Rev. Bridget Spain has been the church’s Minister since 2012, succeeding Rev. Bill Darlison (who still occasionally takes services as Minister Emeritus). In that time Rev. Spain has increased the Sunday congregation’s numbers very significantly, with many people joining after coming to the church for marriage, baptism, funeral or other services and being greatly impressed by its warm, open and welcoming form of worship under Bridget’s leadership.
Bridget was born in Edenderry, Co Offaly and grew up in a traditional Catholic family and attended the local convent school. She studied commerce in UCD and worked in accounts during her first career. She is married to Paul, who is also very active in the church, editing its monthly magazine Oscailt. They have two children.
In 1996 she attended her first service in the St Stephen’s Green Unitarian Church. She says: “Finding the church was like finding my tribe; for me, it was a revelation that there were other people who questioned the certainties of faiths.”
She quickly became an active church member, leading services and joining the managing committee and was encouraged by Rev. Bill Darlison to study for the ministry. She completed an arts degree with the Open University and was licensed to preach by the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland (NSPCI) in 2006. The NSPCI is an association of liberal Christian churches of which the Dublin Unitarian Church is a member.
In 2007 she was appointed Assistant Minister at St Stephen’s Green and Minister in charge of the Cork Unitarian Church and became the Dublin church’s permanent Minister in 2012. She also holds positions in the NSPCI as Moderator of the Synod of Munster and Chair of the Christian Ministries Committee, which is charged with the training of ministerial students.