Dear Inner Circle,

Last week as I sat to eat lunch in the cafe downstairs, there was a pleasant atmosphere and the place was buzzing with conversations. I like to observe the amazing interactions that occur here, but often find I am soon drawn into table discussions that range from current affairs to philosophy and everything in between. Someone staring blankly into their phone is quite a rare sight, as many are having their phones recharged by our volunteers at the front desk. Away from their devices, they seek another type of connection; we live in a visual culture, but we so rarely see the faces in front of us. I was soon invited into a game of Scrabble. I don’t like losing yet was soundly trounced. This defeat cost me a 50c cup of tea, but I gained the richest laughter that lifted my whole day.

You’ve got to love spending time in the cafe, it’s common to be sitting in the middle of three one-sided conversations happening all at the same time. Recently I witnessed another such ‘conversation’. A woman in a distressed state was ‘conversing’ with one of our beautiful volunteers at the front desk. As others came in for assistance, she would take a few paces back, wait patiently and after the other person had been attended to, then she would launch straight back in, right where she had left off. She maintained this ‘one-sided’ conversation, which meant a lot to her, for what felt like a whole afternoon. Her intensity lessened as the time past. I wonder if our volunteer realised what a wonderful gift they’d given this woman. I guess love is not possible without patience and I’m sure I witnessed extraordinary love and patience exercised for the sake of one dear distressed person.

Hope comes from the future and not from the past. If you don’t believe me, ask a couple that is newly in love as they anticipate a new future together. A few weeks ago, we were talking with a dear fella who has received some news from his doctor that he needs to lose some weight fast. Everyone who meets this gentleman soon comes to care for him. This good-hearted man received this advice with all the urgency that was intended by his doctor. Enter two local angels who run a cycle studio in the building behind Wayside. They met this man and have now started to help him get his health back. The journey has begun and we are all cheering him on. There is a long way to go but he’s beginning to believe in a healthier version of himself. He sends me messages reporting his progress. The key to sustaining hope is the ability to see and celebrate these victories, both the big and the small, as we gain our focus towards the future.

Finally, you may be aware Wayside’s Pastor Emeritus, Reverend Graham Long, is a keen student of philosophy. He holds the belief that the discussion of philosophy shouldn’t be reserved for the academics and the elite, it should be open to everyone. So, to you, our Inner Circle, we invite you to our very special event series “Gutter Philosophy” with Reverend Graham Long. Over three consecutive Tuesdays, starting 17 September, our self-described “Grandfather” will speak on the big questions on life, the self and society. We are kicking it off with the discussion of the question “Can we be certain of anything?” based on the teachings of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Intrigued? Find out more and buy tickets here. As always, seats are strictly limited.

Thanks for being part of the Inner Circle,

Jon

Jon Owen 
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

Ps. We are currently looking for two people to join our Wayside Chapel team in the roles of Cafe Coordinator and Regular Giving & Donor Care Coordinators. Find out more here.

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