i boast about counting Graham Long amongst my friends. i don’t expect anyone to know who Graham Long is but i look forward each week to his letter which might soon cease with his impending retirement. I copy and paste this week’s arrival because I know that some of you might find it heart-warming. There is a bit of sales pitching going on in it. Don’t be put off ….I assure you that Graham is a saint.
Dear Inner Circle,
Walking through the main street with Wayside’s Assistant Pastor, Jon Owen yesterday, a woman yelled out, “Hey! You’re too sexy to be a priest!” I’ve got a sneaking suspicion she was talking to Jon.
If you’re inclined to be obsessive, Wayside is a place that will either cure you or send you around the bend. To this day, significant things appear and no-one knows where they came from and significant things disappear and no-one knows where they went. In the little kitchen near my office, one of our staff members was lamenting that a piece of her property had disappeared. She told me how she had spent good money on this item and then labelled it in such a way that no one could pick it up and mistake that it wasn’t her property or that it should be removed from this particular kitchenette. I really desired to share her bewilderment and rage but instead I confessed that I’d just raided the fridge and taken a piece of bread, toasted it and raided someone’s butter from the fridge and then opened someone’s Wayside honey. It was lunch and I was still eating it. I could hardly feel indignant with my hands full of stolen goods.
A young, handsome, fit looking fellow lost his life this week at a nearby place for backpackers. I conducted the funeral at Wayside and so had the opportunity to meet his parents and two teenage children. He was an only child and his mother and father were devastated by this loss. On the day before the funeral, I offered each of them the option to speak the following day and although the others were too grief-stricken, the father wanted to speak. At the time he was struggling to get any words out and I doubted his capacity to speak in front of a hundred or so people who would gather at the funeral the next day. Yesterday before the funeral, this precious man visited the backpacker’s place and asked if he could lay on the bed where his son’s life ebbed away. He stayed on the bed until he believed he had a strong connection with his boy and a sense that his boy was OK. At the funeral he shared his broken heart with confidence and love. I was and remain in awe of the grace and strength of this beautiful man.
Many times I’ve conducted a wedding that had no witnesses and so I’ve just grabbed staff members or volunteers who happened to be in the right place at the right time. At yesterday’s funeral, no family members wanted to carry the coffin from the chapel out to the waiting hearse. I ran up to our marketing team and said, “I need pallbearers!” Four of our people just stopped what they were doing and carried the coffin with the same kind of care they would exercise for a member of their own family. Wayside staff and volunteers are the best.
On Valentine’s Day each year we usually ask people to donate money to help us buy underwear for the daily and constant stream of people who rely on us for life’s necessities. Our theme is “nothing says I love you like a clean pair of undies”. This year, our stocks of undies are healthy so we’re not asking for money! We’re asking for good, clean clothes. If it is time you had a bit of a clean out and wouldn’t mind giving your excess clothes to someone who couldn’t buy them, we’d love to accept them. Reg Mombassa, the famous Mambo and ex Mental As Anything band member, has designed a card especially for this occasion. If you donate some clothes, we’ll gladly send a Valentine’s e-card to your loved one this Valentine’s Day. Your special someone will receive an e-card and they’ll love you for giving away your clothes to someone in need. For more details check here.
As a special thank you for your donation we will also be inviting you to attend a special free behind-the-scenes tour of Wayside Chapel on Valentine’s Day, Wednesday 14 February at our Kings Cross and Bondi locations. Email us here to register your interest.
That’s about it. Thanks for being part of our inner circle,
Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram LinkedIn Website
The Wayside Chapel
PO Box 66, Potts Point NSW 1335