Simply the Best

Dear Inner Circle

The cold has descended upon our streets and the results of the latest Sydney Street Count has confirmed what we already know to be true. After a few years of a downwards trend there has been a spike in the numbers of people sleeping rough on our streets. At the moment it is a common sight to see the Wayside courtyard full of people soaking up the sun which thankfully still carries a bit of warmth in it. Many attempt to stretch out their weary bodies after another night of curling up tightly on makeshift beds or cardboard to maintain warmth during these cold nights. Is there a word that encompasses the feeling of both gratitude and sadness? There is gratitude that we are there, greeting them with love and a good measure of patient tenderness, as some occasionally lash out in exhaustion, and sadness that our country seemingly can’t provide a roof for everyone in it. If you find the word, please let me know.

Today marks the first day of winter. Rarely do I ask something directly of you, and even then it is with hesitation. Could you please help us continue being there for those who need us the most by making a donation to our Winter Appeal. A few dollars given in love, will make a huge difference. Click here to make a donation.

The word companion really means “to share bread with” and is the best pathway to compassion. All meals served are shared in our community, meaning after the food is served, we all sit together. Last week we all were sharing our sadness at the death of Tina Turner, when all of a sudden an impromptu rendition of “Simply the Best” began. Everyone joined in together at the top of their lungs and I glanced over at a young man, relatively new to us, whose eyes speak of a heavy sadness that has enveloped him as his life fell apart over the past year. Much to my surprise and delight, a great big, gorgeous smile broke out across his face. As we left, I quietly told him how good it was to see his face light up. He agreed, “it’s been a long time between smiles Jon, but the people and the love here at Wayside is slowly bringing them back.”

Last night our motley crew of a community packed in together in the chapel, with the State of Origin in full swing on our big screen. They call NRL the people’s game. Well, you can’t get any more down to earth than the screaming that went on. A few of our community elders requested pies and sauce so we delivered. Some others wanted streamers, to make it look like a party. Sadly, all the stores were sold out, so I couldn’t resist making the room full of grown men a platter of fairy bread to fuel the party vibe. When my wife Lisa and I were running crisis services out of our home in the west, the State of Origin matches were brutal nights, with alcohol-fueled violence reaching a fever pitch. To sit in a room full of men and women with the only highs being sugar rushes and laughter, was a beautiful way to celebrate the ways that life can be different by the Wayside.

Thanks for being part of our Inner Circle,


Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel


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