Rev. Ian White Maher – Introduction Prepared by Search Committee

Let’s build the kind of church our world needs.

Mount Vernon Unitarian Church welcomes settled ministerial candidate Reverend Ian White Maher, an experienced and dynamic Unitarian Universalist minister with 17 years of experience. 

Once described as a “rock star” of our faith by a senior UU minister to the Search Committee and a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, Rev. Ian holds degrees from McGill University (B.A.) and Harvard Divinity School (Masters of Divinity). He planted a church in Brooklyn, NY, Original Blessing, has served congregations in Queens, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and mostly recently served for two years as the Interim Minister in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Rev. Ian spent six years in a Buddhist monastery focusing on his spiritual formation, and has been deeply involved with the Shalem Institute, leading contemplative prayer and retreats. He also has published essays on topics such as racial justice, white privilege, and the role of the Unitarian Universalist faith in healing the world.

More about Rev. Ian can be found on his website at:

The Search Committee highlights the following from Rev. Ian’s Ministerial Record and recommendations as part of the inputs to our deliberative process that has not previously been shared with the congregation.

Excerpts from Rev. Ian’s Ministerial Record:

“I am seeking a congregation that believes in the spiritual potential of humanity. Our spiritual beliefs determine how we understand the world which determines our behaviors and actions. If we want to see a metamorphosis in our world then we must begin with a spiritual metamorphosis within ourselves. The ministry I hope for is rooted in a sense of mission that calls us to remind the world of our inherent worth and our deep interwovenness. We are responsible for one another and it is through a greater spiritual awareness that we can begin to embrace this responsibility. Churches willing to embrace this mission are relevant and meaningful in people’s lives.”

Reference from Rev. Alicia R. Forde, International Office Director, Unitarian Universalist Association

Ian is a very gifted minister, and I would imagine, a wonderful partner for your congregation. I will offer here that I have known Ian since 2002! 

As his gifts and ministry has matured, Ian has developed a deep well of spirituality and spiritual grounding. He understands fully the needs of spiritual community, and the vital role that UUism must play in today’s religious landscape. He excels at cultivating experiences of depth that meet the needs of long-time members as well as newcomers – and his belief in vibrant communities of faith is contagious. I recall attending a service at one of his early congregations. Ian understood the power of connecting with the wider community, crafting music, worship – meaning making – to create a container for personal and communal transformation, all steeped in relationship and UU values. Though that service was at least 15 years ago, I remember it well.

You will find in Ian a lifelong UU who is deeply committed to the faith who is anchored in our history and the best of who we are. He has a hunger for sharing the faith and joining others in community in being spiritually grounded witnesses to the transforming power of Unitarian Universalism. 

Reference from a Church staff member in Brevard, North Carolina: Hire him. He’s fantastic. We’d hire him again, and people were very upset that he had to go… [For example,] Ian was innovative with his ministry on Sundays. We had been very settled into a lecture model and it became more celebratory. He drew people in, especially the younger ones, and we had more families in Continuing Religious Education, and we lost it again after he left because he was so good at that.