Minister – Rev Charlotte Lehmann
The Reverend Charlotte Lehmann was called by BRUU on June 10, 2018 as its settled minister.
Rev. Charlotte was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised as a Unitarian Universalist. From kindergarten until sixth grade she walked the three blocks to attend Sunday School at the First Unitarian Society, where her mother taught and her siblings also received their religious education.
She attended Mount Holyoke College in MA, where she earned her BA cum laude in Geology in 1983. Rev. Charlotte attended geology field camp in WY the summer following graduation before spending the next 6-8 months travelling and discerning her next moves.
She ended up teaching at the Cape Cod Outdoor Education Center during the spring of 1984 while applying for teaching positions. She spent the next two years teaching high school math and science and coaching at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY. Founded in 1899 by a wealthy philanthropist, Mrs. Caleb Brewster Hackley, the school was originally intended as a Unitarian alternative to the mostly Episcopal boarding schools throughout the Northeast. It had long since dropped its affiliation and added day students and become co-educational when Rev. Charlotte taught there living on campus in one of the school buildings.
The next chapter in her journey took Rev. Charlotte to Orono, ME where she eventually completed her M.S. degree in Geological Sciences at UMAINE in 1991. Her thesis was a study of the heavy minerals in estuarine deposits along the Gulf of Maine coast. During this time, Rev. Charlotte found her way back to Unitarian Universalism. During graduate school and when she returned to the University to work as a research associate in the School of Marine Sciences (1994-2000), Rev. Charlotte attended and then joined the Independent Congregation – Unitarian on Union Street in Bangor, where Hannibal Hamlin (lawyer, politician and 15th VP of the United States) had been a member. When the two UU congregations in Bangor consolidated in 1995 and began meeting as one at the Park Street Universalist church, she became a member of the UU Society of Bangor, served on the governing board, including as treasurer, chaired the finance committee, volunteered in RE and played a leading role with the buildings and grounds committee. She also acted as the agent of the congregation in the disposition of the building and major assets of the Union Street property. The sales were used, at her recommendation, to establish endowed funds for the upkeep of the organ and buildings on Park Street.
During the hiatus between graduate school and employment at UMAINE, Rev. Charlotte lived in Rhode Island, working for the URI Graduate School of Oceanography and attending Westminster Unitarian Church in East Greenwich. While there she was actively involved in the Welcoming Congregation Committee.
It was during the late 80s and early 90s that Rev. Charlotte again recognized the murmurs of a call to ministry, but because so many of her lesbian friends and acquaintances were choosing to go to Bangor Theological Seminary that it seemed trendy, she dismissed her re-emerging interest in going off in that direction. She remembers being a child who focused on ethical living through her imagination, creativity and play, so the pull was not new to her.
Starting in 2000, Rev. Charlotte was again in transition, emotionally and geographically. She spent a half year teaching high school math in Queens, then another six months unemployed during which she built a woodshed on the garage. She landed in Mid-Coast Maine with a job at New England’s only cement manufacturing plant as its Plant Chemist, a job that she lasted through until summer 2002. Because she was attending the First Universalist Church in Rockland, ME, she briefly took a position as a paid RE teacher, before heading south to Aiken, SC to work temporarily at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, part of the Univ. of Georgia, as a Research Coordinator. While in Aiken, Rev. Charlotte sought out the UUs in town – finding them at last and by chance on a street corner as they protested the Gulf War. That spring the Aiken UU Church was organizing (to be born again) and applied for membership in the UUA with Rev. Charlotte signing as one of the original 31 charter members. She returned to Aiken in 2006 for their building dedication.
In the meantime, Rev. Charlotte returned to Maine for a job as a Research Technician in the Dept. of Geology at Bates College. While in the Lewiston-Auburn area, she attended the First Universalist Church in Auburn, contributing her leadership and talents in RE, buildings and grounds, worship, UU Theater, and other aspects of congregational life. After a physical healing experience in 2003 the urging of her spiritual teacher and gentle prodding by members of the congregation, Rev. Charlotte formally acknowledged her call to ministry in January 2008. Then most of the things that could have held her back from going to seminary fell away – often painfully – and she embarked on her theological education beginning with a cross-country road trip to check out schools, visit family and friends, and feed her spirit. A couple in the Auburn congregation provided some initial financial assistance when she started at Lancaster Theological Seminary in PA in early 2009. Wanting to be in UU community during her ministerial formation, in the fall of that year Rev. Charlotte enrolled at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, and First Universalist in Auburn became her sponsoring congregation. She earned her M.Div. in 2012.
Ministerial formation is different for every person on this path. Rev. Charlotte’s journey became an extended one with new trials added on along the way like the hero’s quest. She ended up, it seems, doing everything two times: interviews with the (old) Regional Subcommittee on Candidacy (RSCC), Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) units – Chicago Medical Center and St. Vincent’s Hospital at Worcester Medical Center, ministerial internships – DuPage UU Church in Naperville [IL] and UU Congregation of Binghamton [NY], interviews with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC).
Rev. Charlotte spent two years as Acting Director of Religious Exploration at the First Church in Belmont [MA] while completing these requirements for preliminary fellowship in the UUA. Once cleared for ministerial search, she was able to seek a ministry and served for two years as the interim minister at the UU Church of Tallahassee [FL] from 2016-18. She was ordained by the First Universalist Church of Auburn at the end of October 2017.
Rev. Charlotte and her partner, Lisa Stewart – a physical therapist – enjoy many outdoor activities, music, movies, cultural events of all kinds and excellent food from all over the world.