The Spirit That Hovers

Dear Inner Circle,

In 2007 we packed up our entire lives, including two toddlers into our Tarago to move from Melbourne to Sydney. We had a heart full of dreams for our next season in Mount Druitt, but there were no hard plans, no accommodation arranged, and just a few phone numbers scrawled on a piece of paper. If life is a daring adventure, then we were going by the seat of our pants, the only thing we were certain of was our trajectory. Fast forward a few months and we were moving into our very own home. It was a house marked for demolition after they couldn’t find anyone who wanted to live in it, but for us it was a sign of good things to come.

Doubt quickly morphed into a sense of certainty; I was convinced we were going to grow old here. Thankfully a wise mentor took me aside and set me straight, “Never be so arrogant as to think you’ll be here forever or that you hold all the answers to the questions on this community’s heart. Your only job for the first few years is to shut up, and just listen — to the cries, the pains, and the whispers of the spirit over this land. Discern the promises held for this place, and then work as hard as you can to inch those promises a little closer to fulfillment in the short time you have allotted. Know that you will not finish the task, but neither are you free to stand aside from it.”

What wisdom! Life around us flourishes when we find ourselves as necessary, significant but not central to it all. There is power in that, which seems like a paradox.

For over 65,000 years, the First Peoples of Australia have maintained an unbroken connection to this land, its stories, and its spirit. Yet our 122-year-old Constitution remains silent, not reflecting or recognising this ancient culture. Long before any of us called this place home there was a spirit over this land.

Australia’s history, while rich, carries with it painful memories and moments of deep injustice. The scars from families torn apart and policies born out of prejudice are evident. However, the present moment offers us an opportunity to amend. A simple, yet profound request stands before us: to recognise First Nations’ people by saying YES to supporting their voice in the Constitution. The invaluable insights and deep wisdom of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will finally be used to advise on issues that impact their lives, leading to more informed government decisions.

There’s an unfulfilled promise in our nation’s story, a gap in our shared history. Right now, we have the chance to bridge it together. This Referendum is our moment – to listen, respect, and act on the Uluru Statement from the Heart that encapsulates years of hopes and desires.

It comes from the heart. Let it speak to your heart. 

This Saturday, I urge each of you to choose love over hate. Say a resounding YES to the recognition and inclusion of the First Nations in our Constitution.

Together we can make history.

Thank you for being part of our Inner Circle,


Rev. Jon Owen
CEO & Pastor
Wayside Chapel

P.S. In the spirit of unity, last Saturday’s Long Walk Home saw 600 supporters, 100 volunteers and staff, and our remarkable visitor ambassadors Scott and Byron walk 28km together in the shoes of those living on our streets. My watch told me I walked 52,231 steps, but it didn’t measure the depth of connections forged, the warmth of the high fives or the love that reverberated with every step. Big love to all those joining from across Australia this week – proving that no distance can hinder our shared journey.


Listen to the audio recording here:

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One Response

  1. Thank you. I used to live in Sydney, not to far from The Wayside Chapel. Now I live in Tasmania, Australia. Even though some of us said YES, including me, there will be a way to honour and join our beautiful First Nations.

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