Dear Inner Circle,

What we love changes. There was a time long ago in my life when wet weather days and nights like the ones we’ve had in Sydney in the last couple days would have seen me gleefully crawling up into bed with a hot cuppa and good book, I loved them. A couple of nights ago as I walked through the building I saw a different kind of love in action, it looked like a frenzy of activity as plans were being made for the night of storms ahead. It looked like extra blankets and clothing being handed out. It looked like people sharing their “secret spots” where it was the driest and least wind exposed for sleeping. It looked like one of our regulars running around giving his mobile number out to everyone “if you get stuck call me and we can huddle together to stay warm”. Could there be more generous acts than that? Yesterday morning after the deluge had really hit, love looked like quick access to our warm showers, dry towels, fresh clothes and hot breakfasts. Can you really imagine how hard it would be to live on the streets and not to have a roof over your head in this weather? What I see is absolute resilience and willingness of those on the streets to help others even in the toughest times. Love looks quite different to me now and I’m a lot richer for it.

Lots of little love hearts
Last weekend all who have been in the building have been uplifted by a new choir practising in the building. There is a little girl who we have seen quite regularly of late and she is often dressed as a superhero. When I’ve asked who she is, she has looked at me like I must have been blind or a little slow. “I’m Woman Wonder!” For the first time, I saw little miss Wonder Woman sit still. She was truly captured by the wonder of the choir and it wasn’t just our little superhero who was dazzled, it was all of us in the room who were similarly captivated by the beautiful sounds together. 

I was also recently invited to conduct a funeral service for someone from the transgender community. About 20 women and the deceased’s dog all huddled together in our chapel to mourn her passing and to pay tribute to a life lived to the full. What a character she was. There were lots of stories that were told about her life. One such colourful story recounted a time when she was asked to leave a women’s refuge when it was discovered she was running an escort agency from within it – the staff only found this out because her certificate of business registration arrived in their mail. When confronted she argued that she was running a perfectly legal social enterprise that was empowering and employing women. Did I mention that we certainly have some characters in Kings Cross? We love them all.  

Just over a month ago I received the privilege of being invited to give a TEDx Talk at 1 Bligh St, it was an opportunity to share a little of what got Lisa and I started on a journey that has led us all the way to Wayside Chapel. It has not been a path marked by striving to be higher, faster and stronger, but rather an opportunity to move the other way, to be lower, slower and weaker and able to respond to the world as it is, rather than what we all expect or constantly aspire for it to be. As we move towards the silly season, I ask you to slow down and pause to really think about what things mean most to you. You can view my TEDx Talk here.

Thanks for being part of the Inner Circle.

Jon

Jon Owen
Pastor & CEO
Wayside Chapel

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