Inner Circle


Thursday, 8 September 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

Increasingly, I find myself talking in board rooms or before work-teams or to middle and senior managers about Wayside’s mission and how it lives in our work and organisation. I have a growing sense of disquiet, knowing that our mission doesn’t live in a formula nor a set of values. The danger for Wayside and especially for our senior leaders, is in believing that our mission lives in a set of words. Generally, we Waysiders like our words and our values. “To create community with no ‘us and them’” are words that point to the awesome. Paradoxically, I suspect the more we cherish the words, the faster we fossilize the mission itself. The more we believe we master our mission, the faster the mission itself evaporates through our fingers. Our mission cannot be preserved in formulas of any kind. It can only be proved true. It can only be “done”. We can only begin each day as beginners and begin each day as if it is our last opportunity to live our mission.

To “create community with no ‘us and them’” is not an act of reflection. Our mission is not made real when it is pondered nor preached about. It can only be done. Our choice is to be beginners, or idolators. Our mission only lives when it is in front and while we are on our way. Oddly, to be on our way requires of us endless unromantic acts. Front line workers take people for showers and do battle with the systems that exclude poor people. Front line workers confront people who constantly seek to break our rules or gain some advantage. Front line workers constantly hope for meeting. Maybe today someone will realise that there are people here with them and for them. Managers manage staff who can’t always see that order and rather uninteresting arrangements in an organisation are important if the organisation is to avoid digging its own grave. Sometimes people so believe that they are alone, that they come through our front doors insisting that they be treated as a four-year-old. Often our front line workers carry a sadness for a life wasted and opportunities lost. Little do they realise that their sadness itself is a beautiful gift to the world. The sadness is the price of love, expensive but free. Just as baffling at times, managers have to manage people who so believe they are alone that wrong motives are assumed and silly things are said and soon everyone feels defensive and hurt. It must be a royal pain to have a CEO that keeps reminding our people that it is their job to love. Sometimes love says, “Stop” to the four-year-old that is about to run onto the road. Sometimes love warns of dangerous behaviour but always love desires to meet. Love begins with wonder and ends with wonder. Love suddenly sees the other. A community with no ‘us and them’ is always a surprise. No formula gets us there and we leave the moment with no formula. We cannot say to others, “You must know this”, we can only, renewed by the vitality of our mission lived, turn away from our mission, in order to prove our mission. It can only be done. It can only be lived.

A young woman sat with me this morning and we celebrated three months drug free. This conversation didn’t really need words. I saw this woman. I really saw her. Her mannerisms were a bit odd. I guess she was in her thirties and yet every move she made and every facial gesture, her turn of phrase, all gave me the sense that a much older woman was present in our conversation. I wondered whether this dear young thing had a rather lovely Mum somewhere who like me in this moment, is enjoying the drug free version of her beautiful daughter. She’s travelled a fair bit during this period of drying out and I asked her how she managed to be on the go but so disciplined to avoid drugs. She told me that our beautiful Community Services Worker Alex had been such a fabulous support that he would ring her regularly to check on her. She said that his support was so valuable to her that she had a way of carrying him right beside her, imagining his face and having conversations with him, no matter where she was in Australia. She gave me a big kiss on the side of my face. Thanks, Alex!

About fifty people came to the philosophy class I ran in Bondi this week. Next Tuesday we’ll be talking the Middle Ages. It’s more interesting than you might think and you’re welcome to come. It’s a tough place to park at Bondi Beach but if you can find a way it’s a fun night from 6:30pm and a strict 8pm finish. Also, although this Sunday is the day that hundreds of people descend onto Bondi Beach to fly kites, at 3pm the gospel choir, The Café of the Gates of Salvation will be singing in our little chapel. It will be worth any effort you have to make for the passion, joy and inspiration to flow over you.

We are thrilled to announce that Wayside has a new ambassador! Jason Grant is an Interior Stylist, author of two books and a creative consultant. He has been involved from the start of Wayside’s expansion to Bondi – providing massive assistance to us using his skills, time and contacts to work a little magic over the Bondi outpost and in particular our serviced apartments. Jason joins our other Wayside ambassadors David Wenham, Indira Naidoo, Claudia Karvan and Kylie Kwong and we’re thrilled to have Jason on board to help us build our vibrant community in the eastern suburbs.

Enough, I must fly.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


1 September: The Power of Weakness

25 August: Words as weapons

18 August: Wattle become of us

11 August: Precious and fragile

4 August: A wave from Wayside

28 July: Understanding bedlam

21 July: Time for some straight talking

14 July: Holy ground

7 July: Sowing in tears, reaping with shouts of joy

30 June: A bit of banter about Bondi

23 June: My cup runneth over

16 June: Injecting some joy

9 June: At the end of the line

2 June: Lots of perspiration and a touch of inspiration

26 May: Swimming against the tide

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



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