Inner Circle


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Dear Inner Circle,

What a week we’re having! The moments I love most at Wayside are those when you can’t tell who is a staff member, who is a volunteer and who is here looking for a shower or a cheap meal. Every Tuesday we have a group of volunteers who cook egg and bacon rolls all morning. Lots of locals look forward to Tuesday. For our anniversary this group decided they would beat their record of 100 egg and bacon rolls sold in one morning. Our volunteers dressed as eggs (I think the story could stop right there) and set up their BBQ outside. Other volunteers dressed as eggs and walked around the Cross urging people to buy a roll at Wayside. “Urging” is a bit of a euphemism for the activity I witnessed. Everyone got in on the act. I saw one former rough sleeper, who is now volunteer, "urging” people to buy one of our rolls. He is a tall, solid man and had his hair in a pony tail and hat on back to front. I was a bit afraid that some members of the public would hand over the wallets then call the cops. I’m glad people were dressed as eggs because it helped to make the point that we were having fun. Thankfully the locals were all in a good mood and no one took offence. The team sold 238 burgers with great rejoicing. I am rejoicing not for the burgers sold but for the moment of community with no 'us and them’. My granddaughters play a little game where they make eye contact with complete strangers and smile to see if they get a smile back. They call their game, “sweet and sour”. I want to thank the community of Kings Cross this week for being overwhelmingly sweet.

On Monday I was left in tears during a night of slam poetry at Wayside. I walked into the room tired and my expectations were low. From the first moment it was a cardiac arrest. There were educated voices alongside some with no education. There were clever and silly side by side; there was passion and humour and each contribution was accepted as a valuable contribution to the whole. The young woman who emerged the winner of the evening couldn’t take her prize home because she was sleeping rough. As she walked up to the microphone, even before she spoke it was clear that she battled a mental illness and thought it was going to be challenging. It was. The most profound sentiments were delivered with powerful articulation. This dear young woman has an extraordinary gift and you’d never know it or guess it unless you witnessed it. An older woman read her poem of her desperate days of addiction and the s*x work that funded it. I have her permission to share some of it with you.

As I watch myself in the mirror
I see her coming to life
My alter ego
The shameless one

I am starting to hate her
And my crazy double life
I’m more her than myself
And it crushes me inside

So many times this week I’ve been awestruck by the outpouring of goodwill by inspiring people. This amazing week will culminate in a church service and street carnival this Sunday. You are warmly invited. In the church service at 10am, Rev Bill Crews will share something of the early days here and Matt Noffs will pay tribute to his grandfather. There’ll be amazing music from the Honeybees and from Geoff Bullock. We’re cutting a cake and singing ‘happy birthday’ at 12 noon. Both Tanya Plibersek and Malcolm Turnbull will share that moment with us. The building will be open with staff and volunteers everywhere to explain all the things that Wayside does these days. Indira Naidoo will conduct a cooking demonstration, our bee keeping will be explained in our garden; there will be a room where you can dress in clothes appropriate to 1964 and have your photo taken; you can also have your photo taken with our angel wings in the lane; in the street will be a petting zoo for kids and a jumping castle; there will be food as always and generous servings of fun. I’d love to see you on Sunday.

Thanks for being part of our 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


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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