Back to Earth

Dear Inner Circle, 

It’s been a week of royal proportions around here. When we perform christenings, I anoint everyone’s head with oil, which is a ritual normally reserved for royalty. It acts as a reminder that we do not own anyone. Children are on loan to us from the universe and are in our lives for a very short time only. We must treasure the time we have with them. Routines can often dull the colour that rituals still hold the power to reinvigorate. How often do we worry about the wrong things and miss the heaven that is present right in front of us?  

It’s often the smallest things that help bring us back to earth. Last week, our current cohort of Wingspan Project participants presented their group collaboration – a ‘zine’ they made to explain in their own words and images what Wingspan – our holistic program to guide young adults into meaningful employment – means to them. A proud young Māori man stood and addressed us with mana. He spoke of how he had found a group of people who had made him feel valued and who encouraged him to have confidence in himself. A young woman who has been working in our op shops spoke of how she enjoyed finding a new home for clothes that have been loved, and how it served as a metaphor for how she had rediscovered her own value, which is so often about context.  

As I left the Wingspan event, I bumped into Byron – our much-loved Bondi visitor who has taken on the role of ambassador for the Long Walk Home this year. He told me about the distance he would cover in the throes of addiction. “I would walk 28km just to get on it and then 100km after that when I was high.” Byron has signed up to take the Long Walk Home because he’s found a new high – helping others out of the situation he had fallen into. It will be a great honour for me to walk alongside Byron in the Long Walk Home, and I would love for you, our precious Inner Circle, to join me too. It seems odd to issue an invite to join me in real life after the last two years we’ve had but I can think of nothing better than to walk from Parramatta to Kings Cross with a community of people who believe that our footsteps can shape a path to a better world. 

A face I had not seen for a while sat in front of me in the courtyard yesterday where we were all lapping up the Sydney sun that we have been warned should not be taken for granted this spring. He wanted to discuss his funeral arrangements, and his first request was that as we bring him in, all present are to stand while we play “God Save the Queen.” I jumped in to correct him, “Oh, it will have to be God Save the King now”, to which he swished his head of hair with flair and waved his hand. “Not that Queen, Darl, but this one” he said, as he cocked his hand back to himself and threw his head back in laughter. On a sun-soaked morning we shared a little piece of heaven that broke through between us.   

Thank you for being part of my Inner Circle.  


Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel 

P.S Spots are limited for Long Walk Home, so please sign up soon. Byron and I would love to walk with you on the night of Friday October 7. 

P.P.S If you can’t make that date, there’s a ‘virtual walk’ too, so you can do the 28km in your own time, close to home.  

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