, “That big bloke seems to get away with hugging women. I think it's because he’s old and big and he's like everyone’s grandfather. Some blokes” he said, “can’t get away with it because the women just know somehow that it wouldn't be ‘a thing’”. “So” I said, “if you hugged Leslie, would there be ‘a thing’”? He replied through a warm, wide smile, “It would definitely be ‘a thing’ and she’d know it and put me in my place.”

On her way to Wayside early in the morning our Marketing and Fundraising Manager Laura ended up anointing the face of a homeless man with her tears. It had been a cold night and the poor man had died right next to his park bench. There were other rough sleepers nearby who had not yet roused to discover their mate had departed this life. In an instant, Laura’s world changed from a brisk pace and a head organising the day to being paralysed by grief, confronted by the finality of death. This poor man was someone’s father and someone’s son and he died alone, cold and ignored. In a week where we consider politicians hiring helicopters at tax payer expense or when one politician’s expenses amounted to $800,000 for 12 months, it’s sobering to see where their much talking and little action finishes; people dying, cold and alone. Laura wrote beautifully of her day and it was published in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday. You can read the article here.

Some have read Laura’s article and phoned or e-mailed to ask how they might help. There is always something that can be done. If you have some spare blankets, bring them in, or if you can send sleeping bags or undies, towels or shampoo, it all helps. If you can make a financial gift, we’ll add all our energy to it to make sure it is applied to maximum effect for those who suffer the most. If you have nothing to give, there is still much you can do. When you pass a homeless person and you don’t have a coin, shake them by the hand and say “hello” and then be on your way. Politicians spent millions discussing homelessness to discover what Bill Crews or I could have told them for nothing and in 5 minutes. We can do better than this if we have a will to do it, and it can only do good if you express your views to your own Federal and State politicians and get this issue back onto their agendas.

Plato thought that democracy was a degeneration of polity in the same way that tyranny was a degeneration of monarchy. As we’ve witnessed the emergence of “Reclaim Australia” recently, it concerns me that we give all votes an equal value. Any student of history will know that the easiest thing in the world to organise is a hateful mob. Such mobs thrive on ignorance and fear. If you listen to the shrill voices, you’d think Muslims were soon to be in the majority in Australia instead of just being about 2% of the population. A mate who is a business man and an atheist told me of a time when he was doing business in a Muslim country and through circumstance found himself in a line up of men who were about to pray. He told me how strange it felt to kneel and place his forehead, the most exalted part of his body, to the ground. I said to him, “Don’t tell me you suddenly believed in God”. “Not at all” he replied, “but I was very moved by it and what I knew was that I wasn’t God”. Everything this man has ever touched has turned to success and you could see how this moment was both a struggle and a revelation. Go to a public park on any Saturday and Sunday and note how many family groups are Muslim. Especially notice how many of these groups have fathers who are playing with children and fully involved in the recreation. This country doesn’t need to be reclaimed, it needs to be reframed and we need all the help we can get from our Muslim brothers and sisters.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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