Thursday, 6 March 2014
Dear Inner Circle,
People collude to build each other up and they collude to keep each other down. To move from self destruction to life takes a lot more than a decision and some will power. Every relationship needs to be reworked. Where there has been collusion to destroy, sometimes relationships must be ended or at least confronted in ways that are at best difficult and at worst, dangerous. Any real moment of turning must have social impact. There is no such thing as private reformation. One of our worst street drinkers turned toward life a couple of years ago. He went from being a street dweller to volunteer at Wayside. His drinking buddies expected that he would pass them free food from the cafe and act as 'their man on the inside'. The worst abuse I’ve ever heard was directed against this man by his old 'friends'. They threatened his life and the lives of his children. They never missed an opportunity to pour out the most awful judgements against a man who was determined to make a new life for himself. On Tuesday of this week the man was once again confronted by one of his most vocal critics. It happened on the strip in Kings Cross while he was on his way to volunteer at Wayside. The drunk, whose mouth is normally full of venom, placed his hand flat on the rib cage over the heart of his former friend and said, “I honour you and I wish I was you.”
One of the sweetest men to ever have lived on the street called in this morning. Our team worked for months to find him accommodation and several placements quickly broke down. Our Community Services team and our Day to Day Living team could have easily given up and accused this man of willing his own destruction. I heard not one word of judgement except in my own head. Finally a hostel that is run by the Salvation Army turned out to be the perfect answer. The lovely old sausage sat at the front of our building with a smile that filled the street. I didn’t need to ask how he was doing but I loved to hear all about the place and how being valued and cared for has turned his life around. Thank God for the Salvos.
We're starting to ramp up for our 50th celebrations in April this year and we'd love for you to get involved with our Biggest Birthday Bash. You're invited to help celebrate 50 years of creating community by hosting a birthday party in honour of The Wayside Chapel. You can do it with your friends or family at home, colleagues at work or with your fellow schoolmates and raise funds so that we can continue to be there for those who fall by the wayside for the next 50 years to come. We have made it really easy for you to host a 'Biggest Birthday Bash' for us. All you need to do is click here to register to throw us a 50th birthday party and help us reach our target of $30,000. If you have any questions please contact our Partnerships Manager and all round amazing Biggest Birthday Bash party host, Sarah Susak. Stayed tuned for lots of other ways to get involved in our 50th celebrations over the coming weeks.
The radio in my car never gets turned on when my granddaughters are in the car. I want to hear them in every second I have with them. I want to hear about which boys were naughty in class today and how old the teacher is and what is her first name and who is “my BFF” this week. (BFF is how an 8 year old says she has a ‘best friend forever”) Could there be anything more lovely than have two little girls singing together on the way home from school? They inherited their singing ability from their father whose voice always reminded me of what a ship lost in dense fog must sound like. They know the words to songs and they have a good sense of timing but in every other way, the noise in my back seat wasn’t much like singing. I kept saying, “Wow! That was fantastic. Do you know another one?” It’s not a noise I’d willingly inflict on anyone but I could listen to those sweet voices all day.
Our latest Annual Report is now available and I'd love for you to take a look. The beauty of our mission is that we bear witness to the creative power that is unlocked when we move from 'I' to 'us'. This report is filled with engaging stories and photos of our shared successes in what was an exciting and challenging year. You can view it here.
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
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