Words from the streets of Kings Cross

Jon Owen Head of People and Culture Wayside Chapel

About Jon Owen

I am the Pastor and CEO of Wayside Chapel in the heart of Sydney’s Kings Cross. I write with my heart wide open and my eyes looking at life. I am a philosopher, a dreamer, a tower of weakness, a leader and a follower, a husband and a father and I hope to give you a flavour of life by the wayside.


Living Bigger Lives

Many years ago, my wife Lisa met a woman who was attempting to flee with her kids from a violent relationship. She carefully devised a plan over the next few years and slowly, built up the courage to enact it.

Beauty In The Broken

A feisty young girl was one of fifteen children. She was brought up in the bush and in poverty, learning to fight for her place, her food and her airspace while at the same time, living with all her siblings who had as much right to life, food and love as herself.

Heartache And Hope

Our little chapel service this week looked more like a scene from Noah’s Ark as the rain bucketed down drenching everything in sight. Water was flowing so heavily down the street that it was pouring in under our doors.

When Words Fail

Over the years, I’ve worked in many different communities, and I’ve never met anyone who can predict how life will play out for people. It’s how I’ve learned never to write anyone off. Life is always on offer and surprises abound.

Loving What Is

When passing through shopping centres I usually try to avoid eye contact with the people spruiking something or handing out flyers. It’s silly but I so dislike having to say “no” or “not interested” to people who are just trying to make a living.

Courage And Love

Not all moments are created equal. As I was heading to bed this week, the phone rang and my heart dropped. The name on the face of my phone filled me with a sick feeling as I guessed the content of the incoming call. I love these folks, I had the special joy of performing their wedding over a decade ago.

Getting Life

A woman who spent the better part of her life staring into a bottle with no desire to be sober, is now alcohol-free. She’s working full-time while studying to become a childcare worker.

Sharing The Love

This week our little chapel was packed as we buried a man who spent the better part of his adult life living on the streets. There were people from all walks of life crammed in, all eager to share their memories of how this man had changed and enriched their lives.

Stumbling Upon Gold

The year is in full swing and on some days rushing between appointments becomes the norm. Yet, as is so often the case, it’s the interruptions that provide the gold.

Feeling The Heat

As I snuck in early on Monday to get back into the hot seat again and deal with the work awaiting me on my desk, I exchanged a few greetings and holiday stories with some of the unsung heroes of Wayside. Not all of our heroes work on the front line in the rough end of humanity.