“My advisees often tell me that they are Unitarian Universalist evangelists. Rob might be my first Unitarian Universalist zealot, radically reinventing ministry for a new age from a place of connection and love.”
Rev. Dr. Meg Richardson, Starr King School for the Ministry
In a pluralistic, multicultural and multireligious world, I feel called to use my knowledge, talent and skills—and my voice—to lead our faith into the future. I am guided by our movement’s Principles and Sources, and I have frequently called on my fellow Unitarian Universalists to revisit them for strength—especially “direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder,” which I demonstrate through magic -- performing it, preaching it and teaching it.
The future of our faith embraces multiculturalism. In my sermons I call upon listeners to question their own reality but also wonder at the magnificence of the diversity of our existence. I try not to go for the usual. I like to surprise. That's the magician in me.
Beyond the pulpit, I see the future of Unitarian Universalism as highly collaborative and creative. UU MagicLab, a program I've taught since spring 2020, is an example of how I envision the future of our faith: innovative, media-savvy, partnering, purposeful, grounded in mutual love and respect … and inspiring creativity, which I believe is our saving grace. That's my ministry in a nutshell.
I've been an ordained minister a short time and a magician a long time -- more than 50 years. When I went before the Ministerial Fellowship Committee last fall, they asked, "What is the difference between magic and ministry?" Great question. I replied that magic is about connecting with our living tradition’s First Source, a transcendent sense of mystery and wonder. Ministry is about why that matters.
Performing "The Magic Seven," a UU-themed magic show, with some young friends on Star Island.
Originally designed to be presented in person and with hands-on teaching of magic tricks, this online workshop drew about 100 ministers, religious educators and lay leaders.
Because of UUA video privacy settings, please click on the image above and scroll to the second row to find my 2020 GA session, #309, “Tricks to Inspire.”