Dear Inner Circle,

Ever since we opened our doors weddings have played a deeply significant role in Wayside’s life and history. Some famous characters have tied the knot here, including one of the Bee Gees. These weddings have become a touchstone for many who visit us and speak fondly of the weddings of their parents and grandparents. In a time and place where unions were so tightly controlled by culture and clergy there was little room for love to squeeze its way through into the conversation, yet there was always room at Wayside. We only perform the occasional wedding here these days but there are still many moments where love shines brightly.

I sat with a young couple this week who, in their nervousness, were more focussed on their gorgeous little daughter than the paperwork I was helping them with. Both had tightly pulled down caps on and gave only in monosyllabic answers which I found a little frustrating until the young man looked at me and grinned. “You don’t remember me, do you?” Graciously he continued on before I could make a fool of myself. “It was in Juvie.” It all flooded back, this was a kid who just over a decade ago was intent on nothing but self-destruction. “I hated everything, until my daughter arrived, she’s changed everything.” It’s amazing how when we care for someone, the unfamiliar shoots of love can grow, even from a heart of apparent stone. “You talked about love, but I never believed it until I had someone to love, now I’ve got two!” Even his fiancé cracked a beautiful smile, what a beautiful reminder that love can make a way to flourish, even when there seems to be no way.

Speaking of love, it can be demonstrated in the smallest ways. For Valentine’s Day this Sunday, we are asking you to share the love with our most vulnerable by giving to our annual undies drive, because nothing says ‘I love you’ like a clean pair of undies”. Your donation will mean the world to people who are struggling, and allow us to provide new undies, necessities and dignity to the people who need it most throughout the year. Donate now.

So in a few weeks, we will see a further evolution for Kings Cross with the announcement that the lockout laws will be repealed. We have been here before, during and will remain here after these laws. I am so grateful for the way this neighbourhood preserves memory, even through change. This is a community that accepts diversity and places supports around vulnerability. Before the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre began we were losing a person a week to overdose, now we have needle-free streets and no deaths from overdoses. While it was saddening to see some calls in the media this week for its removal from “The Strip”, it was also heartening to hear the voices raised in unison and support for this wonderful service and the passionate people who save lives every day. We gladly add our voice to theirs.

Regardless of what Kings Cross looks like we are here with open doors and open arms for all the people we meet, rich or poor, as our mission of creating community with no ‘us and them’ grows stronger. With lessons learnt along the way, we will continue to bring love and care to the streets, as always.

Thanks for helping us share that love every day. Because of you, our beloved Inner Circle, we are ready, willing and grateful.

Jon

Jon Owen

Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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