Inner Circle


Thursday, 29 September 2016

Dear Inner Circle,

Our hall filled with mostly young Aboriginal people this week. We’re supporting the formation of an Aboriginal women’s football team. Once a year the biggest gathering of Aboriginal people in the State happens at an annual rugby knockout competition. For the past couple of years, a private sponsor has funded a Wayside Aboriginal men’s team for the competition. Other donors have stepped forward to sponsor the men’s team again this year, but our Aboriginal Project Manager, Mon, is passionate about forming a women’s team. To see our hall filled with young Aboriginal women, excited to play football and proud to be playing as a community, was enough to melt anyone’s heart. It looks like I’ll be on the sidelines this weekend, understanding nothing about the game but cheering for this fabulous act of community making.

Thirty years ago a woman and nine kids landed on my doorstep. They had all been living in a small caravan with an annex. The Mum was the roughest of diamonds. Hygiene in such circumstances was difficult and although everyone appeared to be fed and clothed, the diet was determined entirely by price and no one’s clothing was either fashionable nor new. Yet, everyone got fed and everyone got loved. I don’t doubt for a second that if Government authorities had become involved, the children would have been separated from their mother. We found housing for the family in due course. It wasn’t ideal and soon to all these kids was added a bunch of animals. There were so many issues that were less than ideal but I recognised goodness and love. As the clan grew I baptised children, and performed weddings. Yesterday, twenty-five years on, there was a reunion here at Wayside. A daughter that I married now has nine children of her own and five grandchildren. Not unlike her Mum, this woman is amazing. Twenty-five years later, the marriage is strong and there is an earthy wisdom that comes from pure struggle. The husband and wife have each worked two jobs for years, providing for their children. They’ve bought an acre of land and built a house large enough to house their old Mum, now suffering with dementia. What a joy for me to have supported this family and now to see this next generation, struggling in many ways but having done well. A relatively young woman has hands that show how hard she has worked all her life. We gas bagged and caught up on family news and if I could, I’d have listened all day, absorbing the beauty of a fighter, a worker, a mother and grandmother, a guru, a servant who will make any sacrifice and pay any price to nurture her family.

Some funeral stories are funny. Brace yourself, for this is a cracker. I love how at a funeral everyone can find something positive to say about the deceased. Mortal enemies can find ways to see the good and acknowledge it. This week one fellow stood by the coffin of his mate and said, “If it wasn’t for this bloke, I’d never have learned how to rob people.” It was a touching moment. Another bloke said, “My mate was harsh but also fair. He robbed me at times. Yes, he even robbed me but he’d always go me halves!”

In a couple of weeks, we have a special treat at our Sunday service in Kings Cross. Join us in the chapel to hear Andrew Windsor preach in his honest, raw and captivating style. Afterwards we’re planning to show, for the first time, a beautiful video we’ve created of Andrew’s remarkable story. Andrew has been coming to Wayside for many years – first as a visitor to seek assistance with addiction and mental health issues, then more and more just to be part of the Wayside community that has become so precious to him. He’s a man who is engaged in life, absorbed in community and captivated by the transformational power of love. We hope you can join us at 11am on Sunday 9 October to witness his truly remarkable story.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM

CEO & Pastor

The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


22 September: It's What We Do at Wayside

15 September: The Joy of Being Wrong

8 September: Turning Toward Love

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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