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Christopher Hughes, Melbourne, Australia (English)

Chris with his wife, Moira Darling.

My name is Christopher Hughes, but mostly I am referred to as Chris. I am 48 years old and live in Kyneton, Victoria in Australia. Kyneton is a small town of about 6000 people about 65kms north west of Melbourne. I live there with my wife Moira Darling. I have a sister two years younger than me and my father who is still alive and they both live in Sydney. I still have relatives I visit in Liverpool England , where I was born and lived until emigrating with my immediate family to Australia when I was 4years old.

I commute daily to Melbourne for work. I work as an Education officer for the Australian Council of Trade Unions. I have been an activist union member throughout my working life and see unionism as a way for workers to learn how to work collectively to better their lives both at work and in their broader community.

My wife and I belong to the local Transition Hub group that promotes and assists local communities build resilience to a post peak oil world and deal with the effects of climate change and a shift to a more sustainable way of living. We hold film nights, attend community groups and provide resources for interested people . The Hub has supported the development of an edible gardens group and holds garden gatherings to assist people in learning about and implementing a permaculture approach to gardening. I am on a very steep learning curve as a person that grew up in the inner city and only moved to the country 3 years ago. My wife and others have been good teachers in making this transition.

Like my wife I am a convinced Quaker ( meaning I became a Quaker by choice rather than being born one ) of 10 years and through Quakerism I have continued my life long interested and commitment to building a peaceful, inclusive world for all people. Quaker processes has provided me with a spiritual practice that helps me bring my spiritual beliefs into being and processes to assist me become the change I wish to see in the world, Though I have a long way to go in achieving this.

I am a volunteer facilitator in the Alternatives to Violence program (AVP) and participate in about 2-3 Community courses a year mostly basic and advanced courses. The photo to the left was from a prison visit I participated in with other AVP facilitators at the Regional AVP gathering in Perth in 2012 where I also participated in a Trauma Healing workshop lead by Nadine Hoover .

The photo to the right was taken at the completion of a workshop on connecting with Australia’s First peoples. I am a co convenor of the Yearly Meeting First Nations Peoples concerns committee, which hopes to inform Quakers and others in how we can build right relationships with Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Previous and current Australian government policy as well as the behaviours and attitudes of businesses and most Australia citizens have resulted in many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffering from poverty, poor health, high suicide and prison rated and intergenerational trauma, I hope to be a party to changing this situation into the future.

I try to bring peace within my household, family and community by seeking a nonviolent solution, showing empathy for the suffering of others and working with them in achieving a positive outcome for all. What I value in a friend is honesty and commitment to the relationship. What gives my life meaning is to try and do the right thing. I feel called to participate in the Friends Peace Team visitation to Indonesia and see where that leads me.

In peace and gratitude, Chris Hughes