Nora Unitarian Universalist Church - Hanska, Mn

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

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

October, 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.

October 3 – SMORGSBORD – “Breaking the Silence”
Reverend Don Rollins

The first Sunday in October has been designated as a time to honor all who have been affected by domestic violence. Don will lead us as we observe both the day and the damage done.
     • Musician: Sally Hanson
     • Ushers: Doug Anderson, Chris Olson

October 10 – “Stories of My Life: What I’ve Learned in 60 Years in the Ministry”
Reverend Fred Doty

     • Servers: Joy Rathman, Susan Evers
     • Musician: Joanne Saxton
     • Ushers: Edith Beckius, Vickie Sieve

October 17 – “An Old Story for a New Day, Part 1”
Reverend Don Rollins
This service is a whirlwind tour through Unitarian Universalism – its glories as well as its warts.
     • Servers: Tarrie Swenstad, Vickie Sieve
     • Musician: Mimi Kamleiter
     • Ushers: Roger & Norma Breu
     • 9:00 A.M. Board Meeting

October 24 – “An Old Story for a New Day, Part 2”
Reverend Don Rollins

Can liberal religion change one’s life for the better?
Is salvation reserved for the orthodox folks, or can it also be a paradigm for us?
     • Servers: Ardelle Becken, Lorraine Becken
     • Musician: Sally Hanson
     • Ushers: Scott & Ross Chambard

October 31 – “Hell? No!”
Reverend Don Rollins

All Souls Day (always November 2 or 3) is an excellent time to lift up the Universalist side of our religious family, as well as to honor those who have gone before.
     • Servers: Sally & Gil Hanson
     • Musician: Mimi Kamleiter
     • Ushers: Alon & Carol Chambard

View From The Hill

Rev. Don Rollins

Leadership is on my mind as I write this month’s column. On the one hand is the presidential campaign, complete with mudslinging, yellow journalism and a constant barrage of rancor and vitriol. It’s painful and not a little embarrassing to watch as the two political machines malign one another with surgical precision, all in the name of such cherished ideals as peace, justice, compassion, and human dignity.

For me, there is a certain sadness about this campaign and what it says about us as a nation. And if we weren’t polarized into “red” and “blue” states before this summer’s conventions, we surely will be by the time the dust settles on November 2nd.

On the other hand is the board of a little congregation in southern Minnesota – the one whose goals for the new church year appear in this newsletter. Rooted firmly in the mission statement developed last spring, the primary focus is on creating and/or supporting teams in the following areas: religious education, finance, social justice, Sunday services (lay-and professional-led), adult growth and education, building and grounds, membership and caring. The idea is to organize all we do around the values of religious freedom, religious community, and religious activism.

I hope that you agree that focus and organization are important if we are to become an even better church, but there is another benefit to the mission-based, team system: leadership development. Serving on a team gives one the opportunity to try on new roles and new ideas, stretching our souls and providing us with valuable experience that can be utilized in our various communities as well.

Leadership. Whether the setting is a presidential campaign or a little church in southern Minnesota, leadership is crucial. I hope that you’ll cast your vote for the candidate of your choice come November 2, and I hope that you’ll continue to grace Nora with your heads, hearts, and hands.
See you in church,

--- Don


Following Don’s September sermon on the topic of growth and its challenges, there has been a great deal of interest in Michael Durall’s The Almost Church: Redefining Unitarian Universalism for a New Era. Some 15 people indicated an interest in discussing the book as an aid to growth, so we’ve ordered 20 copies.

Our organizational meeting for the discussion group will be held at the church on Tuesday, October 12 at 7:00 P.M. (We will consider optional days and locations in order to accommodate as many people as possible, so we may be changing subsequent meeting dates and places.)

The books are supposed to arrive no later than October 8, so they can be picked up at church on the 10th or at your convenience. We’ll just cover the introduction on the first night, so you may also wait until then to get a copy. The cost is $10.00 and checks can be made out to Nora UU Church.

Please consider joining Don and others for what should be an insightful look into UUism and its future.


About once a quarter (unless needed more often) Don will facilitate an exploration of UUism and Nora Church. The sessions are open to all, no matter your length of time as a UU. The first session will be held after church on October 24th. Please bring a sack lunch. We should be done no later than 1:30.) See you there!


Don will be taking Mondays as his day off, and Fridays for sermon writing. (In the event of an emergency, don’t hesitate to call at anytime.) If you’d like to make an appointment with him, feel free to call the parsonage or his cell number.


The Board of Trustees met on September 11th to organize for the year. An important part of that meeting was to set the board’s goals for the year. We based these goals on the mission statement that was developed last year over several Sundays. This is just part of the value of a mission statement, it’s ability to help the board, and the various teams to focus on what the congregation has said is important about Nora. The mission statement is also important because it gives us a positive description of what we do at Nora. Instead of saying, “we don’t make you believe in this or that,” we can use the mission statement as a guide to talk about the positive aspects of Nora.

When we meet for a congregational meeting on October 17th, we will do so for the purpose of officially adopting our mission statement. This is more than just a formality, it is a guide for us into the future of Nora.

The goals identified were:

  1. To schedule a duly called congregational meeting for the purpose of officially adopting our new mission statement.
  2. To create, recruit for and support teams in the areas of membership, finance, social justice, adult religious growth and education and archives.
  3. To continue to support and work with existing teams in the areas of Sunday programming, religious education and buildings and grounds.
  4. To assist the Children and Youth RE Team in creating and supporting a volunteer Director of Religious Education.
  5. To explore the expanded model of the Ministry Team as recommended by Rev. Rollins.
  6. To assist the minister and teams to focus on congregational growth through
    • expanding adult religious growth & education offerings;
    • creating more social activities;
    • exploring opportun – ities for increased social justice efforts;
    • attracting & ministering to new members & friends;
    • increasing lay involvement in all aspects of Nora Church.

The board is exploring a better sound system for the church and to accommodate Rev. Rollins, who will be taking the second Sunday in the month as his free day, the board changed its regular meeting time to the third Sunday of the month.


The Board of Trustees of Nora Church have called a special congregational meeting following the October 17, 2004, service to take action on the proposed mission statement developed last spring after the congregation worked with Rev. Mark Yackel-Juleen. The proposed statement is:

Gathered 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.


The NWS will meet at 11:30 AM on Wednesday, October 13th, at Orchard Hills, 1220 Karl Drive (near Cash Wise), in New Ulm, for a tour and luncheon at the facility. The cost of the luncheon is $5, and reservations are needed. Please let Carol Chambard know by October 10th, if you plan to attend.


Those fun-loving Lunch-Bunchers have decided to hold their next lunch meeting at Jackpot Junction at 12:00 Noon on Tuesday, October 5th. It is suggested that those wishing to attend make arrangements to carpool.


Our condolences to the family of James Darling, age 53, who died while sandbagging during the recent flooding in Austin. Jim and his family, wife Lisa and children Margaret, William and Henry, attended Nora Church in the early 1990s before moving to Austin.


We had three RE Sundays. Several people are responsible for helping us all get off to a good start. THANK YOU’s go out to Joy Rathman, Julie Sellner, and Kristi Bodick for cleaning out the closet downstairs. It looks great! To Julie Peck for purchasing all of the supplies for the program. It was great to walk in on Sunday and see everything in the boxes. And finally to Julie Peck, Brenda Wiger, Julie Sellner, Kristy Paulson, Joy Rathman, and Chrissy Schmitt for helping with Sunday School classes this first month.

You should have received an RE Opportunities for All sheet in the September newsletter. Please take the time to consider how you may contribute your time and talents to the Nora youth, and talk with Anne about how you would like to help.

If you have signed up to help with RE, please check your e-mail. Anne will be e-mailing the people who will be teaching and/or helping with RE. Lesson plans will be sent via e-mail, and specific lesson materials will be in each group’s box.

LOOKING AHEAD: It has been suggested that we try a Wednesday or Saturday RE activity with the kids. Don will be included in this activity time. It will provide Don and the kids with opportunities to get to know each other better. We will meet Wednesday, Oct.13th from 6:30 to 7:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall. We will be making Autumn gifts to take to the residents at the Madelia Nursing home on Halloween. The Riekes will provide a snack and beverage, Don will provide some music, and we will all have some fun. Since we are meeting on Wednesday, there will not be Sunday school the following Sunday, Oct. 17th. The kids are invited to join the rest of the congregation in church that day. There will be someone to watch the youngest children in the nursery. We will try this format and see how it goes. As always, your opinions and comments are appreciated.

On Halloween we will be trick or treating at the Madelia Nursing Home from 10:30 to 11:00 AM. Please wear your costumes and bring your trick or treat bags. We will leave the church at 10:15, so please arrive before then. After we have given the residents some Autumn gifts and gone trick or treating, we will return to the Fellowship Hall for some Halloween refreshments. If anyone is interested in contributing or supplying the Halloween refreshments, please talk with Anne. Thank you!!!


CONGRATULATIONS and best wishes to Kate Beckius and Jason Monnens who were married at Nora Church on Sept. 18th. They are residing in St. James.

An informal gathering was held at the Wally Wellmann home to celebrate the arrival of our new minister, Don Rollins, as well as a return visit by former minister Paul Johnson, his wife Carol Rowan and daughter Kristen.

Laura (Olofson), Robert and Kyle Filby visited the church and others in the area during July. Laura’s father, Terry Olofson, was minister of the Nora Church until his untimely death in 1989.

A sincere THANK YOU to friends and members of Nora Church who remembered Wally and B. Jean Wellmann on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.


Just a reminder that SMORGASBORD, our big fall festival and fund-raiser, is on Sunday, October 3rd. Many people are busy planning, baking and preparing items for the Country Store to ensure the success of this event. But in addition to the work, it is also a time for fun and fellowship as we pay homage to the Norwegian heritage of Nora Church. Thanks for all the effort, and let’s hope for good weather.

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