Emily Gage
Rev. Roger Bertschausen

Developmental Senior Minister (he/him)
rbertschausen@unitytemple.org :: x102

One of the most significant aspects of my childhood was my religious upbringing in the Fountain Street Church. Fountain Street Church is a liberal, non-denominational church which had around 2,000 members when I was a kid. During high school, I was president of the youth group and worked as a custodian at the church. Church was the center of our family life and the center of my social life in high school.

I left Grand Rapids in 1981 for Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME. One of the key experiences of my life was studying abroad in Sri Lanka, where I studied Buddhism and Hinduism. This experience tapped into my early Sunday School exposure to world religions, and it fueled my passion to learn about other religions.

One day in Sri Lanka, I was walking in the little courtyard between the refugee camp where I was living and the temple with a guy who translated for me. We ran into the temple priest and stopped to chat. At some point, seemingly out of the blue, the priest grabbed my hands, looked deeply into my eyes and said something. The translation: “I sense the soul of a priest in you.” No, I thought, my plan was to study religion, not do religion! Right! Right?

Thus began a series of doubts, questions, tentative steps forward and backward and forward again until I was ordained seven years later. That moment in the space between the refugee camp and the temple was an important marker on the journey toward my call to ministry.

Amy Holzhausen and I got married September 1988. We met when I arrived at the University of Chicago Divinity School three years earlier—she was a third year Disciples of Christ ministry student. We combined our names when we got married: Bertsch + Holzhausen = Bertschausen. Marrying Amy is the best thing I’ve ever done.

We lived in Columbus, Indiana, during our first year of marriage. I worked full-time as a chaplain at a drug and alcohol treatment center and quarter-time as the first minister of the UU Fellowship of Bartholomew County (now UU Congregation of Columbus, IN).

In May 1990, I was ordained as a UU minister by the Nantucket church. In October 1990, I became the minister of the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton, Wisconsin.

I was the first settled minister in the history of the Fox Valley UU Fellowship. The Fellowship had a a hundred members when I arrived. Amy and I planned to be in Appleton for five to seven years. Then it would be her career’s turn.

Through mutual decision, the five to seven years stretched into a few months short of twenty-five years. The hundred members grew into a congregation of 700 members. Amy and I both like the Midwest (she also grew up in Michigan) and found Appleton overall to be a good place to live. Amy found meaningful work as a hospital, hospice, and nursing home chaplain and then for ten years as the Executive Director of the Samaritan Counseling Center, a nonprofit, full-service mental health agency that specializes in integrating spirituality.

In 2014, with both of our kids in college or graduate school, Amy accepted the position of Executive Director of Care and Counseling in St. Louis, Missouri. I followed Amy to St. Louis nine months later.

I spent my first year in St. Louis focusing on settling our household and part-time work as a church governance consultant through Unity Consulting, a consulting business of Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, MN.

In May 2016, I became Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council (UUPCC). I had developed a passion for our global U/U faith through the Fox Valley UU Fellowship’s partnerships in Transylvania and the Philippines. This work has both deepened and widened my UU faith as I have interacted with Unitarians/Universalists from around the world.

In early 2020, I found myself increasingly missing the broad range of parish ministry. I also had found an area of my consulting work that particularly captured my interest: ministerial transition. This led me to feel called to the work of transitional ministry. In spite of the onset of the pandemic, I left the UUPCC and became the Interim Minister of First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisconsin, a congregation of a little more than 1,000 members, from 2020-2021, and then the Interim Lead Minister of White Bear UU Church in Mahtomedi, Minnesota from 2021-2023.

Emily Gage
Rev. Emily Gage

Associate Minister (she/her)
egage@unitytemple.org :: x103

A life-long Unitarian Universalist, Emily grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa. Within the community of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsburgh, she cultivated her love for learning about what people believe and why. It was this that sparked her decision to major in religion and minor in sociology/anthropology at Swarthmore College, where she graduated with honors in 1990. Feeling an urge to see—and save—the world, she joined the Peace Corps, and they sent her to Poland, where she taught English as a Foreign Language to high school students from 1991-1993.

Unsure of her next steps in life, Emily returned to Pittsburgh and to the congregation where she grew up. She became the youth advisor, and it was in those months that she realized that she was called to the ministry. It would call upon her many passions and interests in life: learning, making a difference in the world, being part of and cultivating multigenerational community, writing, creating worship, making music, teaching, and listening to people’s lives. She attended Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and as part of her training, served as ministerial intern at First Religious Society (Unitarian Universalist) in Carlisle, Mass. That congregation ordained her to the Unitarian Universalist ministry on June 7, 1997, a few days after she earned her Masters of Divinity degree.

After ordination and graduation, the Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet, Ill. called Emily to be their minister. She served this community from 1997-2008. During this time, the congregation sold one building, bought and renovated a new one, became a Welcoming Congregation, experienced significant growth, and otherwise served as a liberal religious beacon in the southwest suburbs. Emily was active in the Joliet Ecumenical Clergy Association and served as their president.

She has been at Unity Temple since August of 2008, serving as Minister of Faith Development. Her primary portfolio is to oversee the lifespan religious education programming, though she is called upon to serve in all other ministerial capacities as well.

Emily has been active in the wider Unitarian Universalist world since she was in high school, and attended youth group conferences in her district. She is part of the Chicago Area Liberal Ministers’ group and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association. She served eight years on the Central Midwest District Board, five of those as president, from 2002-2007. She was a member of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, the Unitarian Universalist ministerial credentialing committee, serving from 2006-2011. She has served on the Religious Education Credentialing Committee since 2018.

She is married to Karen McMillin and they have a son Paul, born in 2011. In her spare time, Emily enjoys reading, writing, walking the dog, traveling, and listening to and playing music.

mandi huizenga
Rev. Scott Aaseng

Community Minister (he/him)
scottaaseng@gmail.com :: 773 726 9082
UTUUC Affiliated Community Minister and Executive Co-Director, Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI)

As Unity Temple’s Community Minister, Rev. Scott Aaseng serves as Executive Co-Director of the Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI), our statewide UU justice network strengthening the movement for justice, beloved community and a healthy planet through relational, intersectional, values-based organizing. As a Lutheran pastor on the southwest side of Chicago in the 1990s, he helped found a community-based youth organization, and went on to do multi-state organizing with the American Friends Service Committee. Since finding his UU grounding at Third Unitarian in Chicago, he has served, in various capacities, UU congregations in Quincy, Evanston, Rockford and Springfield IL as well as Hobart IN. He lives in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.