Graham Long, Pastor at Wayside Chapel, gave an invitation to reflection for conference delegate based on the values and work of his team.
He invited us to think about an alternative to “clinical” thinking which sees service users as “problems to fix”. At Wayside, Graham said the team tries to have “no secrets, no rush, no judgement, no cowboys and no complacency”.
Graham asked: what might be possible if we seek to meet as equals rather than fix? To understand rather than intervene? What might be possible if we view addiction as a symptom of a sick and inequitable society rather than seeing addiction as a sign of individual illness, pathology or failure? What if we are all the prisoners of a culture whose foundations remain unexamined and unquestioned?
Graham argued that the 90% of Wayside funding coming from private donations suggest that there is an appetite for this kind of work and the values that underlie it.