I think this may have been Siôn Hughes’ first interview, which is good because it was my first one too. It went pretty well, I think, but mostly because interviewing someone who is intelligent, articulate and obviously good at what they do is not exactly hard work.
If you live in Melbourne CBD you will undoubtedly know Siôn, perhaps not personally but almost certainly by notoriety. If you haven’t read his blog, you will know him as the guy who writes the signs at the Welsh Church on La Trobe Street (see the photo gallery, below).
I wanted to meet him because I have long admired his ability to get people to think and, presumably also, to inspire action. Beyond inspiring writers to invite him for coffee, Siôn does plenty. The sign alone has an impressive reach – its most notorious message getting more than 4m hits.
But Siôn (pronounced Shawn) is most keen to inspire an awareness of the possibility of God and community in everyday life. This is why, amongst other things, he brings people together to contribute food for what is known as ‘Dinner with Friends’ on Sunday nights. The food is consumed by those who have no roof over their heads, of whom around 30 regularly attend.
Feeding the needy is what churches do but this church does it without expectation of reward. For Siôn and the community he represents, the journey is enough. However despite the access to online fame, being a minister is not all easy and he speaks of the challenge to be continually relevant to people’s lives. It’s easier of course when you have God on your side, but he lives in the possibility that lives will be changed through connection with what Mircea Eliade so neatly called ‘the sacred’.
Siôn’s dream is to create a community where people feel safe to be themselves. Suddenly Melbourne is a nicer place.
Wishing you Health and Happiness,