Dear Inner Circle,It’s worth coming to Wayside just to experience the goodwill at the front desks of our Community Service Centres. Here, you will witness some of the most stunning acts of love that can rejuvenate even the most cynical among us, restoring faith in the power of humanity. The initial greeting for anyone coming in will most likely come from one of our wonderful volunteers, ready with a big smile and a warm welcome. Many of these vollies take pride in adding a small, personal touch to their shift. Some bake treats to share, or bring something thoughtful in for someone who has lingered in their heart or decorate the front desk with splash of colour. This spot is where a thousand acts of meaning-making are sent out into the world, all conveying that no one is here to manage you, but rather to meet you, greet you and invite you back into the world we create together through love.
Just beside our front desk at both of our Kings Cross and Bondi Beach locations, we’ve mounted cork message boards. Here, we invite people to handwrite notes for others which they can fold and pin. We leave them there for as long as it takes. Some are functional, like ‘meet me here’, but others speak of the heights and the depths of the human experience. One day, I noticed a note pinned for someone who I had recently buried. Sneaking a look, I found the script was broken and shaky, yet the message was as clear and strong as it was weak and vulnerable: “Jim, this is mum, I will always love you my darling son.” What could be more moving than a mother’s heart reaching out to an estranged child?
One of our regulars comes in most mornings asking, “Are there any notes for me here?” She’s undeniably one of the world’s greatest sweethearts. There always is a message there for her. She reads it, puts it back, and inquires again on her next visit. Once, our ambassador, Claudia Karvan, who was doing a shift on the front desk, asked her who wrote it. She replied, “Me! I wrote it for myself.” Despite knowing rejection, betrayal, and abuse, she has one of the most tender hearts I know. Perhaps we all should seriously consider writing more “notes to self”!
I must admit, Halloween has been something I have only come around to slowly. But seeing the joy it brings and the way it reconnects community members across our nation, I am now a convert. We need more rituals of connection and celebration to re-bind us. It was a delightful sight to see face-painting, dress-ups, and of course far too many lollies being shared this week at Wayside. There were witches, a few pumpkin heads and even a crocodile ready to mark the occasion with celebration, bringing smiles to faces that dearly needed it.Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle,
Rev. Jon OwenWayside Chapel 2022-2023 Annual Report is now available. Looking back, we see a year interspersed with challenges and remarkable achievements – I encourage you to have a read. We are truly proud of the dedicated efforts of our staff and volunteers who have poured their hearts into supporting our incredible community.CEO & Pastor Wayside Chapel P.S We’re pleased to share that our