The face on the cover tells a thousand stories without uttering a word: Love Over Hate just inside the cover, makes a statement from a man who has seen it all, it’s there in his eyes. He has seen the hate and then he has felt the love.
Detailed throughout the book, captured in black and white so there can be no distraction when you view the photographs, are the people seen on the streets every day. The people who have been dealt a rough hand by life one way or the other, the people who, should things have been different would not perhaps be gracing the pages of this incredibly joyful book, that in a strange a way celebrates life; celebrates that there are people everywhere in all walks of life who are good, kind caring people who have come to, or through, or are a part of the amazing and loving work carried out daily by the Wayside Chapel in the Kings Cross area of Sydney.
Established back in 1964 the Chapel began providing help for those in need. The care and love offered was unconditional. Over the years this unique Chapel has carved its place, not just in Sydney but into the history and folkloric of Australia.
Many of the people who come to the Chapel seeking help have lived other lives, but discovered that the slide to the bottom, to life on the unforgiving streets, was not very far to fall at all. Their life span is not long and as is stated by Graham Long, everyone captured in this book is still alive, but many of the others in the previous two books have long since passed on.
Looking at the magnificent pictures of both the visitors and volunteers who make up the family that is the Wayside Chapel, presents you with many emotions; sadness, love, hope and reflection, perhaps reflection being the most important aspect, in that ‘but by the grace of God, there to could be I.’
Although the Chapel was created in 1964 it fell on hard times and when Graham Long accepted the challenge of Pastor, he had little idea of what he was taking on. A building which had seen better days, a few staff, a few ‘disconnected’ volunteers and the needs of a community people had forgotten. Against great odds, he and his staff of volunteers have gone on to rebuild, reconstruct and to continue to carry out the work of offering hope and unconditional love to all who come this way.
Pages carry magnificent black and white photos of someone; a group or a family, occasionally a couple. Each of these photos comes with a story taken from the weekly note ‘Inner Circle’. Each of the stories paints yet another picture of life on the ‘other side’, life a so many know as their only existence, but also a life that offers hope to some, caring to others and companionship when times get tougher than usual.
The stories are perhaps more powerful than the pictures, but then stop and take a really close look at the people portrayed and you will find what you discover comes with a humbleness that should be remembered.
Be captured by the journey, stand in awe of the work being carried out, the people, the very many people, the haves, the have nots, the ordinary and the extraordinary, who have come together to create what has to be not just a shining light in Sydney, but an shining, living, daily example of Love Over Hate that is there every day, all year round.
|Publisher||New South Publications|
|Distributor||New South Books|
|Artists||Photographer: Gary Heery|