Inner Circle


Thursday, 3 March 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

I’ve never done this before but below is a note I sent to all staff this week. Several people suggested that this note would be a helpful insight for you, our inner circle. I hope this note provides insight into Wayside and how we deal with extraordinary pressure but also maybe this could be helpful for any family or any organisation that likewise might be living through hard times.

So here it is… and…

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


To the whole Wayside team,

Our way has been torrid lately. I was whinging a bit about my workload to Mon the other day and she told me about how someone had just projectile vomited on her. It put my whinge into perspective.

You’ll wonder if our way could get any more difficult after losing two people last week but I bring you more bad news today. Tammy died this morning. Some of you will know that Tammy, being transgender, was brutally bashed on two occasions before her death. I’m told her death is not directly the result of the bashings but what a dreadful week was the last week of her life. I know I’ve just delivered a deep wound to the hearts of many of you whose hearts were already heavy.

This week, more than ever, we need to show kindness to one another. We need to allow more room for wobbles than we might normally allow. Many of us are grieving. There is a massive blessing for us who do this work, and if we’re doing it right, there is a massive heartache too. Especially to Una’s team in the Community Services Centre but also to Mon’s team in the Aboriginal Project and all those with whom I’ve shared tears recently, thank you for your lack of professional distance and thank you for your abundance of professional love. You inspire us and your tears set off a chain reaction of love in the rest of us. You each build my faith more than if Jesus were to suddenly appear before me. Actually, in watching you work, embracing the tough stuff, engaging in fun and pain, in celebrating small wins and in shedding tears for our losses, Jesus does suddenly appear for me and I am reborn and filled with awe.

Be on the alert for one another. Remember that multiple tragedies can have a cumulative effect. I urge each manager to do something with your team that gives room to focus on that which is fun and that which is beautiful. The fun and the beauty are always with us so we don’t have to invent it, just make room for it.

Remember too that it was never our task to fix anyone. Our task is to be alongside and when such a meeting takes place, people will fix themselves. It is right that we should feel pain. It is not however the pain of failure. The sessions we have when tears flow are our finest hour. Many want to judge Sallie, Tammy, Paul and the many others I could name, but when many choose to judge, we do not. We knew these people and we loved them. For some, the only tears shed for their sake came from our Chapel and your offices. That makes Wayside a special place on this earth.

What shall we do? Are there better days ahead? Yes, yes, yes. Amazing days are just ahead. What shall we do? I suggest every one of us hug Una and thank her for the job she does for the world and for the rest of us. I suggest we hug Mon and thank her for the job she does for the world and for the rest of us. I suggest we find everyone on both these teams and give them a hug and thank them for all they do to make this world a better place. We should thank them for being affected and vulnerable and responsive. I’m not forgetting Day to Day Living nor our Youth team nor our Bondi team. All of our programs is where the human rubber meets the road and this is a good moment for all of us to express our thanks to every person in every one of our programs.

Wayside isn’t a monoculture that we project onto the world. We are not an explosive device that is aimed at the world. We are a group who knows that ‘meeting’ rather than ‘fixing’ is the way to a better world. It means we actually risk a fair bit. We are prepared to lose ourselves to some extent in order to be part of a community with no ‘us and them’.

I wouldn’t work anywhere else in the world for any amount of money. Thank you and look after each other this week.


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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

Previous Inner Circles


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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