Dear Inner Circle,
In an act of desperation to save his son from a summer of obsolescence after completing year 12, my father decided which of his mates had the most labour-intensive occupation and asked him to give me a holiday job. No sooner was the final exam complete, I found my gentle, schoolboy hands, that were destined for an office, being quickly torn apart and callused by shovels and crowbars as I was attempting to underpin and re-stump houses. It was back breaking labour and gave me a deep respect for anyone who makes a living through this kind of hard and honest work.
As you dig through the first few layers of dirt, sand and clay you could easily be led to the impression that most of suburban Australia was built by people with alcohol addictions. There are broken beer bottles for the first few metres everywhere you dig! Below that are the pipes and even the odd electrical line too. Then, under them, a Noongar Elder taught me, is an invisible layer, the place where the ancient songlines of this land reside, holding the rich stories that shape the landscape, weaving everything together. Everything on the surface is connected and imbibed with meaning through these stories.
Beneath Wayside there is also a robust and immersive story. On the surface you will see a wonderful community of people doing all they can to create beautiful spaces of love and welcome for many whose lives have fallen on to our streets. Before that, you may have heard about our work with the Tolerance Room in the 90s or the Freedom Ride led by Charles Perkins, which left from our doorstep in 1965. All are connected to our deeper story of calling the family of humanity back to our origins, of rediscovering the truth we knew in our bodies before our cognition lost it, that we are all connected, and the welfare of one, is the welfare of us all.
Yesterday, all our staff, from frontline workers and fundraisers to baristas and data analysts, took a day together to remind ourselves of this deep truth. Today if you walk through our spaces, you can feel the good vibes that are flowing outwards and between. Full of bounce and energy I walked into the hall and was greeted with a bear hug from one of our visitors, “Oi, d#[email protected], where have you been? I’ve been housed!” If you need some of the same buzz and live close by to us, please pop-in, it’s free all day long!
Thank you for being part of our precious Inner Circle.
Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
P.S I am going on leave next week, so there won’t be an Inner Circle in your inbox. Looking forward to recharging in time for the run up to Christmas! Stay well.