Thursday, 1 May 2014
Dear Inner Circle,
Our daughter hops on a plane in a couple of hours for London, Paris and Ireland. She will miss Mother's Day and so she took her mum to lunch last Sunday. She gave her a card that read, “If being a mum was easy, dads would do it.”
Last week I told you of a lady in her early forties who lost her battle with cancer. Yesterday our Chapel filled and overflowed with street people and many who’d lived a tough life. Our Chapel rang with the voices of those who have no voice in our society and the tributes were heartfelt and moving. There were many tears and much laughter. This is the woman who asked me from her hospital bed if “God had any second prizes”. I told her that she was the perfect example of herself and that she’d walk into heaven to a standing ovation. When the talking was done, we all said a prayer together and the coffin was led out to the music of Pink's “You’re F***in Perfect”. I’ll bet the undertakers don’t hear that song played at many church funerals. If you listen to that song and can ignore the constant use of the 'Wayside adjective', it’s powerful and right for our dear lady. I can hear the Father sing it to his prodigal son as he attempts to make his speech of apology but is prevented by the joy and affection of the loving father. As the hearse slowly moved off, the street rang with loud applause and shouts of, “Go Cheryl”, “We love you Cheryl”.
In the hospice this week I was visiting another dear sausage that is dying years ahead of time. She looked at the nurse as he walked past and said, “That f***in' one. He can’t f***in' understand a f***in' word I f***in' say. F*** him!” I said, “Well darling, he’d only need a vocabulary of three words to catch most of what you say. The nurse gently smiled and my dear old sausage said, “Sorry Father, skuse the French”.
In the 1960s, The Wayside Chapel was among the first to highlight the plight of Aboriginal people and advocate for social inclusion and acceptance. Fifty years on, it's a sad reality that the push for equality continues. Until this country develops a mature relationship with its first peoples, we will be doomed to shallow politics. I am honoured to join with Adam Goodes, Australian of the Year, and Fred Chaney, Senior Australian of the Year, at an event at Wayside on Tuesday, 13 May at 10am called 'We Want Recognition'. We are uniting to make the case for recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people in the Australian Constitution. Adam Goodes says, “I hope that future generations of Australians will grow up learning about the rich and impressive first cultures of our country - and constitutional recognition is part of achieving that.” We’ll have room for you to come and hear these two outstanding speakers and there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions. After the talk there will be a light morning tea and an invitation from our own Aboriginal community at Wayside to come and inspect their space and to meet and engage with some locals. It will be warm, informative and engaging and we’d love to see you there. Click here for more details.
I pay tribute to the most able manager of an Op Shop in this country. Gabe is the Steve Jobs of Op Shops. She has more than tripled the income of our little shop that we thought was doing pretty well before she arrived. Gabe is retiring and although it’s sad to see her go, no one could begrudge the rest she seeks. We honour you Gabe. You’ve left big shoes to fill and we’ll try and get a good price for them. We’re currently seeking a person to fill these big shoes. If you fancy a career running the most loved shop in Australia and you’re keen to make lots of money to help fund our work, this could be your moment. Apply here.
A wonderful old granny was cutting crook about the possible $6 tax co-payment that the poor will have to pay when they visit the doctor. She told me how her own daughter had four children and how there seemed to be always one of them sick. She didn’t know how her hard working daughter could manage. The conversation flowed smoothly until she said that she was going to bring this up the next time she makes a speech to the United Nations. I hesitated, “The United Nations…in Geneva?” I thought I might have misheard and that perhaps there was an organisation called the Delighted Notions. “Yes, of course the United Nations,” she said. “Give my best to Ban Ki-moon,” I said.
This is such a great place to find life and love. 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
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