Our Minister

Rev Maud Robinson writes:
I have worked as a minister since 2007, my first year with a large Unitarian Universalist church near Boston, USA, then for eight years with Unitarians in Edinburgh, followed by a short ministry with Cardiff Unitarians before being called to minister with Underbank Unitarians in Sheffield. My primary focus in ministry is in walking with others on a spiritual path, where very often 'being' is more important than 'doing.' I am clear in my own attachment to the word God to describe that which upholds and inspires us, but am mindful that this is a word with which some people struggle and in public discourse I use broad and open language.

I don't know what the word God means, other than a deep and intangible part of the universe beyond physical apprehension. I believe that a connection is possible between the deepest part of human beings and that which some call God. I believe that the human soul, when tuned into the deepest part of the universe, is capable of greater strength and beauty and courage than often we give it credit for. In my experience the unknowable can be glimpsed through the glass darkly often at unexpected moments, but only if one is open to receiving these glimpses. This is the greatest value of communal worship, to remind ourselves of and prepare ourselves for this possibility and to support each other in our own individual questing.

I believe that through prayer and through silence, through work well done and through good community we can tap into the communal strength of the universe - into God. I believe that prayer or meditation and not intellectual discourse is at the centre of worship. Prayer can take the form of formal words, of silence, of singing and chanting and sometimes of reaching out and touching another person.

I believe that true spiritual life is about community, about coming together to give thanks for the riches of our lives, to support each other in times of trouble and to endeavour to reach outwards beyond our own concerns and to contribute in some small way to a damaged world.

I attempt to be perceptive to what a congregation needs to move forward as a community of mutually supportive people. Spiritual leadership is predominately about empowering people to embark on, or continue on, their own spiritual exploration.

My aim is to make myself available to give spiritual and sometimes practical support to members of a congregation in times of distress such as bereavement and illness. In calmer times I want to provide a sounding board for others to explore their own spiritual journeying.

I am a listener and a communicator. In the past I've worked as an actor, a teacher and as Communications Officer for the Irish College of General Practitioners. During my training for ministry I did a month's placement with Cornish Hospices, and care for those approaching their own death and the bereaved is work to which I feel particularly drawn.

I am deeply interested in spiritual exploration and in nurturing spiritual development, but also in other people, in what motivates people. I am interested in people's ordinary lives as well as in their highest thoughts and aspirations. I empathise with people in distress, possibly more easily having suffered from depression myself for many years.

I am a flawed human being trying to make my way on a path towards spiritual understanding and generosity, as such I have some experience and insight into the path that brings many people to seek a spiritual space in their lives and feel that I have the capacity to share that experience and insight with others.