Nora Unitarian Universalist Church - Hanska, Mn

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Happy Mother's Day

Newsletter Archives

Nora Unitarian Universalist Church
12333 155th Avenue
Hanska, Minnesota 56041-4310

Mere Lys in a script font.    Drawing of a chalice.

May, 2004
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Sunday Services
Adult Discussion Group: 9:00 A.M.
Social Hour: 10:00 A.M.     Worship Service: 10:30 A.M.

May 2 – “Not The Brightest Crayon In The Box”
Reverend Don Rollins, Ministerial Candidate
     •  Servers: Clayton and Shirley Olson, Scott Chambard, and Ellen Byro
     •  Musician: Sally Hanson
     •  Congregational meeting on the proposed budget following services.
     •  11:30 POTLUCK LUNCH

May 9 – “East and West: The Tao and UUism”
Reverend Don Rollins, Ministerial Candidate
     •  Servers: Lynn Schmitt, Chrissy Schmitt, Shannon Weiss
     •  Musician: Ryann Rathman

May 16 – Syttende Mai Services in the Hanska Town Park

May 23 – “A Long Year of Silence”
Kathryn Doty, Author
     •  Servers: Nancy Dickson, Tarrie Swenstad
     •  Musician: Ardelle Becken

May 30 – “Remembering Who We Are”
Reverend Wesley Hromatko
     •  Servers: Gil and Sally Hanson
     •  Musician: Ryann Rathman


Hooray For Us! There’s probably hardly a soul who hasn’t heard the news that the Search Committee has extended a call to Ohio minister, Reverend Don Rollins. The news has been spreading quickly as has our contagious enthusiasm. Here’s some background information for you to get acquainted with Don.

Early Years: Don grew up in the Appalachian hills of southeastern Ohio at the West Virginia border. He considers himself a “country boy.” He was raised in the Wesleyan faith, a conservative branch of Methodism. He eventually decided to attend a United Methodist seminary for training as a religious educator and received his Masters at Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio. He then became Minister of Religious Education at First U-U in Columbus from 1985 – 1988.

Middle Years: Don was ordained at First Unitarian-Universalist in Columbus, Ohio in 1987. He served as an intern at First Universalist in West Paris, Maine. He has served as an interim minister in congregations of varying sizes and in various parts of the country – Canada, New Mexico, and Maine. He has been a parish minister part-time in Eastport, Maine (1990-92) and Athens, Ohio (1995-99). He has been trained in Chemical Dependency counseling.

Present: Don is now serving three congregations: Oberlin, Sandusky, and North Olmsted. Together these three create his Lake Erie church administration duties. Don has written a paper on church administration titled LERM (Lake Erie Regional Model). It describes his philosophy of church administration in small congregations. His paper will be available in the church entry. Please pick up a copy and read it – A MUST read for board members! Don’s goals as stated in his Ministerial record: “I’d like to settle down with a healthy congregation that is mission-centered and open to thinking outside the box when it comes to organization.”

The Search Committee had no doubts in offering this candidacy to Don. We found him to be a gentle, wise soul! He appreciated the setting and history of Nora. He is interested in church administration in a way that we felt would facilitate the best use of our energies, improve ourselves and achieve growth. He has many personal qualities and talents that will nourish our spiritual journeys. These include his accomplishments as a guitarist, poet, thinker, and a just plain nice person!

Don will preach on Sunday, May 2 and Sunday, May 9. The calendar for events during candidacy week is elsewhere in this Mere Lys. We hope everyone finds time to include themselves in some events during the week. A congregational vote to approve this ministry will take place on Sunday, May 9 following services. Because of Mother’s Day and other conflicts for several church members on that day, there will be absentee ballots available.


Nora Church is embarking on a new and exciting time with a promising candidate visiting us this month. We have had a series of meetings with the Rev. Mark Yackel-Juleen who has helped the congregation plan for the future of the church. There is a positive feeling in the church with members putting in many hours of volunteer time. However, a solid financial base is required to keep the church running. Pledge drive meetings have been held; letters have been sent, and we hope the church continues to receive the financial support to carry forward the work of Nora Church. Please return your pledge cards by the middle of May so we have an idea of our financial outlook before the Annual Meeting on June 6. If you have not received a pledge letter and would like to contribute, you may contact treasurer Sally Hanson, 1622 Northridge Lane, North Mankato, MN, 56003. Your support is greatly appreciated.


At the April 18th service with Reverend Mark Yackel-Juleen, congregation members prioritized goals which will promote Nora Church’s program development. Mark suggested selecting one project. It should be a project that is very doable and with which we can have success. So what is the next step? One of our top priorities was “Getting the word out about Nora Church.” The proposed budget provides for tripling the allotted publicity funds by raising that allocation to $2500. This provides the opportunity to do some creative planning. We can increase our use of newspaper advertising, use our fine website in new ways, and make efforts to distribute brochures. What ideas do you have?

At potluck on May 2, anyone interested in promoting publicity efforts will gather at a table in the Kaffestua. Over lunch, we can share conversation and plan for ways to “get the word out about Nora.”
Please join us.


The Women’s Society will serve Syttende Mae dinners again this year. We will be serving on Thursday and Friday, May 13 and 14. We will be making meatballs and setting up tables on Wednesday, May 12 at 9:00 AM. Carol Chambard will be lining up workers for this special yearly event for Hanska - - another opportunity to get together for fellowship and profit.


Thanks to all who came for Clean Up Sunday. It was a wonderful day of fellowship, hard-work, a few cuts, bumps, and bruises, and all around sharing of old and new ideas. You’re never too old to learn something new, Bonita! The church and grounds look great – many hands make light work and a beautiful hillside!


Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!! Thank you to everyone who helped with the Easter morning breakfast, those who donated materials and/or money, those who prepared breakfast, those who served the breakfast, those who helped clean up and those who ate the breakfast. We’ll try it again next year.

Important Change: Our Sunday service has been moved from May 9th to June 6th. The minister candidate will be doing the service on May 9. The children’s service is prepared. Sheldon will be contacting families to see who will be present on June 6th and then we will pass out copies of the service to the participating children.

We are hanging loose for RE plans for May and June. We will do special projects on May 2nd and 9th. On May 16th enjoy yourself at Syttendae Mai. We hope to visit Wiger’s cabin getaway sometime in May or June. There will not be any RE on May 30th since it is Memorial Day weekend.

How about going to Fairmont Water Park again in August?? Or would you like to explore another water park? Think about it.

Pizza Party: Please join us for pizza on Wednesday, May 5th at the church. This will be the kids opportunity to spend some time with the minister candidate, Don. Pizza, veggie munchies, cookies, and beverages will be provided. Play cemetery hide and seek at 5:30. We’ll start eating at 6:00 pm.


Sydney Bryo received a Golden Ticket for doing an “act of kindness, courtesy or concern toward another student or person” at Jefferson Elementary School, New Ulm. Sydney is the daughter of Ellen and Tom Byro and granddaughter of Janet and Wayne Johnson.

Former member of Nora Church, Dennis Brudelie, age 63, died on April 19, 2004, at his home in Orefield, PA. He was the son-in-law of Ardelle Becken and is survived by his wife Nancy, son Jay and his wife Anne; daughter Jana and her husband Jerry Brown; grandson Jared, all of Allentown, PA. Memorial Services will be held May 9 at the UU Church of Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem, PA. Dennis was a past president of the congregation.

Word has been received of the death of Phyllis Pladsen, age 71, of White Bear Lake, on April 11, 2004. She is the wife of Warren Pladsen who has connections to the Hanska area. Phyllis was a freelance genealogist and president of the Swedish Genealogical Society of Minnesota. A memorial service was held April 24 at the White Bear Unitarian Church in Mahtomedi.

Congratulations to Susan and Jerry Allen on the birth of granddaughter Anna Lynn. Parents are Aron and Shelley Allen of Inver Grove Heights. As of this writing, the Allens are awaiting the birth of another grandchild due soon.

And many happy returns to Joyce Hetle who celebrated her 90th birthday on April 6. Joyce is a resident of Luther Memorial Home in Madelia and also helped Muriel Thordson celebrate her birthday on April 25.

Congratulations to Ross Chambard, who will be graduating from St. Cloud Technical College on May 14th, in the Architectural and Drafting Design Program. He is the son of Scott Chambard and grandson of Carol and Alon Chambard.


During the week of May 2 through May 9, we hope everyone finds opportunities to meet with Reverend Don Rollins. The schedule is being coordinated by Jeanie Hinsman. If you would like to extend an invitation to Don, or have suggestions for inclusions in this schedule, please contact Jeanie at (507) 359-7494.

Saturday, May 1: Arrival.
Wally Wellmann will meet Don at the airport. Don will be staying at Beverly Jean’s and Wally’s home.

Sunday, May 2:
Service at church followed by congregational meeting to approve budget.
Potluck after service.
Sunday afternoon/evening – OPEN.

Monday, May 3:
6:00 supper with the Church Board at Garden Terrace Social Room, New Ulm.
Darrell H. will arrange meal.
Morning and afternoon – OPEN.

Tuesday, May 4:
Noon meeting with Negotiations Team in Mankato (Holiday Inn).
Afternoon: Tour Mankato area with Doug Anderson.
6:30 Supper at Ron and Julie Peck’s.

Wednesday, May 5:
Afternoon – visit at Luther Memorial Home (Algot will escort).
5:30 Pizza party at church for all youth (Ann and Sheldon will arrange).

Thursday, May 6:
Morning – visit shut-ins in New Ulm (Carol C. will escort).
Afternoon – Follow-up meeting with negotiations, if needed.
Evening – drop in at Syttende Mai rehearsal (Algot will escort)

Friday, May 7:
Late morning/early afternoon – Lamberton (escort - ???).
3:00 Shalom Hills Farms, meet with Rev. Mark Yackel-Juleen.
6:00 Supper with the Schmitt families in Comfrey.

Saturday, May 8:
1:00 Painting party for the upstairs at the parsonage, all welcome!
5:00 Soup and sandwich supper at Fellowship Hall(potluck).

Sunday, May 9:
Service with congregational vote to follow.

The Future of Nora: Visioning for Mission

In April, Nora congregation dedicated two Sundays to discussions with Rev. Mark Yackel-Juleen regarding the future mission of Nora. In that process, we developed a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement that should help to guide the congregation forward. After discussion and revision here are the results.

A Mission Statement

Gathering in an inspirational, hilltop setting, Nora Congregation is a caring community that encourages spiritual and intellectual exploration in an environment of freedom and acceptance, and promotes dignity and justice locally and globally.

A Vision Statement

By 2009, Nora will be known in SW MN

  • As a place where people gather in a caring and accepting fellowship to explore spiritual growth and the challenging questions in life;
  • For worship that is beautiful and spiritually engaging;
  • For its generous outreach of service and learning regardless of race, creed, age, gender, or sexuality;
  • For valuing and involving children and youth in its mission; and
  • For being hospitable and fun loving.

As a result, Nora will grow in membership.

Next Steps

The challenge from this point on is to make the Mission a unifying concept for the congregation and also to implement the Vision statement in tangible and measurable ways. In worship on April 18, we discussed priorities and strategies for making this happen. A detailed written report will be given to the interim committee and will be available from them.

Gratitude and Best Wishes

I would like to say that it has been a pleasure and a privilege to work and reflect with you. I have been honored to meet so many fine, thoughtful people. Nora offers a unique gift—a community in which people can express their spirituality and explore their questions in a setting that is accepting, intellectually honest. It is my hope that our paths will cross again. Please come and visit Shalom Hill Farm sometime.

Peace and Blessings,
Rev. Mark Yackel-Juleen

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