Inner Circle


Thursday 12 October 2017


Dear Inner Circle,

Growing up in Australia in the 1980s as a kid with dark skin wasn’t a lot of fun. The distance between the gate and the classroom was a long journey if the school bully was in a bad mood. I soon developed a lens set for rejection, which is a lonely place from which to view the world. It’s also an unreliable filter as it sometimes leads one to mistake moves made in love for rejection. As I walk into Wayside I see a lot of people with the same lenses on, all with plenty of good reasons not to trust anyone. Yet sometimes we see gambles being taken, and that’s where the real journey towards life can begin.

Yesterday, in our newly renovated café, I searched for a place to sit while delicately balancing my overloaded plate of lunch. A kind face beckoned me over. This man is usually eager to tell me a terrible joke but today he just looked terrible and frightened. As I sat down he shared how his body is slowly succumbing to a long term degenerative disorder. The process has quickened in recent months and now even simple tasks are burdensome and painful. We sat for a moment in silence. Then he looked at me and smiled, “It’s my birthday tomorrow, and I really love caramel cake, did you know that?” I got the hint. We hastily planned a party together – luckily everyone on his invite list is at Wayside most days. This guy shares a birthday with my mum and I love that he will be spoiled and lavishly celebrated here, just as much as my mum will be down in Melbourne. Where there is high risk, there can also be high reward.

A few years ago when I was a youth worker, a 12-year-old Iranian girl who was seeking asylum asked my wife Lisa and I to pray for her. “Can you ask that I’m not deported please? I’m not ready to die yet”. It was a life changing moment for me. Faced with a sea of rejection she hopped onto a little lifeboat of hope, brought merely by the understanding that someone was alongside her. It was the beginning of a 10-year struggle but eventually she was granted permanent residency and given a shot at life that she grabbed with both hands. She is now the mum of four gorgeous kids who call us Uncle and Aunty. She moans whenever I tell them the same lame jokes that I used to tell her when she was their age.

Last week I held in my arms the brand new baby of friends who lost their first child in a tragic circumstances. In life there are no guarantees, only love and risk. Our lives can be changed in a moment where we connect on a heart level. These aren’t high speed connections either, love is like the dial-up Internet of the Wi-Fi world.

Thanks for being part of this Inner Circle, Graham is back next week and can’t wait to share with you again,




Assistant Pastor Jon Owen

Head of People and Culture

Wayside Chapel

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Be sure to follow Graham on Twitter if you have an account; @waysidepastor

Previous Inner Circles


12 Oct: Love and Risk

5 Oct: A Secret Worth Sharing

28 Sep: The Usual Unusual

21 Sep: Life is Fluid

14 Sep How to Cook an Emu

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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