Dear Inner Circle,

I’ve missed writing to you, welcome back for another year of life by the Wayside. I can’t guarantee any fairy tale endings but I can promise you that as we continue to pursue life with an open-hearted stance, it will be full of laughter and tears.

After restrictions were tightened at the end of last year, it is heart-warming to have our spaces a little more open at the moment. The conversations are once again flowing in our building. To be able to offer a cold cup of water and a shower to someone after they’ve endured a night sleeping rough in this oppressive heat is a gift few of us will ever know the value of.

The skill to hold four simultaneous conversations at once is slowly returning. “Hey bro, didn’t we do an eight-week stretch together in Long Bay?” began an interaction over a coffee. “Nah.” “Yeah, I remember because you bashed me.” “Did I? I’m sorry that I did, I was pretty angry back in those days.” “She’s right brother, I can guarantee that I probably deserved it back then too.” This peak and trough of a yarn is typical of the near hits and misses we are used to around here. This stunning conversation ended as quickly as it began as both parties proceeded to ignore each other, and other conversations quickly resumed.

Our chapel services are full of deeply welcomed irreverence. Everyone is given a voice here and amidst the banter, there are some rippers and then sometimes there are moments that grip your heart. As only 12 people showed up last Sunday we sat in a circle and shared from our hearts. We were asking for song requests and the suggestion quickly was made, “Can we please sing the ‘Ma-Na-Ma-Na’ song from the Muppets?” When I asked for clarification about what song that he meant he replied, “Oh, how about a round of ‘Amazing Grass’ then?” I’m still not quite sure if he was offering or requesting.

Someone also walked into the chapel from outside, a regular who usually avoids Sundays. He sat down and when he heard us talking about a deep love, he stood up, quite emotional, when someone yelled at him “Hey bro, you know you are loved, don’t you?” to which he whispered in return “I know man, it’s just that I hate myself.”  Our vision is “Love Over Hate”. We stand in the gap in between and live in such a way that love can prevail.

That’s why we do what we do, and we couldn’t do it without your love.

Thank you, and let’s get ready for another year, my Inner Circle,

Jon

This Valentine’s Day, forgo meaningless gifts and instead, help make sure the vulnerable members of our community receive the dignity that everyone deserves – access to life’s basic necessities and undies! Share the love with people doing it tough here. 

Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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