Dear Inner Circle,

Last week a bright-eyed man came into our community centre looking for Chantal, one of our longest-serving staff members. “Do you remember me?” he asked, “I could never forget you!” she yelled as she hugged him and cried. As a kid abandoned by his family in the 70s, he drifted into the Cross and was soon working the streets when he first walked through our doors. What he found at the Wayside was a love that came with no condition and a belief in him that knew no limits. He began to dream of breaking the cycle he was caught up in, but was plagued by debt and self-loathing “I’ll never make it out, I’m a worthless piece of s#$t”. Chantal remembered telling him “You are worth more than gold, you can achieve anything you want, but you have to get out of Sydney”. He did and trained as a social worker to help people just as Chantal and the team at Wayside had helped him. He was visiting from interstate and stopped by to find Chantal and say thanks.

When diving into a study of worldwide internet search history data, a researcher has found that even though we cultivate a reputation as being laid back, we Aussies make more searches about anxiety and the symptoms for panic attacks than any other nation on earth. As our pace of life increases it seems like the quality of it is declining. Every Wednesday night here in Kings Cross, there is an open jam session downstairs. Our mission of creating community comes to life as the focus is squarely on volume and joy. As I head off home on Wednesdays, I’m always drawn into the room. I walk past tables full of people playing games and sharing meals together. Once in the room, I see nothing but happiness on faces as some of Sydney’s best play along with some of our city’s newest musicians. I think that more doctors should try and prescribe visits to music-making groups. You can’t put a price on joy and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Last Thursday evening we celebrated the official VIP launch of the Heart Café with around 80 guests. It’s was lovely to see so many supporters of Wayside including our Board, ambassadors, staff, Bondi celebrities and media all celebrating community. Kylie Kwong, Matt Moran, Christian Wilkins and David Wenham were all on hand to help us launch Bondi’s first social enterprise café. Check out some of the images from our launch event. Heart Cafe also featured in this week’s Wentworth Courier with Wayside Ambassador, Indira Naidoo on the cover. Since last week we have seen a steady stream of Inner Circle customers previewing the café as part of our soft launch. Thank you so much for your support and your generous feedback. You can come along and taste the full menu from this Saturday, 17 November, when we’ll be open daily from 7am to 4pm. Make sure you follow @heartcafebondi on Facebook or Instagram for further updates.

On a different note, there was just a commotion downstairs as someone who wasn’t known to us was chased inside. “Give me back my wallet you thief!” Our team and some of our regular visitors quickly intervened and talked the accused into returning the stolen wallet, but first he confessed to them “Can you ask him which one is his? I have five on me!” There really is never a dull moment around here!

Thanks for being part of the Inner Circle.


Jon Owen
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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