Thursday, 20 February 2014
Dear Inner Circle,
Just one look is all it takes to tell a massive story. Two minutes ago I saw a man that I’d not seen in a few months. He is a skinny bloke, perhaps in his forties and although he is inclined to be depressed, he usually finds something nice to say and is quite affectionate with me. My heart sunk as it took me a minute to even know who I was talking to just now. He’s lost at least half of his body weight and his skin is hanging off the bones of his face. “Oh brother,” I said and put my arms around his bony body. He is really too weak to speak and so he put his arms around me and all he could do was repeat, “Oh brother”.
A young woman came to see me yesterday to tell me that she’s just landed a full time job. The transformation in this young woman has to be seen to be believed. Just two months ago she couldn’t look me in the eye. She walked with a stoop and was constantly crying. She broke down in my arms yesterday but in broken sentences and between sobs she was telling me that she’s happier than she could have imagined. She told me how Roxie, Wayside’s Employment Project Officer, had helped her to move from feeling powerless to being ready for job interviews and even dressed ready for employment. As it turns out, she got two job offers yesterday. With the help of Una, Wayside’s Senior Community Worker, she’s also got somewhere to live and a plan for the future. Balloons and streamers please, ladies and gentlemen. We're always on the lookout for businesses who are keen to give someone a 'hand up' rather than a 'hand out' by offering entry-level jobs to Wayside visitors. If you're interested, please email Roxie.
Our 50th Anniversary is dominating our lives and planning at the moment. The main event is Celebration Sunday, a huge street carnival for the whole community on Sunday, 13 April. There is also a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend a fundraising dinner on Thursday, 27 March. We’ve got permission to shut the street out the front of Wayside and we’re holding a dinner under the stars. At $500 a plate or $5,000 for a table for ten, this is an exclusive gathering which is not normally our style but we aim to raise a lot of money to support Wayside and we aim to do it with class. Martin Boetz, Executive Chef at Rushcutters, is our event chef and guests will include our ambassadors, Claudia Karvan and Indira Naidoo and our Patron, the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, AC, CVO and her husband Sir Nicholas Shehadie, AC, OBE. Darren Percival will be performing live with the James Valentine Quartet and the list of key Sydneysiders who have bought tables is amazing. Tickets sold faster than we could have ever imagined but I'm pleased to let you know that two tables have become available and we'd like to offer them to you, our Inner Circle. There will probably never be a fundraising dinner like this held on a street in Sydney under the stars so if you’re interested, email Sarah Susak as soon as possible.
I got a text this morning saying, “Unless you give me $1,000 I’m going to kill myself”. I jokingly responded, “This is your lucky day. I do a wonderful funeral”. I expect to see this fellow later today. He’s had a good deal of success in making his family feel responsible for his choices but he hasn’t quite got the message yet that I don’t fix anything. I wish I could. I’d love to have so much money that I could give it away at that kind of pace. Part of me would like to be a knight with shining armour but alas I have nothing and I know nothing. All I have is the ability to be with people. It is a severe disappointment to those looking for a knight on a white charger but it’s enough for those who just need someone alongside them.
Thanks for begin part of this inner circle,
Thanks for begin part of this 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
19 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