REVEREND BRIAN J. KIELY
has been the minister at the Unitarian Church of Edmonton since
September of 1997. Before that he spent nine years serving a number
of congregations in British Columbia, including one started from
the ground up in 1990. His educational background includes a Master
of Divinity degree from our Unitarian Universalist seminary, Meadville/Lombard
Theological School, and a Master of Arts (religious studies) from
the University of Chicago.
Brian was born and raised in Montreal, growing up in a staunchly
Irish Catholic family. In his young adult years he came to doubt
his faith and began asking questions. His questions led him to the
Unitarian Church, where he found people willing to discuss religious
ideas openly and without concern for required beliefs.
In 1984 after an early career in journalism, photography and a bit
of theatre on the side, he found himself struggling with work-related
ethical dilemmas. He became more deeply involved in church life leading
to a decision to enter the ministry, an idea which first came to
him at a friend's ordination. Brian was ordained in the First Unitarian
Congregation of Toronto in 1988.
Like most ministers today, his education included courses in Unitarian
Universalist topics as well as world religions, sacred scriptures, church history, psychology
and sociology of religion and the arts of ministry. He has completed
a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, working as a hospital chaplain,
and completed a parish internship in Vancouver. His undergraduate
degree is in history.
In the Unitarian church, there is no required creedal statement,
meaning all are encouraged to work on their own personal beliefs.
Theologically Brian is a 'theistic humanist' meaning he has a deep sense of the spirit and of the divine, but that he does not
believe in a god that watches over us or that intervenes in our lives.
We must rely on our human abilities to solve our own problems, and
develop strong, trusting and supportive communities to help us along
Brian has served as editor of The Canadian Unitarian,
the national publication of the Canadian Unitarian Council, and was
the primary author and witness in a brief to the Canadian Senate
on the Council's position on euthanasia and assisted suicide. He
has recently authored a chapter for an upcoming book on everyday
spiritual practices on the subject of "Loving Partnership as
Brian has served as a chapter president of the minister's association,
and currently sits on a national commission studying the delivery
of congregational services. In Surrey, B.C. he wrote an occasional
newspaper column, chaired an multi denominational interfaith committee
and served on the board of a battered women's shelter.
In November 2007, Brian was elected President of the International Council of Unitarian Universalists.