Inner Circle


Thursday, 4 June 2015

Dear Inner Circle,

Let me tell you the loveliest thing. A new rose has been developed and it has been named the Marie Bashir rose! What a fitting way to pay tribute to one of the most loved people in this country. A Marie Bashir rose is to be planted in Government House and I’m honoured to tell you that I’ll be there when this takes place. Typical of the beautiful lady that is being honoured, every rose purchased will see a small royalty sent to The Wayside Chapel. How lovely is this? How lovely is the incomparable Dame Marie Bashir?

Minutes ago I met a young girl and she sent me packing. We’ve spoken only a couple of times over the past year and each time seemed like I captured an important moment. Today I saw a 60-year-old face on a 20-year-old body. She looked into my face and I saw her face harden. She yelled, “No! Go away!” I get it. We’ve shared a couple of moments of being present to one another and they were powerful encounters. Right now, it’s not what she wants. Indeed I can see that she’s doing her best to manage her rather out of control life and she needs to be free to manage. I understand that no one can live in the bare present. It must be known briefly and quickly left. I think it’s how life is and should be. It is impossible to organise life in the present. I’m certain we can live in the bare past where life is experienced and things are used but this is not human life.

This week’s big news is that the Uniting Church has asked Wayside to take on the governance and management of the Chapel by the Sea at Bondi Beach. We are looking forward to working with the team at Bondi to introduce stable governance and build on the strength of the local community. In many ways, this will be easy fit. The Wayside Chapel and Chapel By The Sea both have a focus on caring for the socially marginalised in the eastern Sydney communities, including people experiencing long term mental health issues, homelessness, and drug and alcohol issues. Ambulance call outs to overdoses are actually greater in Bondi than they are in Kings Cross. Both organisations also have a strong commitment to providing opportunities for the wider community to flourish. We see this as a great opportunity to improve the service to the community, better respond to the challenges that we face as a society and expand the mission of creating community with no ‘us and them’.

Walking home last night in the dark, an older woman who I’ve never met, stopped me and asked, “Can you say a prayer for me Father?” Before I could find out who she was and what might be worrying her, she said, “I don’t want the Lords Prayer”. “OK” I said, “how about the 23rd Psalm?” “Not that” she said. I made several other suggestions but she immediately ruled them out. A little frustrated, I asked if she’d like to tell me what her main worry was so that I could make up prayer. She didn’t want any cheap made up prayers! The lady was poorly dressed and had a blanket wrapped around her so I’m pretty sure she was a rough sleeper. Eventually I said, “How about I pray for you in a different language?” “That would be good” she said. At last! I prayed the Sh’ma and the blessing that usually follows. Those of you who are Jewish will know the prayer and blessing well. I said, “Amen” and looked into a face that was now beaming. “That was good eh?” she said. As she started to walk away, clearly happy about this rabbit I had pulled out of my hat, she said, “I understood every word of that too!”

It’s been a big week for us at Wayside. If you’re taking a break over the long weekend, please be careful and come home safely because we need you in this inner circle,


Rev Graham Long

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


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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