Bret Lortie

Ministerial Experience

  • Chaplain
    United States Air Force, Captain, 2018-2023
    Appointed to a large chapel team (Travis Air Force Base, California, 2018-2021) and oversaw ministry services to five squadrons with 2,700 personnel. Subsequently accepted special overseas assignment (Kadena Air Base, Japan, 2021-2023), headed a team of 10 mental health and religious affairs professionals, and launched a new initiative for the largest Mission Support Group in the Air Force serving 3,400 military personnel and their families.
  • Senior Minister
    Unitarian Church of Evanston, 2013-2018
    Led a large Chicago-area congregation in maturational, spiritual, and numerical growth. Restructured both staff and governance to be more equipped in serving the congregation’s public and justice ministries, oversaw $750,000 budget, and supervised executive staff in day-to-day management of church.
  • Senior Minister
    First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio, Texas, 2007-2013
    Led a congregation of more than 400 members, established strong interfaith relationships in the city of San Antonio, managed a $420,000 budget, and supervised the staff.
  • Intern Minister
    Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, Illinois, 2005-2006
  • Youth Ministry Advisor
    Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 2002-2006


  • Master of Divinity, 2007
    Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago, Illinois
  • Doctoral Coursework in Cultural Studies, 1995-1996
    University of Oklahoma
  • M.A. in English/Cultural Studies, 1995
    Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
  • B.A. in Writing/Journalism, 1991
    Principia College, Elsah, Illinois

Other Professional Experience

  • Managing Editor
    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1999-2004
    Wrote and edited a wide variety of articles on arms control, peace issues, and international public affairs; supervised the editorial and art staff; and managed a $500,000 budget.
  • Freelance Writer and Editor, 1996-1999
  • Writing Instructor, 1991-1996:
    Lewis & Clark Community College, IL
    Belleville Area College, IL
    Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL
    University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

Community and Wider Church Involvement

  • Unitarian Universalist (UU) Ministers Association, 2003-present
  • UU Central Midwest Ministers Chapter, President, 2016-2018
  • Evanston4All Solidarity Response Team, 2016-2018
  • Community Renewal Society, Community Organizer/Leader, 2014-2018
  • Post-Ferguson Black Lives Matter Rally, Organizer, 2014
  • Evanston Interfaith Action Clergy Leadership Group, 2013-2018
  • UUA “Next Generation Project: Recruiting Ministers for the Future,” 2012
  • San Antonio Industrial Areas Foundation Clergy Leader Group, 2007-2013
  • San Antonio Interfaith Clergy for Social Justice Steering Committee, 2011-2013
  • UUA Committee on Military Ministry, 2011-2015
  • Occupy San Antonio, Participant, 2011-2012
  • UU Trauma Response Ministry Team Board of Directors, 2010-2015
  • San Antonio AIDS Foundation, Board Member/World AIDS Day Organizer, 2010-2013
  • Civil Air Patrol (USAF Auxiliary), Volunteer Chaplain, 2009-2019
  • UU Small Group Ministry Network Board, 2007-2009
  • UU Christian Fellowship, 2006-present
  • UU Buddhist Fellowship, 2006-present
  • Small Group Ministry Network Board of Directors, 2005-2008
  • Meadville Lombard Undoing Racism Team, 2002-2006
  • Meadville Lombard Peace Network, Founding Member, 2002-2005
  • Music and Worship Committee, Unity Temple, 2002-2004
  • Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Youth Ministry Advisor, 2000-2005