Inner Circle


Thursday, 4 August 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

Sometimes the impossible confronts my eyes, defying me to explain it or daring me to be arrogant enough to explain it away. It’s not easy to stand before the impossible, baffled and in awe. A man came into my office just now to offer me a slice of apple cake. Perhaps this doesn’t sound like a moment that could arrest the progress of time, but it was. The man was wearing a long apron and a white beret. This fellow is our baker. He’s learning his craft with the help of some of our fabulous staff and he’s thriving as he discovers himself doing well. I said, “I can’t begin to tell you how inspired I am to receive this cake.” “Well,” he said, “You say often on Sunday that, ‘God says you’re ok’ and no one has ever told me that I’m ok.” This fellow spent many years living on the street and perhaps in the order of twenty years fighting an addiction to heroin. We’ve shared the ups and downs of what is a daily struggle and broken our hearts as his story is revealed. It’s a story of an intelligent man who never had much but lost everyone and everything in life. Too humble to fight for a place in the world and too sensitive to blame his losses on others, he lived the life of a hermit, his only shelter and only comfort to be found in drugs. What I just saw was a man engaged; engaged with this community, engaged with life and moving on a path to health. Awesome, bewildering, impossible but real.

Here is an offer you’ll get from nowhere but Wayside! A lovely bloke involved in our program for people living with long-term mental health issues, is putting on his own exhibition. Pee Wee is a treasured part of this community and he’s always had a thing about pillows. He makes them and carries a collection wherever he may be. We are holding a “Pillow Exhibition” at Wayside Monday 8 August from 5pm to 7pm. There will be no pillows for sale and we won’t be asking anyone to part with any money for any reason. We want to honour Pee Wee because we love him. Call in if you have some minutes to spare and to catch the love of pillows perhaps, but especially, our love for Pee Wee. There is every chance that Pee Wee himself will sing a song or recite some poetry. We promise no dignitaries, no celebrities, no lectures, no fuss. It will be a night when we honour a good man. We promise no value for money; we promise nothing that might lead to excitement or inner peace; we promise only that you might remember that a city is judged by how it treats its poorest, and character is revealed in generous acts that cannot yield any return. It will be fun and very Wayside.

An urgent phone call came from a man suffering a, “religious emergency”. He was down in the café and I couldn’t help but stop what I was doing to discover what a religious emergency might be. An elderly alcoholic man told me that he’d accidentally touched a black man this morning and he wondered if he might have been rendered unclean or in need of prayer. “Mate!” I said with a tone that was confronting but full of compassion and sadness, “You do know that Jesus wasn’t a white man?” Genuinely bewildered he eventually said, “But I’ve seen photos!” “My funny old sausage, we’ve only had photography since about 1850. I promise you, Jesus must have looked like Klinger from MASH.” He shuffled away saying, “Ahhhh” but I think I only deepened the religious emergency.

My heart aches for America. This week they passed a bill in Texas ensuring people could carry concealed guns on all their college campuses. Various students gave testimony to how they feel safer knowing that there could be so many gun-toting students. All of us can at times turn people that ought to be friends into enemies, but to turn them into targets? The election process over there was always bewildering to me but this time around has taken my confusion to a whole new level. I’m nobody in the scheme of things but it looks like I’m watching an empire go down in history. Momentous times and so much at stake. Australia owes much to America and for a long time we counted the American way and approach to things as something to be unthinkingly copied, but dear God above surely now is the time to pull back. How could any leader over there arrest the headlong plunge into “everyone for themselves” and “rich is right”. America has many enemies but it looks like most of them put their hand on their heart when they sing the national anthem. If it all implodes, we’ll have to erect a memorial that reads, “We take it to be self-evident that all men are created isolated.” Our world so needs an outbreak of love.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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