The lows can be really low, but the highs can also be really high. For some, this season is a positive one where the distance from self-hatred towards a new life of healing and hope is noticed and celebrated. I was contacted by someone who remembers how the love she received one Christmas from Wayside kept her alive when her life and sanity hung by a thread. Now she leads a life of strength and independence and marks the occasion with gratitude and thankfulness. It brings us comfort and joy as planning for our Christmas Day Street Party in Kings Cross continues at full speed. This year, for the first time we will also be holding a free Christmas BBQ in Bondi as well. Remember you are all invited to join us for our Christmas celebrations. We’ll be light on presents and heavy on presence. Come and sing carols with us at our Christmas services in both locations and stay for a free lunch and entertainment. Soon you’ll be dancing with people from all walks of life. If you are looking for a meaningful gift or want to skip the shopping rush, consider donating a plate in lieu of a gift for your loved ones.
On Friday night a group of Wayside staff joined with a group from IAG in Parramatta Park, all together over 100 of us, to begin the “Long Walk Home” to Kings Cross. The 28kms we walked is the average distance that someone sleeping rough walks each week to access vital support services and find a place to sleep at night. The event served to raise awareness for people experiencing homelessness and raise much-needed funds for Wayside Chapel to continue providing support to those who need it most. Every step we took deepened my conviction that we were participating in something much bigger than ourselves. I believe the impact of what we achieved last Friday will continue long into the future and we plan to make it an annual event open to the public. Issues of homelessness have solutions, what the issues currently lack is the will. The more we can walk together, the louder our collective voice will become. There are too many Australians who call living on the street their everyday life, but I dream of a day where no one needs to go to bed without a roof over their head. Thank you to all who sponsored us, all who walked and to our corporate partner IAG for starting something that could help bring homelessness to an end.
I just got a large delivery from someone in the Inner Circle who earlier this year had their house burn down. It helped them realise what was important and so they sent us a box full of love – which around here means undies, socks and towels. The generosity and heart behind such selfless acts of kindness constantly leave me speechless. I just got a message from a friend who was walking past a young woman sleeping on the footpath, another woman nearby stopped and woke her up saying “Sis, I’m going to Wayside, come with me”.
Thanks for being part of the Inner Circle.
PS. Wayside Chapel’s Annual Report 2017-2018 has just been released. You can download it here to learn more about our proudest achievements and highlights throughout the last financial year.Jon Owen
Pastor & CEO