Inner Circle


Thursday, 6 August 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

The treasure of this country does not lie under the ground but is to be found in our schools. I haven’t stepped foot into a school since my kids were little and last week I spoke across NSW in 12 schools. Actually I stopped counting after school three but I think it was 12 schools. We frequently hear expressions of despair about our young but to actually tour our schools and meet our kids would fill anyone with hope and optimism. I was blown away by the beauty and the character of the hundreds of kids I met. Surely education should be the first priority for investment by our governments and teaching should be esteemed as among the highest of professions. The NSW Australian of the Year crew are to be congratulated for turning an annual award into an event that inspires hundreds of school children. The tour itself in my view was more important than the award. We raced from school to school from Annandale to Wagga Wagga. Award winners, Jules, Genevieve, Cory and I had only just met on Wednesday and yet we worked as a well practiced team born out of mutual respect. It became obvious along the way that I was a city boy. In Temora (I think) I asked a kid what kind of farm he lived on. He said that his dad grows canola and wheat. “Any animals?” I asked. “He has a thousand head of sheep” he said. I then asked, “Does he have any whole sheep or just heads?” The look on the little boy’s face was priceless.

A tough little nut said to me just now, “I know you’re a hard man”. “Not only am I not a hard man” I said, “my only trick is that I am a tower of weakness for people”. “Well you’d look down on me” he said. “Are you fighting something big?” I asked. He began to weep and we sat on a bench at the front of our building. He told me why he’d served a long prison sentence. Most everyone I know holds something against themselves. It shows in how quickly we are to look down on someone else. If we can make a judgement about someone else, perhaps we’ll silence our inner haunting voice. It shows in the countless hours lost making our case, wearing out friendships while we look for an uninformed jury to acquit us. It shows in the way we seek to comfort through food, drink and things. It is a rare moment indeed when we can be with someone and speak the worst. This man risked everything today. We stood, we embraced and he walked away.

It was quite dark when I walked out the front door last night and a lovely old rough diamond said, “Going home now Rev?” I told him that I still had two meetings ahead before my day was finished. He came close as if he was going say something quite confidential, “You need to go missin' Rev. That’s what I do.”

I went to the footy on Saturday night. I don’t understand the first thing about football but I wanted to support Adam Goodes. Actually I think the footballers themselves were quite confused as they seemed to be running in entirely different directions each quarter. I think the Swans should learn Adam’s dance and perform it as a team. I think the whole country should learn Adam’s dance and perform it the same way that New Zealanders proudly do the Haka. Tears ran down my face this week as I saw a clip of 1,300 school boys do the Haka before the hearse that carried the body of their teacher. Such defiance in the face of death. I wished that I could have stood with others and bent my knees, slapped my arms and contorted my face, and yelled in defiance in front of the hearse that carried my son’s body. What a precious gift New Zealanders have inherited from their first peoples. What riches could be ours in this country if only we recognised a gift when we saw it.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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