Ministers & Staff

roger-bertschausen-bio-photoRev. Roger Bertschausen, Interim Lead Minister
revroger@wbuuc.org / 651.426.2369 x101
Pronouns: he/his/him/himself

Roger is our Interim Lead Minister. He had a twenty-five year settled ministry at the Fox Valley UU Fellowship in Appleton, WI, and then served as Executive Director of the UU Partner Church Council for four years and as Interim Minister at First Unitarian Society in Madison, WI. Roger is thrilled to be here with the congregation during this tender and challenging interim period that is also rich with opportunities. He is also delighted to be living as well as working in Mahtomedi.

He says,

It is good to be with White Bear UU Church for a couple years. I hope that I can connect with everyone at WBUUC. Please feel welcome to contact me for a conversation!”

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sara-goodman-bio-photoRev. Sara Goodman, Assistant Minister
revsara@wbuuc.org / 651-426-2369 x103
Pronouns: she/her/hers/herself

Sara loves working as a collaborative team with the outstanding staff at WBUUC! Working here allows her to express her creativity, love of humans, and dedication to spiritual development for people of all ages. Having grown up UU in San Diego with her husband Shawn, Sara finds living in the midwest is a magical and challenging experience of learning to love the seasons, and learning new lingo; for example “Grey Duck” and “Hot Dish”. Now with two midwestern native children, Jamie and Emily, the Goodmans are here to stay.

She says,

We are dedicated to living our values, both in our actions as a church, and in our individual lives. It is a pleasure to serve people who are so deeply determined to grow their souls and serve the world in love.”

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jack-gaede-bio-photoRev. Jack Gaede, Assistant Minister
jgaede@wbuuc.org / 651.426.2369 x110
Pronouns: he/his/him/himself

Born and raised in northern Minnesota, Jack has spent half his life in the Twin Cities. After attending United Theological Seminary, he completed his ministerial internship in Kansas City, Missouri, and he is so glad to be back.

He says,

As I embark on my first year at this church, I am excited to get to know more people, to hear their stories, and to help people discover where their passion and their strengths can meet the needs of the world.”

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amy-peterson-derrickAmy Peterson Derrick, Director of Religious Education
dre@wbuuc.org / 651.426.2369 x106
Pronouns: she/her/hers/herself

Amy Peterson Derrick comes to us from serving as Professional Lifespan Religious Educator for 10 years at the Unitarian Universalist congregation of Flint, Michigan.

She says,

I find our UU faith when engaged in advocacy work, walking (or running!) in nature, gardening and in spending time with my husband, Mark, and our two amazing, budding UUs: Alexandra and Lennon. I can’t wait to make new discoveries and to grow and serve alongside all of you at WBUUC.”

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nico-van-ostrand-bio-photoNico Van Ostrand, Assistant Director of Religious Education
reassistant@wbuuc.org / 651.426.2369 x108
Pronouns: Name in place of pronouns, or they/them

Nico’s UUism and approach to Religious Education are deeply rooted in their Social Justice and Women’s Studies background. Nico learned what it means to be UU from this WBUUC community, and is grateful to help guide the next generation now. They are currently finding exciting ways to deepen their UUism as a seminarian at United Theological Seminary. Nico’s favorite spiritual practice is tai chi, particularly the Fan Form. They spend more time than is reasonable encouraging their two cats, Max and Louie, to stay off their computer keyboard.

Nico says,

I value belonging to a community where I can explore and fully live my deeply complex identities, and know that my journey will be supported and celebrated. I strive to do my part in making the Religious Education program a place where UU kids can feel that same sense of love.”

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olivia-diercksOlivia Diercks, Co-Director of Music
music@wbuuc.org / 651.426.2369 x105
Pronouns: she/her/hers/herself

Olivia grew up in Iowa and began playing the cello at the age of 4. She attended Luther College, where she studied music performance and religion. It was at Luther that Olivia met Karla, and began The OK Factor in 2012.

Olivia currently enjoys several job titles; Cellist and co-founder of The OK Factor, SEO Specialist at ArcStone, Inc., and most recently, co-interim music director at WBUUC. She is thrilled to join the WBUUC community in this way.

Olivia lives in southeast Minneapolis near Lake Nokomis, with her husband, Jonny, and their son, Charlie.

Olivia says,

Within our 10 years of performing and writing together, Karla and I have not only remained best friends, but have learned to divide and conquer; sharing workloads, responsibilities, and learning each others’ strengths. It is this relationship, paired with our musical passion, upbringing in the church/sacred music, and infinite wisdom from Carol, that we hope equips us to learn and grow alongside the WBUUC congregation in this time of transition and change.”

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karla-colahanKarla Colahan, Co-Director of Music
music@wbuuc.org / 651.426.2369 x105
Pronouns: she/her/hers/herself

Karla Colahan is a musician, entrepreneur, and brand designer focused on collaboration and creativity in every aspect of her work. Though born in Wisconsin and raised in Georgia, Karla claims the midwest as her home after attending Luther College (2013) and residing in the Minneapolis area for six years. Her formal training is in violin performance from Luther where she met cellist Olivia Diercks and began their crossover duo The OK Factor in 2012. The two have enjoyed nearly a decade of shared performing and deep friendship, alongside witnessing the growth of each other’s families, careers, and personal lives.

You can find Karla close to her computer designing brands for creative entrepreneurs, working as the Brand Manager for hope*writers, and most recently co-crafting the musical life of WBUUC alongside co-interim music director and duo partner, Olivia.

Karla lives in Hopkins with her husband, Gavin, and their golden retriever, Lucy.

Karla says,

It is a true honor to join the WBUUC team and share in the rich musical tradition that lives in the hearts and spaces of this community. I am so excited to work with my dear friend and partner in musical crime, Olivia, as we do our best to fill the big shoes left by Carol and ride the wave of change alongside this beautiful congregation.”

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anna-gehresAnna Gehres, Operations Director
agehres@wbuuc.org / 651.426.2369 x107
Pronouns: she/her/hers/herself or they/them/theirs/themself

Anna joined the WBUUC front office staff as Operations Director in 2010. She is a social worker by training and brings many years of nonprofit administrative experience to her work in supervision, human resources, finances, IT, and facilities management at WBUUC. Anna volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters and enjoys music, reading, writing, dogs, and slow food. She lives with her partner in Minneapolis.

She says,

I am proud to be part of a community that is dedicated to social justice and radical inclusion and welcome.”

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john-sistermanJohn Sisterman, Custodian
John has served as Custodian since 2000.

He says,

 

 

 

The church has always been very welcoming. They are just like family.”

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connie-ruiz-bio-photoConnie Ruiz, Facilities Associate
Pronouns: she/her/hers/herself

Connie started at WBUUC in 2017 and says she really enjoys working at WBUUC. In her spare time, she likes to cook and spend time with her nieces and nephews.

She says,

I am really happy to be here.”