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Friday, November 18, 2011

From the Wayside Chapel by Graham Long

Dear Inner Circle,
I could see an expression of pain on a young face that walked toward me on Sunday morning. Something looked quite wrong but it was 5 minutes to 10am and people were sitting in our Chapel waiting for our little service to begin. Luckily, our Una (a very skilled and safe pair of hands) walked past and I was able to point this young fellow out to her and mention that she should check to see if he was okay. "Can I see you for a minute?" said a voice from behind me. I shouldn't confess this, but I was annoyed at another distraction and my mind was churning when it needed to be still and able to make connection with those who had gathered in the Chapel. "I've spoken to my mum last night", he said, "and I'm good to go". "What do you mean that, 'you're good to go?'" I asked. "Well, I reckon I can just about see that everyone, including my mum, would be better off without me". I know this young fellow well enough to know that he was talking about ending his life. I asked if he wouldn't mind hanging around until after the service had finished and he agreed. Between him and the door of the Chapel was a young woman laying down on the floor with another woman stroking her face and showing great care. I was trying to get into the Chapel but the woman laying down said, "You better get your water ready for christening, Graham, because I'm pregnant." My heart sank and my limbs became heavy. I could hardly get my head around the immensity of difficulties that would come for this girl and for her baby. I walked into the Chapel just in time to say, "Let us pray". I don't know what I prayed but I was thinking, "Dear Lord, I hope you're awake." I could see by this time that the young man with the pained look had taken a massive seizure. 
There is a film premiere that I'd love you to come and see. The movie is called 'X' and it tells a story based right here on our streets of Kings Cross. The story is "tough" to say the least and there is no lack of confrontation with the seedy, sexy, wicked side of Sydney’s underbelly; never-the-less, it doesn't glamourise the wrong things and indeed it tells a story of escape into life. It's a powerful Australian film, skilfuly made. The proceeds of the premiere will benefit our work. Treat yourself and help us in the process. It’s on Tuesday 29th of November at 7.30pm at the Chauvel Cinemas at Paddington Town Hall. You can buy your tickets here. Also, this Saturday night in our new theatre, Deborah Dicembre is performing her new CD and you can buy tickets to that concert right here.
The Wayside Warrior of the Week award needs to be shared on this occasion... (drum roll... opening the envelope...) Firstly, our Simon from the Cafe has travelled 1350km around Cambodia on a tuk tuk to fund training for our visitors and volunteers as baristas. This champion of a man endured flat tyres, a jack knife, numerous near misses in Cambodian traffic, several bouts of gastro, 5 river crossings and all of this wearing ladies pyjamas (I can only tell this story not explain it entirely). This dear man completed this epic adventure and has already raised over $2,000 toward his goal of $3,000. You can reward this amazing selfless act here. The other Wayside Warrior of the Week award goes to Father Steve Sinn, who finishes his ministry at St Canice's Catholic Church after 18 years. This dear, humble, holy giant has been my inspiration on many occasions and I salute him and thank him for the incalculable gift of love that he's made to Kings Cross over all these years.
Our latest, award-winning ‘On the Verge’ is out this week. This is our hard copy newsletter that comes to your letterbox. It’s free and we're quite proud of it. If you don't get it and you'd like to, just send me your postal address by return email and we'll get it to you promptly.
There'll be no note next week. Our son's widow is to be married on Sunday. I'm bursting with love for our dear Sarah who is to marry Greame, who is, to say the least, an exceptional man. Sarah has asked me to walk her down the aisle; I'm teary as I write because of the unspeakable honour that I've been given. Following the wedding, Robyn and I are going to take the girls to Darwin (while mum is on her honeymoon) for the week so we can see crocodiles jump out of the water. I can't tell you how much trouble I'll be in if there are no crocodiles jumping out of the water next week.
One little story of the kids and I'll go. I was watching the two little girls playing "chasing" in the park. The 6 year old was gaining on the 4 year old even though she had skilfully ducked around swings and monkey bars. Within in just a few feet of being caught, the 4 year old stopped and went as stiff as a post. "Invisible" she yelled. "Awww, not fair" said the 6 year old!
Thanks for being part of this Inner Circle, I'll be back with more on Thursday week.
Rev Graham Long
The Wayside Chapel
Kings Cross

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