Inner Circle


Thursday, 7 September 2017


Dear Inner Circle,

Grandchildren give away family secrets without knowing it. One of my babies asked as we got into the car, “Can we go speedy of one hundred?” My reply was something like, “It’s my job to keep you safe sweetheart, so we won’t be going too fast”. She answered that with, “Well, Mummy does!” Another time, our four-year-old hopped into her seat and said, “Shall we keep our windows up so that people don’t hear us yell, ‘IDIOT!’”

Just ten minutes ago, a tall fellow in a large cowboy hat approached me out the front of Wayside. I expected him to bellow at me but instead a soft voice said, “I need a blessing. Can you do that?” We walked to the Chapel and sat awkwardly looking at one another. In these situations, I’m always shy about leading people to believe in magic. Any blessing is just a feature of a relationship. With some trepidation I asked, “Why are you needing a blessing?” I expected to hear a story of a looming court date or some health crisis or even just a naïve hope that good can be conjured, like a rabbit out of a hat. To my surprise the softly-spoken man said, “I just want to know there is something outside of me; something bigger than me.” We held hands while I recited some ancient words. The big bloke seemed relieved and thanked me. We’d never met before today, but we both walked away changed and lifted.

Parallel lines don’t often meet but when they do, everything is infused with life. Yesterday, I walked past a young face and after a couple of paces, I stopped. I slowly turned and walked back to the face, drawn by a power bigger than anything in me. In near disbelief, I began to recognise a face that I’d seen scores of times but never like this. Lacking any social skills, I simply blurted out, “Oh my God, look at your face! What has happened?” A young, pretty face lit up. She didn’t have to use words but she blurted out, “I’m drug-free!” What was previously a young but worn face; a face that had a ‘nobody’s home’ look, was now filled with presence. Before she said a word the face arrested me. I couldn’t take my eyes away and her eyes danced as they engaged with mine. She told me that she’d only been drug-free for about a month, but that so many things were falling into place. What a joy to share this moment.

There is a lovely old alcoholic in Bondi, who seems to turn up to any civic occasion that might happen in his town. Staff and volunteers who visit Bondi often return and tell me stories of a good hearted, kind and funny old drunk. They are often surprised when I tell them that I know him well because he attends our little church service down there. He loves our Bondi minister, Rev Graham Anson, and Graham loves him. There are some Sundays when the questions from old mate are pure entertainment. “Hey Graham, what about that bloke who double-crossed Jesus? He dogged him eh?” Graham lives our mission of no ‘us and them’ more in the way he handles this dear old fellow than in anything he might say.

Pastor Jon conducted a wedding at Wayside this week. When they arrived, I was surprised to see an elderly well-dressed groom and then, a beautifully dressed, elderly bride. I met them just before Jon was to commence the service and they told me that they were, “Eloping from their seven adult children.” After the ceremony, all in our café burst into applause in a spontaneous show of love as the couple emerged from the Chapel. As it happened, there was an ambulance at our front door. One of the working girls near the ambulance, yelled to the happy couple, “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do”. Quick as a wink, Pastor Jon replied, “That’s why we ordered the ambulance”. I love this place.

Thanks for being part of this inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM
CEO & Pastor
The Wayside Chapel

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Previous Inner Circles


7 Sep: When Parallel Lines Meet

31 Aug: Tears For Joy And Grief

24 Aug: Just Another Week at Wayside

17 Aug: Time to Look After One Another

10 Aug: The Price of Love is Sorrow

3 Aug: Jumping To Confusions

27 July: Gardening Australia

20 July: Contemplation Of The Awesome

13 July: A Season For Gratitude

6 July: Awestruck

29 June: Back In The Saddle

22 June: Between Longing And Love

15 June: When Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

8 June: Reduced to "Wow"

1 June: Time For A Long Look

25 May: For Those With Ears To Hear

18 May: Covering Some Ground

11 May: Costly Kindness

4 May: Blown Away By Beauty

27 April: Better A Troubling Prophet Than A Dead Loss

20 April: ANZAC Day

13 April: Easter

6 April: Captured By A Face

30 March: I'm On Ice

23 March: Another Day At The Office

16 March: A Good Start To The Day

9 March: Permission To Be Human

2 March: Every Life Celebrated

23 February: Surprised By Joy

16 February: Wayside Isn't A Place, It's An Activity

9 February: Heavy With Meaning

2 February: The Danger of Stability

26 January: Australia Day

19 January: Wow

13 January: The Joy of Being Useless


22 December: Miracles in the Messy

15 December: A Season for Demons

8 December: Soul Restorer

1 December: Holy Ground

24 November: Opening Presence for Christmas

17 November: On Our Best Behaviour For a Day

10 November: A Seismic Shift

3 November: Outcomes by Accident

27 October: Wow! Look How Far You've Come

20 October: Moving Toward Our Destiny

13 October: A Tribute

06 October: Risk and Sacrifice

29 September: Wisdom in Unconventional Places

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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