Our Minister – A Personal View

I was appointed Minister of this chapel in January 2009, but have been a member of the congregation since 1996 – thus experiencing ‘both sides of the fence’! Raised in a non-conformist Christian church, I drifted away in early adulthood – looking for a community that would allow me to explore my doubts and make up my own mind on matters of faith – and this chapel, and the wider Unitarian movement provided the space to do that.

In 2012 I qualified as a Unitarian minister, having trained at Harris Manchester College, Oxford and gained a license in theology via Trinity Saint David. It feels a privilege to now be the minister of this liberal faith community that has ministered to me in so many ways over the years.

Whilst my roots lie within the Christian tradition, I am also nourished by wisdom drawn from other religions and humanist perspectives. One of the great joys of my role is the freedom to create services of worship drawing on a rich heritage of sources – and I think this is what makes the Unitarian church unique. Week after week, we gather to listen and share – people from different perspectives – agnostic, Christian, Buddhist, humanist – but beyond the labels, we are united in our commitment to honest search on the spiritual path and shared values.

Previous to this role, I had a varied career working with special-needs adults, teaching in further education, facilitating creative therapy groups and more recently working as a counsellor within the NHS. In these jobs I had the privilege of listening to people’s varied life stories and was struck by how many, whilst not considering themselves ‘religious’, nevertheless had questions about the meaning of life and expressed a spirituality that could not always find an outlet within orthodox religion. When I first discovered the Unitarian church, my only regret was that I had not known about it years before – and when I talk to others, they say the same. It seems there are many people out there who are ‘Unitarian without knowing it’ – maybe you are one of them? If so, I hope you will join us – our community welcomes newcomers and is enriched by the fresh perspectives offered by those who come through our door. If you would like more information, or have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Contact Sheena

Sheena can be contacted on: 01483 427204 or sheenagabriel@btinternet.com