Lead Us Out

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Dear Inner Circle,

Life rarely runs according to our plans. It’s much easier to interpret history than it is to project it.

At Wayside, it’s fair to say we’ve been nimble, quickly moving to preserve the health of our community. It isn’t any surprise though, that now many visitors have crossed a line into mental instability. Some already afraid of police, hear news about fines being issued that are beyond their capacity to pay. Some have crossed a line into paranoia, seriously believing that the helicopters overhead are looking for them individually, making a walk to the front fence or the corner shop a fearful project. We have volunteers who miss community as sorely as our visitors. All have a sense of having a life suspended. All feel like we’re “on hold”, waiting for life to resume.

Just as bewildering is the depth of the division between people, among whom, there was previously no animosity. People I respect and whom I know to be generally rational, have fallen into mistrustful, fearful groups. I guess we’re paying a price for the years of public discourse that has paid no heed to truth and held no abhorrence of lies. In an era of “fake news”, it is difficult to remain objective. Many “leaders” say whatever it takes. Winning battles and deciding policy based on maximum votes is a project that is bound to lead us to odd places. No wonder Plato thought democracy was a problem. Listen to how leaders will boldly and eloquently tell you what they are “against”, but, when asked what they are “for” immediately lose any sense of coherence.

At a deeper level, the current undermining of science is not a new thing. It’s a continuation and intensification of an old thing. The same cultural shift that gave us the reformation, is today undermining science. To escape the authority of bishops and kings, a shift to the “bible alone”​, brought a new confidence in the authority of the individual to interpret it in their own personal way. To escape the divided, superstitious religions, a shift to reason began, which elevated science and undermined the bible. Today the same shift toward “individual experience” away from reason, undermines all meta-narratives, including science. The whole 500 years could be called the “privatisation of the self”. Wayside’s mission of “creating community” is the deepest possible call to the Western world. Imagine a world of no ‘us and them’ and you’re a revolutionary.

We sorely need leaders who lead us by courageous example, and here is one such leader who I invite you to join. There are some people who walk through dark times and, once they get out the other side, move as far away from them as they can, which is completely understandable and appropriate. Occasionally there are those who, once they emerge, draw breath and then head back in to guide others out. A few weeks ago you may have logged into our live panel, Voices from the Streets. If you did you would have seen one of our visitors Leon, nervous at first, talk about his lived experience of homelessness which quickly became a passionate account of his journey. Well, my friend Leon has a heart that beats for others and has signed up for Wayside Chapel’s fundraising walk, Long Walk Home. Now that he is housed, he wants to pay it forward and give a helping hand to his brothers and sisters who still live on our streets, so he is walking 28km over 7 days from Saturday 2 October – Friday 8 October. You can support Leon by donating to his fundraising page here. Or sign up and walk virtually on a path of your own choosing over the week, in solidarity with Leon by joining the Wayside Chapel’s Super Team (Leon is our team captain!)

Thanks for walking with us our precious Inner Circle,


Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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