The Rev. Lucas Hergert became the Minister of North Shore Unitarian Church in 2017. He grew up in a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio, and first heard his call to the ministry in high school. Lucas graduated with an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Miami University, a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry from the Pacific School of Religion. This is his second ministry, having served the Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore, California from 2009-2017. Lucas was also previously a college faculty member, teaching courses in philosophy and comparative religion. His interests include yoga, Shakespeare plays, biking, continental philosophy, fantasy novels, interfaith work, and humor.
Church members describe Lucas as a warm and empathetic pastor, and his office door is always open for those in need of spiritual support. Newcomers might like to know that Lucas is the kind of pastoral minister who enjoys meeting over coffee to hear about their spiritual journeys.
Email: minister @ nsuc.org
Stephen Blackwelder is pleased to return to NSUC as Music Director. He’s also the conductor of the Waukegan Symphony (since 2000) and DePaul Community Chorus (since 2005). Previous positions include Music Director of the Hinsdale Chamber Orchestra (1983-94) and numerous civic and educational orchestral and choral ensembles in the greater Chicago area. Stephen served on the conducting staff of the Harford Opera Theater of Baltimore, Hinsdale Opera, Opera Illinois, Opera da Corneto and Chicago Opera Theater and also on the faculties of Lake Forest College, East Carolina University and DePaul University. As a professional singer, he performed frequently under conductors James Levine, Robert Shaw, Sir Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado and Margaret Hillis while a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Aspen Chamber Choir.
Blackwelder holds a BM from the University of North Carolina and a MM from Northwestern University. Professional study included four seasons with the Aspen Music Festival and conducting master classes with Sir Georg Solti, Max Rudolf and Erich Leinsdorf.
Email: musicdirector @ nsuc.org
Timothy Mah is our Pianist/Organist and Junior Choir Director. Timothy has been at NSUC since November 2016. Timothy earned his B.M. and M.M. degrees from Northwestern University as a student of Donald Isaak, Sylvia Wang, and Alan Chow, and has collaborated with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cleveland Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Canadian Brass.
Currently Mah is now in his sixth year as music department accompanist at New Trier High School in Winnetka. His previous teaching positions have included faculty positions at both DePaul University and the College of Lake County, and has served as assistant orchestra director at Glenbrook North and South High Schools. He has also taught at numerous music festivals and previously served as a chamber music coach with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and accompanist of the Chicago Chamber Choir.
Email: pianist @ nsuc.org
Our Religious Educator, Jonathan Schlesinger, is passionate about building community, all-ages education, and using the power of community for individual growth and societal change. He has a B.A. in Secondary Social Studies Teaching and has completed additional studies in math, science, and applied technology. Jonathan recently became a father.
Before coming to NSUC, Jonathan was a middle school science teacher. He has also worked as a Volunteer Program Specialist for the Forest Preserves of Cook County and co-founded a 501(c)3 organization, The Illini 4000, while a student at the University of Illinois. He is eager to work with NSUC members to develop transformative RE programming for all ages.
Email: dre @ nsuc.org
Rachel Simpson has been the Business Administrator since 2008. Before coming to North Shore Unitarian Church, she worked as the Business Manager for the Northern Region of the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago. Prior to that she lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, and worked at the CCFH Ministries for 14 years in a wide variety of roles from fundraising to fiscal operations and strategic planning. She brings 25 years of nonprofit organizational leadership experience to NSUC.
Rachel is married and has two grown boys, along with a blended family including two more children and grandchildren. For fun, she enjoys camping and hanging out with her family and friends.
Email: churchadmin @ nsuc.org
Mandie lives in Rogers Park (on the north side of Chicago) with her two partners, three children, a puppy, and occasionally her little sister. She’s always up for a cup of coffee and good conversation, and can be reached at intern @ nsuc.org.