Inner Circle


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

“Hey, Papa, one of my friends got into a lot of trouble today,” said my 8-year-old granddaughter as I met her at the school gate.
“Really,” I said, “Why did she get into trouble?”
“She was accidentally talking,” she said.
“‘Accidentally’ talking? Baby, you should consider a career in the law.”
“What?” she asked!
“Darling, please say these words for me, ‘Accidentally, Your Honour’”
She repeated the words and I said, “That’s it, I’m saving for a wig and gown”.
My girl looked at me like she recognised this as one of those grandfather moments for which there isn’t an explanation and that it wouldn’t be worth her energy to try and help her old grandfather make any sense.
“Can we get an ice cream?” she asked.
It was my turn to pull a facial expression, waiting for the ‘magic word’ that unlocks the heart and wallet of all grandfathers.
A beautiful little face looked into mine and after pause she said, “Your honour”.

There’s been lots of talk around the SBS program Struggle Street this past week or so. I’m probably not the greatest authority on this subject because most of the people we work with at Wayside, aspire to Struggle Street. The thought of having a roof over your head and the struggle to pay rent and find food and clothing, sounds like luxury to most around here. I saw the program and warmed quickly to each of the characters whom I thought were revealed in their vulnerable but wonderful humanity. I thought SBS made a pretty good job of it however some who had some serious misgivings are far better placed than I to make a judgement and I defer to them. Jon Owen and his wife Lisa choose to live in Mount Druitt where they raise their young family. Jon and Lisa run something that is akin to Wayside but it all happens in their family home. They are inspiring and probably a little crazy. I’m sure they are crazy in the same way that Ghandi or Mandella were crazy. They are proof that angels walk among us. Jon has more courage in his little finger than I have in my whole body and his voice is worthy of our respect. You can read his view on the matter here.

A lovely old thing stopped me at our front door. A softly spoken person with slurred speech is a challenge for me at any time. It took me a while to hear that she was saying, “I need to turn back to the Lord”. I tried to tell her that she wouldn’t have to turn very far because the Present One was always present. Her desire to be more alive was a heavenly desire. Before we exchanged more than a sentence or two another person walked up and interrupted us. “Wow,” I said to the one interrupting, “you look really good”. “Yeah,” she said, “I haven’t used for about a month”. Well, the lady who wanted to turn to the Lord just heard the funniest thing she’d ever heard uttered in her life. The size of the lie that her friend just told me had her literally rolling around our front patio in helpless laughter. “You may have just told me a massive fib, but your friend here was feeling pretty low and you’ve just brought her to life”. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

About 100 people gathered for the launch of our Humans of Kings Cross photographic exhibition the other night. There are 30 portraits hanging in our community hall that are the work of the extraordinary photographer, Katherine Williams. I took some time this morning to do a tour of the exhibition on my own. I stayed in front of each image long enough for them to reach me and call me out of the bubble I was stuck in when I walked in today. I walked out a different man from the hall. I can’t really name the difference except to say no psycho-babble would come close to naming it. I can understand why some cultures are sensitive about photography and reluctant to have their ‘spirit’ captured in an image. I could almost say to each image, “You complete me”. Each one brings something to me and causes me to learn something about me that I never knew until I stood in awe of these faces. If you’d like to learn more about you than you thought you knew, come and visit the exhibition in the month of May and find yourself in the most unlikely places and faces. Click here for opening times.

Yesterday I attempted to walk into our cafe when confronted with a young but sickly looking fellow. It took a moment for me to recognise that this was a fellow who stole from me some years ago. I know his deadly struggle with addiction and I care nothing for what he stole. He only took stuff and I have an abundance of stuff. I thought I might get a sorrowful speech or even a request for money but all I got was a wordless embrace. The embrace lasted a little longer than was comfortable but I recognised a significant moment. He released me and I walked away and somehow I knew, a wound had been healed for both of us.

On Friday 22 May we're holding another of Rob's Tours, an evening tour that goes into the nooks and crannies of Kings Cross to help people understand what it's like to live on the streets of Sydney. We still have 13 spots available to come on the tour with Rob, you can find out more and book here.

This is a note on the run this week but with a full dose of gratitude that you are part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long

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


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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