Dear Inner Circle,

After a few weeks off it is good to be back by the Wayside. I had a great break with the family and I was grateful for the opportunity to take an extended snapshot of our kids as they sprint through their teenage years – at a pace, I am far from happy about. They are increasingly becoming pretty amazing human beings and I’m lucky they still tolerate hanging out with their increasingly daggy Dad.

During a recent chapel service, Rev Graham Long posed a philosophical question. You’re in a car driving down a hill and the brakes fail. You begin hurtling down the hill and up ahead there are four road workers. There is an option to divert the car into a laneway, however down that laneway is a young boy playing with a ball. The ethical question is this: do you continue the path straight, hitting the four road workers, or do you divert the car and hit one young boy? A difficult ethical dilemma. At the service, the answers started pouring in. A seven-year-old boy, who has already experienced more loss than many adults would have in their lives, threw up his hand and shouted: “I would pull the biggest screechie donut ever!” Which I am pretty sure means pulling up the handbrake as hard as he could (how he knows that is a matter for another day!) in an attempt to turn around to avoid disaster. What an awesome response! The genius of his answer lay in his rejection of the problems’ premise, the idea that fate is inevitable. He is now the Honorary Patron Saint of Wayside, Saint Screechie because we refuse to believe that anyone is condemned by the worst moments of their life. We are urged on in the hope that if a connection happens, then new possibilities are born, and together we can do everything to “pull the handbrake” on destruction. Around here we sometimes see moments of turning in people’s lives towards a life driven by the future rather than condemned by the past, and that is a moment to behold when hope overtakes.

A staff member and visitor sit outside Wayside Kings Cross
There’s value in never giving up. While we were away I received a message via Facebook from someone we had lost touch with years ago, after we had helped taken him in off the streets. He had fled a war zone and was seeking asylum in our country after his family had been ambushed and executed in a military-sponsored act of terrorism. With the clothes on his back he ran and kept on running until he somehow found himself in Australia at precisely the wrong moment in history. He was found to be a refugee, but due to his method of entry into our country, his application for settlement was refused. It was a dark time as the cruelty of this decision weighed upon him. However he refused to give up and surrounded himself with people who stood by him and did everything possible to change the decision – and collectively they prevailed. He was messaging me thanks for being in his corner. I thanked him for the reminder.

Speaking of awesome kids, I just had the honour of meeting two amazing five-year-olds. Over the weekend they decided to put all of their toys out front of their house to hold a garage sale. The sign they displayed read “Garage Sale for Hom Lis Pipall”. They just skipped into our building and into our hearts in Kings Cross to present us with the proceeds of their endeavours. They are from families that don’t hide away from the needs of their community. So these two cherubs decided they wanted to do something for the people they have seen sleeping on the streets near their house. They learnt that making a difference means a little hard work and sacrifice. I wish I could introduce them to a few of our nation’s leaders who think we have a few more pressing priorities right now.

Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle,

Jon

Jon Owen
CEO/Pastor
Wayside Chapel

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