Elaine  Axel

Our MinistersGehrmanns-news

The Revs. Axel and Elaine Gehrmann

Elaine & Axel Gehrmann are lifelong Unitarian Universalists. Elaine grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and Axel is a native of Germany, although he spent a portion of his youth in New York state. They both received their M.Div. Degrees from Starr King School for the Ministry where they met 28 years ago. They have been married for 25 years and have two children in college.


They served as co-ministers for ten years, five years each at two congregations, All Souls UU Church in Watertown, NY, and the UU Church of Urbana-Champaign, IL. Axel has served as sole minister of the Urbana-Champaign congregation for the past 14 years. Elaine went back to school and earned a law degree and an MA in Educational Policy Studies. She worked as an assistant public defender and executive director of a non-profit, before returning to UU parish ministry last year in Decatur, IL. Axel also went back to school and earned a D.Min. from Meadville Lombard Theological School. They each bring strong gifts in preaching, programming and pastoral care, and while very compatible, they have different and complementary personalities and styles of ministry. Axel tends to be a quiet, deep-thinker, and Elaine is outgoing and energetic. Axel is a great preacher and administrator, Elaine likes to be very involved in community outreach and social justice. Their approach to ministry is distinctly collaborative‚ÄĒwith each other, with other staff members and with congregational members and friends.