Thursday, 25 July 2013
Dear Inner Circle,
The winter months add a degree of misery to homelessness that amounts to more than mere cold weather. Yesterday I sat in our cafe for a while and on one side of me a woman showed me the pamphlets she'd just been given by the hospital. She is shortly to go onto dialysis and needs to consider what form of treatment will suit her best. I know this woman quite well but had no idea she had such a serious medical issue to face. My son used to do his dialysis while he was driving his van as he worked as a courier. Nothing was going to stop him providing for his family. I can feel the weight of what is about to happen to this dear lady and I tried to give her my full attention but on the other side of me a woman was speaking to me in a raised anxious voice. Her words came so quickly that it sounded like a machine gun at my side so I had no choice to look around to her. My annoyance melted in a millisecond as I looked into a face contorted with pain. My look didn't slow the pace of the words and although my heart was heavy for her, she was talking at me rather than to me. Sitting opposite was a man who was also talking without reference to the two conversations already taking place. This too is a beautiful man and from a face filled with pain he was saying, "I've got three voices telling me to rob a bank and kill people. I need help right now, Graham." By simple eye contact and a suggested movement of my eyes, he saw Una, our Senior Community Worker, and he moved toward her. There could be no safer hands in the world for him and I quietly thanked God that Una is part of our team. The machine gun, whose face was contorted with pain and anxiety, suddenly got up and walked away swiftly as if she never expected to be heard. Someone jumped straight into her seat and said, "Rev, can you lend me $2 till tomorrow?"
To celebrate my new book, we’ve got a couple of launches coming up. I’m doing a media launch next Thursday and then on Sunday, 4 August at 11.30am, we’re hosting a community launch and I’d love for you to come. This launch is taking place at The Wayside Chapel in our Community Hall and it’s open to everyone – our visitors, volunteers, neighbours and supporters. If you’d like to come, please RSVP to Guy Cooper. Don’t forget that you can still purchase signed copies of my book here. From your purchase, 30% of the RRP will go directly to Wayside.
For the rest of this year we're holding, once a month, on a Sunday evening, an event in the Imperial Hotel in Paddington. I'm cheekily calling these things, "Thank God I'm not religious." There is no fundraising element to the night and it is not a promotion of Wayside in any way and there is no charge to attend. It is an event designed simply to create community. We're advising people to come for 6pm and organise some food at the Imperial. At 7pm there'll be a guest speaker followed by Q and A. The idea is to make connections, enjoy some food and do some interesting talking. At the first event on Sunday, August 11, I will speak on the topic, "There's no such thing as a single human being". Numbers will be limited by the size of the space at the Imperial so if you'd like to be a part of such an event, please book your place by emailing Guy Cooper.
We are looking for someone to join Wayside as Employment Pathways Project Officer. The role involves supporting visitors to move towards employment-related goals. If you’re passionate about helping people find the right vocation and you have some experience related to recruitment, employment placement or vocational education/training, we’d love to hear from you. You can find more information here.
Last night we launched our Deck of Dreams project. This project was inspired by our own Jen Lee and it is designed to help people imagine a better day. The Deck of Dreams helps people with mental health issues to share their dreams and stretch their imaginations for wonderful things and in the process, make great connections. It was a wonderful night in our comfortably full community hall. You can buy a Deck of Dreams for $19 here. Thank you Jen, Bec, Alan and all the participants who shared their dreams and catered for last night.
Gosh its all happening…thanks for being part of our inner circle,
Thanks for being part of this inner circle,
Rev. Graham Long
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
Click here to listen to podcasts of past Inner Circle's, aired on ABC 702's 'Afternoons with James Valentine'
Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter if you have an account; @waysidepastor
Previous Inner Circles
Thursday, 18 July: Kings Cross a place of courage
Thursday, 27 June: Holy ground
Thursday, 20 June: You cannot take what can only be given