My full name is Charlotte (from my maternal grandmother) Emiko (from a friend of my parents in college in Japan where they met) Tsuyuki (my maiden name from my father’s side of the family) Lehman (added this one when I married my husband Karl back in 1991). I’ve never met anyone else with the same name as me, and that’s been like my experience of life as a biracial woman of some color born at the very end of the Baby Boomer generation and not raised to be leader and yet I have become one. I used to think it was a disadvantage to not fit neatly into the boxes of the U.S. society in which I grew up, but now I realize that actually, everyone is unique, and we’re all better off when we realize that. I thought briefly at the end of high school about becoming a professional dancer (think modern, like Martha Graham or Alvin Ailey). I have been known to insert an element of dance into a sermon, though rarely.
I studied psychology as an undergraduate and then got the typical pastor’s Masters of Divinity degree at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago (2000). I’m ordained as a minister of the Gospel through Illinois Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA. I’ve been a member of Reba Place Church since 1987.
Before starting my current role as RPC’s pastor in 2009, I did pastoral counseling and teaching about emotional maturity alongside my husband, Karl Lehman, M.D., a psychiatrist, author and teacher of faith-based models of healing from trauma. I imagine it’s some people’s idea of a nightmare to be married to a psychiatrist… and we even worked together! But we had a great time learning and growing and discovering our own quirks and unhealed places, and watching God do amazing and transformative things in our own lives and in others. Now we like to say that we grew up together! And we’re still learning and growing and bumping along joyfully together. I know now that I wouldn’t have survived this long as a pastor without that preparation. Phew, there’s a lot of important stuff that isn’t taught in seminary.
When I’m not working, I’m often found running, or walking the Evanston lakefront with Karl. Together we love to hike in National Parks, snorkel around coral reefs, tend our garden and watch nature and science documentaries. I enjoy sci-fi and fantasy novels, musical theater, making jewelry, sewing and singing.
I love the community of Reba Place Church and it's been one of my greatest blessings to be formed by it and now to be part of leading it!