Inner Circle


Thursday, 26 May 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

Our morning began with tears today. One of our visitors, an intelligent young man, full of promise, met a sudden end. We don’t know the full circumstances around his death, although we knew of a difficult struggle with mental health and substance abuse. On hearing the news this morning, a couple of our senior people stood in our lift quietly, weeping. Our lift was an awesome place this morning. I assured our people that their contribution to Wayside and to life was not just made by what they do but by who they are. These two didn’t just lose a client. The young man wasn’t an interesting “case”. The tears came because they had lost a brother. Precious tears. Precious people.

If you’re in Sydney you might be interested to pop into Wayside tonight. The Gyuto Monks of Tibet will be visiting with us. The monks are world famous and they keep a tradition that is more than 600 years old. They will lead us in a guided meditation and blessing with a chanting ceremony. There will be a session of Q&A that I will lead. Everyone is welcome although we will ask for a donation that will be split between the monks and Wayside. Seating is limited to the number we can safely sit in our hall so I’d appreciate it if you could email to let us know you’re coming.

It’s that time of year when we ask our community to stand with us and support our winter appeal. I don’t use this note to ask for money often, but at Christmas and winter I draw your attention to our appeals. This winter we are raising money for our Pathways work which is about getting alongside our visitors in the belief that everyone can move toward life and health. The move might be in the direction of education or employment or housing or health treatment. One thing we know well is that life comes not through the movement of the head but through the movement of the feet. It doesn’t matter how well you understand a problem until your feet start moving toward life.

Some of our largest achievements come through the smallest of moves. Steve is one such achievement. Steve is a man in his fifties whose face could stop a parade with its deep lines and arresting eyes. He’s a quietly spoken, shy man. It has taken a long time to be able to establish an easy connection. Steve was once a strapping young man, full of life and energy, when he was hit in the back of the head with an iron bar and left with serious brain damage. Steve’s life course was forever altered and he slipped into a cycle of alcohol abuse, violence and incarceration. If you met Steve today, however, you couldn’t imagine him being anything other than a quiet and humble man. It’s only been a few years since Steve first came to Wayside on the recommendation of a friend and from then began taking small steps to turn his life around. We recently found out that Steve loves ironing and so we got him doing small ironing jobs at Wayside. This may not sound like the biggest news you’ve ever heard, but for us this is a victory worthy of real joy. Steve is on the move, learning new skills and most importantly, feeling a sense of pride. At Wayside, we see that individuals flourish when they move from being alone, to being part of community. We know that the path to homelessness is complex, and the way back to life is also complex, requiring a dedicated team of professionals to help pave the way.

We’ve never been more overwhelmed by a tide of new faces than we are right now and we know that if we give people the time and attention, many can get moving and begin to believe in a future for which they’ve lost hope. I hope you will make a gift that will make a direct difference for some people who need a hand. I confess to a certain amount of anxiety because we sink or swim entirely on the generosity of the people who love us and believe in our mission. Our government dollars combined amount to less than 13% of our income. I’ve never been bungy jumping and I have no ambition to try, but leading Wayside through these appeals is close enough for me. Our Pathways work is completely unfunded; we do it because it should be done. We need to raise $200,000 this winter to keep this work alive. If you can spare some for a brother or sister that needs your support, please give. You can make a donation here.

Some of the wealthiest and some of the poorest in this country read this note each week. It’s kind of lovely that even this note creates a community of no “us and them”.

We love you. Thanks for being part of this inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

Want to receive the Inner Circle directly into your inbox every Thursday? Sign up here.


Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter if you have an account; @waysidepastor

Previous Inner Circles


19 May: Every 7 days but not weakly

12 May: I once was blind

5 May: A place to belong

28 April: Lest we forget

21 April: I've seen into the abyss

14 April: Colourful language

7 April: Poetic licence

31 March: Happy in the Cross

24 March: Easter

17 March: A party mix

10 March: The intimacy of everything

3 March: An unusual look

25 February: He ain't heavy

18 February: Tears of laughter and sadness

11 February: Wisdom is a tricky business

4 February: A wave from The Wayside Chapel

28 January: Some long distance loving

21 January: No time for judgement


17 December: Last note for 2015

10 December: Sanity Clause if coming to town

3 December: It's all about the presence

26 November: The joy of not knowing

19 November: The curse of perfectionism

12 November: To speak is to act

5 November: My cup runneth over

29 October: Prophet and loss

22 October: Finding yourself in a magical team

15 October: A silly question

8 October: Surprised by the joy

1 October: Being dead right

24 September: A day by the Wayside

17 September: It's a gold rush

10 September: The psychology of onions

3 September: Life comes from without

27 August: Surprised by the beautiful

20 August: Light shining through the cracks

13 August: A matter of balance

6 August: Recognising a gift

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



Get Involved