Inner Circle


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Dear Inner Circle,

We join with the rest of the community to honour our firefighters. I have several close friends who are out on fire trucks at this very moment. Our love and prayers are with them, along with those who have lost their homes. I want to acknowledge another group of real heroes too. Tomorrow we have a group of people setting out to climb the Kokoda Track. I doubt when they put their hand up for this trip that they really knew how tough the preceding 12 months would be as they raised the money for their sponsorship and trained for the trip. Every one of them is already a champion even before they set foot on that plane. Now before them is the actual Kokoda Track to conquer. A few years ago someone invited me to join them on this journey. I almost accepted the invitation in an odd moment when I'd forgotten that I have a chronic lung disease. I honour you, our Kokoda trekkers. You will be on my mind every moment from now until I hear that you are all back safe and well. I remind you that people will eat because of what you are doing. Lost young people will find a way home or to a safer place because of your efforts. People who've given up on life will find a pathway back because of what you have done over this past year and for this extraordinary effort you are about to begin. The Scripture says, "Who goes out in tears will return with shouts of joy". I can't wait to have you back and to celebrate all that you've achieved. To find out more about our trekkers and to make a donation towards their fundraising efforts, click here.

The sound of guitar-playing filling the front courtyard and wafting up through my office is a usual thing these days. I love it and sometimes people of real talent pick up a guitar. Less often but every now and then, someone with a real voice will sing along. A few weeks ago a woman, who I would say was Maori, filled the street with a powerful voice and songs from her troubled heart. Sometimes the guitar playing is woeful. Right now there is fellow who fits the later category and at his feet is a dog who is a bit the worse for wear. The poor old dog looks like he is a cross between Redfern and Woolloomooloo. The dog's head is on the ground and his front paws are spread-eagled. When someone walks past, the dog, without lifting his head, engages with his eyes and watches the person walk past. If I could put words into the dog's mouth, I'm sure he would say, "Yes he's a dreadful musician but he's my dreadful musician and if you criticise him, I'll chew your face off."

A fellow who was probably 50 years of age stopped me at the front door on my way into church on Sunday. "Can I see you for a minute?" I reckon I've been asked that question more often than just about anyone else alive. The question is never any kind of indication about what is about to follow. I was keen to cut this short and to give myself completely to the task right in front of me. He said to me, "I always thought that someone was sabotaging my life and I've blamed my parents, my family, my teachers and just about every boss I've ever worked for but I can suddenly see that it's me. I'm the saboteur." Well how can you walk away from that or chop it short? As he spoke I could see that he was actually responding to the care of a few people who probably had not the slightest idea of their effect on his life. I was able to help him see that he was actually responding to their care and that he should value it and thank the people when he finds a way to do it.

Next year is fast approaching and with it comes Wayside's 50th anniversary. We are planning lots of activities to honour this special occasion, including a film project to collect stories from the past 50 years. If your life has been transformed or influenced by Wayside, in a small or big way, we’d love you to come forward and share your story as part of the film project. We’re looking for stories of personal transformation; stories about friendships, romantic relationships and other partnerships which have been formed through a connection with Wayside; and historical stories about our role in the Kings Cross community. Please email if you would like to be involved.

With love and thanks for being part of our inner circle,

With love and 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

18 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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