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NSW Local Hero helps celebrate 50 years of The Wayside Chapel
NSW Local Hero for 2014, Reverend Graham Long will lead the 50th anniversary celebrations of The Wayside Chapel with a huge street carnival on Sunday, 13 April.
Rev Long has been CEO and Pastor of the much-loved Sydney charity for ten years and was instrumental in restoring The Wayside Chapel to its former glory after financial ruin nearly threatened its closure.
The Wayside Chapel has grown from what started as a social experiment 50 years ago, to become one of Sydney’s most iconic features. Former pastors Ted Noffs and Ray Richmond paved the way in creating a place free from judgement, shining light on social issues including the plight of Aboriginals, homelessness, support for drug addiction and medically supervised injecting centres.
However, in 2007 The Wayside Chapel was in danger of closing its doors forever; more than 40 years providing service to Sydney’s marginalised had taken its toll on the building. Unwilling to see it close, Rev. Long embarked on an ambitious campaign to raise the funds to save it. In 2012, after raising $8.2 million, The Wayside Chapel opened its doors again.
Rev. Long says he can’t wait to mark this milestone with those who’ve allowed them to reach it, “our 50th birthday marks a wondrous moment as we pause with deep gratitude for the past before launching with hope into the future. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to celebrate those who’ve invested so much time, money and faith into its survival than with an event the whole community can enjoy.”
“It’s been 50 years since Ted Noffs first walked into what was just an apartment building and started The Wayside Chapel. Half a century later The Wayside Chapel is needed more than ever with homelessness and mental health issues on the rise along with an increasing sense of loneliness being felt by people from all walks of life. We really couldn’t be more honoured to embark on another 50 years of creating community under the banner ‘love over hate’.” added Rev. Graham Long.
The street carnival kicks off with a special church service at 10am led by Rev. Graham Long, Pastor and CEO of The Wayside Chapel, followed by a range of festivities for the whole family to enjoy. There will be a jumping castle, petting zoo, 60s dress up booth, art installations, cooking demonstrations by Wayside ambassador Indira Naidoo, Devonshire tea on the balcony, gardening and beekeeping workshops on the rooftop and a photo and art exhibition.
For more details about the day, visit the website.