Dear Inner Circle,

In another time, one of our staff members once worked for a racist regime. As a little boy, he was raised a racist. Eventually he entered a military force that trained him and rewarded him for unleashing hate and devastation in the cause of the racist regime. In his elite unit, there was one group hated even more than black people and that group was the white people who aided the blacks. He was taught that these people had turned their backs on their own kind. Our staff member has come such a long way. To see the affection he has for our Aboriginal people is always breath-taking for anyone who knows his back story. Yesterday in one of his tour groups, there was a person from his old country and a leader of the despised group that aided black people. Years ago he would have been greatly rewarded for this person’s head. What a situation! At the end of the session these two people rejoiced in the life they shared and the lady asked our staff member if they could hug. That image will never leave me. Right there was our vision embodied of ‘Love Over Hate’.

The other night I was walking past the Gazebo in Potts Point on my way to the car. I saw what looked like a young man placing a curse on a plant near the entrance to the bar. He was pacing from side to side and waving his finger while a torrent of words that sounded like abuse, flowed. I went a little closer to see if I knew the fellow or if I could help in some way. Close up, it was clear that I was witnessing a domestic argument. From what he was saying it seems that the plant had been sleeping around and he’d caught it out. The funny thing was that the wind was strong enough to make the plant shake, as if in response to the man’s fury. I figured I had no evidence of the plant’s unfaithfulness or otherwise and it was better for me just to walk past.

From time to time a member of the community will make an appointment to, “sort out the religious thing”. As a guru, I make a great circus clown. When someone comes professing an open mind and asks me to explain, “it”, I’m generally lost for words. The mystery of life, which at times we know, is no less a mystery when it has become present to us. Although we “know” it, we acquire no knowledge from it. A riddle has not been solved and there is no solution. What I’d say to the religious is, we constantly pray, “Thy will be done” because it can only be, “done”. What I say to those who wonder about such things is, “God doesn’t care what anyone believes. Salvation comes through the feet, not the head.”

Wayside is looking to launch an ambitious social enterprise in the coming months called the Heart Cafe in Bondi, which will also provide traineeships for at-risk youth. We are looking for a talented Cafe Manager who will be responsible for leading the team in the day-to-day operations of the cafe. If you have experience in a senior role as a Cafe/Restaurant Manager and excellent people management, teamwork and organisational skills, we would love for you to apply here.

All at Wayside grew to love, not just our beloved Dame Marie Bashir, but her dear husband, Sir Nicholas Shehadie. We loved his sense of humour and his devotion to his extraordinary wife. What a life well lived! I’ll be at the funeral representing all of Wayside, including this inner circle.

It’s been one of those weeks where someone seems to have pressed the fast forward button. This note is mostly written on the run and I’m thankful for so many who are prepared to read of our work. You are our secret weapon.

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


Rev Graham Long
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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