From the Depths

Dear Inner Circle,

Wayside Chapel was, in many ways, born in the gutter. We sprouted from the cracks in the concrete and will only continue to do so by keeping those who live on the margins of society at the centre of our love and concern. Our mission emerges from this unassuming position and if our message is to reflect our central concern then we must see those on the margins as not merely being incidental to the whole, but integral to it. That may seem self-evident, but self-evident truths have a way of disappearing from view for any group committed to loving activism. There are agendas and planning meetings that fill the days that, while essential, run the risk of drowning out the voices that called us here in the first place. Last Thursday night we were given a gift of immeasurable value at our Facebook Live Wayside Voices panel. Two amazing people who have sought the support of Wayside over the years shared from the depths the kind of wisdom which only comes from great suffering and loss. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Their voices rang out with power and clarity as an invitation to all with ears to hear. I invite you to watch it, and caution you that it just might change your life. I also guarantee you that if you watch it you will need tissues nearby.

Last night we also celebrated the graduation of the most recent cohort of The Wingspan Project. The program provides employment and training at our social enterprises for young people who have faced disadvantage. Six amazing young adults stood proudly and were presented with their certificates of achievement. Some delivered speeches full of hope with the confidence of people twice their age. “I didn’t believe it was possible for me to be able to do what I have done at work. Sometimes I wake up and think, did I really just do that yesterday!? Then I get to get up and do it again.” What amazing young adults they are, with future and hope. I was talking out the front with a Wingspan graduate before the event who said, “You’re the Rev right? When’s Chapel? Coz I’m f***ing coming.” Not too many chapels come with a language warning, but ours comes with an “all language welcome” kind of vibe. I encourage you to pop by our social enterprise Heart Cafe or Op Shops to empower these young people with your meaningful purchase.

Once I was walking up from the train on a Sunday morning and got to talking with someone who saw my Wayside T-Shirt. He informed me “I used to go there but that new bloke is crap, but you, you’re all right mate, I’ve seen you cleaning up out front.” Realising he was referring to me, I chose the compliment over the complaint and took it as a win.

Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle.


Jon Owen
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

PS. One of our more wacky community fundraisers, Tas, is raising money for Wayside Chapel by doing his own 28km Superhero Walk, whilst dressed as a superhero. Check it out here.

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