Staff

The Reverend 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 holds 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, process theology, 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.

Email:  minister @ nsuc.org

Pronouns: He/Him


 

Our Congregational Life & Education Coordinator, 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 and his wife have two little ones and a dog.

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 Religious Education and Community programming for all ages.

Email: congregationallife @ nsuc.org

Pronouns: He/Him


Stephen Blackwelder returned to NSUC as Music Director in 2016. He’s also Director of the DePaul Community Chorus (since 2005) and the Chicago Bar Association Chorus (since 2017). Previous positions include Music Director of the Waukegan Symphony (2000-2018) and Music Director of the Hinsdale Chamber Orchestra (1983-94), plus numerous civic/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 Sir Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado, James Levine, Robert Shaw 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

Pronouns: He/Him


Our Pianist, Katherine Petersen, started at North Shore Unitarian Church in August 2021.

Described by New York Classical Review as a “strong and exciting performer” who plays with “musical feeling and great technical skill,” Chicago-based pianist Katherine enjoys a versatile career performing and educating young musicians across the nation. She presented her first full length solo performance at the age of 12, and made her Carnegie Hall debut after winning the CMFoNE competition at age 16. 

Petersen’s performances as chamber musician and soloist have taken her to Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall, the Maison Symphonique in Montreal, Quebec, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Empire Saal at Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria, and Boston’s historic Jordan Hall. She has also collaborated with musicians of the Lyric Opera of Chicago orchestra, members of the Gaudete Quintet, Jason Vieaux, and Charles Castleman.

Katherine has a passion for chamber music and has collaborated with groups such as Fifth House Ensemble and her own chamber group, Duo FAE. She is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and the Schulich School of Music of McGill University.  Ms. Petersen has served on the faculty of Chicago High School for the Arts and the Fresh Inc. Festival, and is currently on the full-time faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago teaching piano and chamber music.

Email: Pianist@nsuc.org

Pronouns: She/Her


Anne Clough started as our Intern Minister in September 2019.  In July 2021, Anne officially became NSUC’s Student Minister.  She is a student in the Master of Divinity program at Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary in Chicago.  Anne did her undergraduate study at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Marquette University in Milwaukee.  She is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin where she sang in the choir, led adult and high school religious exploration, and was chair of the worship team.  She lives in Algonquin with her husband and two of her three children.
 
Email: intern @ nsuc.org
 
Pronouns: She/Her
 

Oslo Brewster, our Congregational Administrator, just moved to the Chicago area from Austin, Texas, with their partner Sarah. They recently completed a doctorate in American Studies from Indiana University, focusing in Critical Race and Postcolonial Studies, and are delighted to be able to contribute to NSUC in the capacity of Congregational Administrator. Oslo has two adorable rescue dogs. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and say hello!

Email: churchadmin @ nsuc.org

Pronouns: They/Them

 


Phyllis Denise (P. D.) Barnes is our Bookkeeper.  She prefers to be called by her nickname P. D., which was accidently given to her by her father when she was born. She studied Accounting at DePaul University and Finance at Loyola University. Her love of finance started when she took her first Accounting Class; “it was love at first Balance Sheet”.  In addition to working as a Bookkeeper, she is also a Real Estate Broker and Property Manager. She attends church on the southeast side of Chicago. P. D. lives in Chicago with her Sister and real estate Business Partner, Gwen Barnes Robinson. P. D. and Gwen, both, have a passion for “fur”, i.e. they are owned by four dogs and five cats. 
 
Pronouns: She/Her