In the margins

Dear Inner Circle,

It is lovely when the sun sneaks a way through the seemingly ever-present clouds above us, bringing joy to those who have a moment to linger. Some of the smiles on faces in our courtyards as they share some sun-soaked seconds are a reminder that, while it is nice to have some spare change in your pocket, time is a far more valuable commodity. Just watching the friendly exchanges, mostly free of agenda, is a gentle confrontation to lives led devoid of margin.

It’s been a busy week but a good one and this note, which is usually written a day or so in advance, was hastily typed this morning in our cafe. It was tempting to sit around the corner to focus, but so far I have been beautifully serenaded with Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide, which always dissolves me, was thrown unwillingly into the middle of a bright and intense discussion about bras, saw someone use their last $2 coin to share food with a friend, then had another cry on my shoulder about the feeling of being excluded from family, and a desperate desire for a restoration of relationship. So many of life’s most precious moments exist in the spaces between, by the wayside of it all, and it’s a gift to bear witness and bless the silent actions of love that issue often from weary hearts.

As I left our building in Kings Cross last night, my heart was filled after a week full of life. Yesterday, we opened with a smoking ceremony, cleansing all who walked through the eucalyptus vapours. We moved to unveil a beautiful sculpture in our rooftop garden to celebrate and remember the generous people who leave a gift in their Will to Wayside. Called Wings Of Our Angels, this is a stunning sculptural collaboration by Aunty Nancy Long from our Aboriginal Culture Centre and Joel Adler, a renowned artist, with support from Sculpture by the Sea. We’ve got a phrase here; it’s called being captured by the awesome. And I can tell you truthfully, the first time you lay eyes on that sculpture, it catches your breath. It’s a fitting commemoration for the people whose meaningful gift enables us to extend our care and compassion into the lives of our visitors, not just now, but those that we may encounter in the future.

Later that night as I left the building there was action in the courtyard as the team dragged out a pizza oven to create piping hot slices for an eager crowd. The chapel was filled with musicians jamming up a storm and there was a game of bocce set up on the deck. Life is such a fleeting phenomenon and the luckiest of us resist floating above it in a haze of busyness. We stop, let the smoke bring us back down to earth and accept the invitation to participate while we can. So many we are in community with are referred to as “marginalised” – without trying to sound too cute, we could all do with sometime in the margins.

There is much that happens behind the scenes at Wayside to keep our organisation humming. On Monday night we held our Annual General Meeting and announced changes to the Board, the most significant being that after nine years on the Board, including the last two years as Chair, Graham Rich retired from Wayside. Over his nine years of service to Wayside, and in particular as Chair, Graham led the organisation through great change. Amidst the ever-present threat of COVID-19, Graham, along with the Board, worked closely with the leadership team to ensure Wayside remained open as an essential service to serve people in need. We thank Graham for his service to our community. We’re pleased to confirm that Simon Perrott is the new Chair of Wayside Chapel, effective from the end of Monday’s AGM. Simon has been on the Wayside Board for eight years and is well known to the community. An experienced non-executive director who joined the Board to make a positive impact in the community, Simon believes that in a challenging world, Wayside is where compassion lives. Cassandra Michie will maintain her role as Deputy Chair and continue to bring her expertise and passion to Wayside.

Thanks for being a part of our Inner Circle,


Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel

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