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.

June, 2005
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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.

June 5 – “Sunday School/Re Memories”
RE Classes

     • Servers: Sheldon & Anne Rieke, Doug Anderson
     • Ushers: Algot & Bonita Blomquist
     • Musician: Jordan Rathman

June 12 – “A Contrite Heart”
Reverend Don Rollins

Originally scheduled for May 15, the idea of contrition is familiar to orthodox Catholics and Protestants. But what about religious liberals? Don’t we make decisions that sometimes hurt others?
     • Servers: John & Julie Schmitt
     • Ushers: Lee & Lynn Schmitt
     • Musician: Muffie Rathman

June 19 – “The Flower Communion”
Reverend Don Rollins

First held in Czechoslovakia as a tribute to community, the Flower Communion has come to have special meaning in light of its founder’s death at the hand of Nazis. Please bring at least one flower to be exchanged in the service.
     • Servers: Ardelle & Lorraine Becken
     • Ushers: Jerry & Susan Allen
     • Musician: Joanne Saxton
     • 9:00 Adult Discussion Group

June 26 – “Joint UU/UCC Service”
We are reinstating the annual service with the New Ulm United Church of Christ, to be held at Shelter #1 in Herman Park, at 10:00 A.M. A potluck and games will follow the service, so be sure to bring utensils, food and drink to share and a lawn chair or blanket. (Rev. Campbell is also planning a turtle race. Anyone willing to secure a turtle to represent the UU’s against the UCC?)

View From The Hill

Rev. Don Rollins

As we near the end of the church year there are several odds and ends I want to mention in this, my last column until September. But first I’d like to thank you for a truly enjoyable first year with you. We’ve accomplished the most important challenge to any new ministry: we’ve established trust. By my lights, not only do we trust one another, we also trust that Nora Church has a long-term future. And that’s exciting!

I’ll be more specific and practical when I submit my report at the Annual Meeting, on June 5, but for now please know that I’m grateful for the good work that preceded my arrival last July, and I’m proud of the good work we’ve done since. Thank you for your trust, support, and love.

Okay, let’s talk nuts and bolts. Not everyone knows where we are headed with all the attention to administration, so here’s my quick summary of what’s going on in each area of our shared ministry:

Committee on Ministry

This five-member committee was re-created to:

  1. help the congregation and minister apply the primary values of our mission and vision statements (freedom, community and justice) to all aspects of our shared ministry, and
  2. design a process for resolving internal crises.

In short, they exist as consultants who help make a great church even better.

Children’s Religious Education

Anne Rieke, with the help of many others, has brought focus and consistency to our programming for children and youth. (I’m glad that Anne will be staying on as our RE Coordinator.) Come fall, Jeanie Hinsman and I will be teaching our Coming of Age program.


We continue to be in the black despite the twin costs of the parsonage projects and a return to full-time ministry. As part of our increased attention to fundraising, we are laying the groundwork for attracting outside weddings and unions.

Adult Growth and Education

This committee has three distinct types of programming in the works:

  1. covenant groups (see Christopher Olson’s excellent description of these groups elsewhere in this newsletter),
  2. structured programs (4-5 session curricula on such topics as spirituality, UUism, world religions, etc.) and
  3. one-time offerings (guest speakers, forums, movies for viewing and discussing).


These folks just got started on methods for attracting, retaining and supporting newcomers. By September, they will have a process in place for welcoming and following-up on all visitors. A pictorial Nora Church directory is in the works.


Those who schedule and help design Sunday services when I am out of the pulpit continue to do an excellent job of balancing what is working and what might be improved. They provide feedback on the services I lead, too. Look for more opportunities for Nora members to be involved in our services. Oh, and how ‘bout the choir!

Building and Grounds

No one’s quite sure how many members are really on this committee, and no one seems certain as to when they last met, yet all major (and most minor) projects get done. With an eye toward long-range planning we may ask for a tad more organization from these men and women, but if it ain’t broke . . . . .

Social Justice

Perhaps no committee has been more active than these good folks. In addition to reviving our Partner Church participation, the entire church will be selecting one local and one “global” issue on which to focus for the new church year.


This committee is as yet unformed, but will be organized early in the fall. The goal is to identify and train a group of lay folk to help keep us in touch with members and friends who need some extra attention.

As you can see, it has been a productive year. I am convinced that the long-term health of this precious, beloved community hinges on how well we focus our time, effort, and dollars. As you can see from the above, we are taking that challenge to heart.

Changing topics, I will be traveling for a good part of July and early August. While I’ll make sure that Sheldon knows how to reach me most of the time, please jot down my cell phone number in case of emergency: 507-276-8464. (My phone plan will charge me extra for roaming beyond southern Minnesota, thus the reason to make sure Sheldon can provide a landline phone number.)

Lastly, thanks for a swell installation service! If you missed it, there were greetings from the local clergy, (Rev. Hank Campbell, New Ulm United Church of Christ), the Mankato UUs (Rev. Lisa Friedman), and the Prairie Star District UU Ministerial Association (Rev. Mary Samuels). The sermon was given by a native Minnesotan and colleague, Rev. Christine Nielsen. Our choir sang, Jeanie Hinsman offered a welcome on behalf of our Search Committee and Committee on Ministry, and our Board chair, Sheldon Rieke, coordinated the service. The church was lovingly decorated by Bev and Wally Wellmann (complete with Ohio State colors!) and Edith Beckius and a cast of thousands saw to it that we didn’t leave hungry.

Blessings on you as we take a brief respite from our work.

--- Don



Although not yet firm, Don is planning trips to Canada, Ohio and Michigan during July and early August. He may be contacted by cell phone in the event of an emergency, otherwise he will leave contact information with Sheldon Rieke and/or other board members.


The Adult Religious Education Committee has begun developing a variety of Adult RE offerings for the coming year.

Plans include the creation of Covenant Groups for those people interested in being involved with an ongoing group program. Covenant Groups are a form of small group ministry that would meet on a regular, ongoing basis to connect with others and explore subjects of mutual interest. (These subjects will be determined by the members of the group at the time the group is formed.) We have scheduled a 90-minute training session for September 18 for people interested in Covenant Groups. This session will focus on how to build successful groups, and also train facilitators for those interested in taking on such a role within the groups.

Also in development is an Adult RE curriculum that will aim to explore various subjects of interest in a more limited timeframe, perhaps 4-5 sessions in as many weeks.

In addition to these offerings, we are planning a series of individual or “one-time” events, such as film screenings or outside speakers. Besides hosting such events at Nora, we are planning to sponsor events that are more public as a means of connecting with the larger community.

The first event in this series will be a screening of the film “What the Bleep Do We Know? The film will be shown at Nora Church on the following dates: Thursday, June 9th at 6:00 P.M.; Saturday, June 11th at 2:00 P.M.; Sunday, June 12th at 1:00 P.M. Please bring a sack lunch to enjoy at these showings; treats will be provided. Discussion time will follow each viewing. (Note: we are also considering an additional public screening of this film in New Ulm at a later date.)

In order to gauge the level of interest and likely participation in the various areas of Adult RE, the committee will be offering a questionnaire in September. In the meantime, we welcome your questions, suggestions, and comments. Members of the committee are: Kristi Bodick, Doug Anderson, Kristine Paulson, Noah Rosenbloom, and Christopher Olson.


On May 15th, the Social Justice Committee presented information on six areas of concern that are to be considered at the annual meeting. The local issues include: Habitat for Humanity, New Ulm Area Food Shelf, and Food for All (food distribution in St. James). The global issues include: Slavery and people trafficking, care packages for the children in Iraq, and our partner church in Translyvania. If you did not hear the presentation in May and would like a printed copy of the power point presentation, please call Darrell/Jeanie Hinsman (359-7494). Other printed information about these issues is available on the tables in the entry way of the fellowship hall. The congregation will vote to select one local and one global issue for our areas of emphasis during the 2005-2006 church year. There will be a brief time for questions and discussion at the meeting preceding our vote.

Happy Father’s Day!


Thank you to the following people for all of their help teaching RE or helping in the nursery this past year: Kristi Bodick, Kristy Paulson, Shannon Weiss, John Makepeace, Chrissy Schmitt, Joy Rathman, Brenda Wiger, Sheldon Rieke, Julie Sellner, Laurie Kunerth, Anne Makepeace, Vicki Sieve, Julie Peck, and Jeanie Hinsman. Our RE program would not have been possible without all of you. Thank you so much.

Thank you to all of you who helped RE by donating materials or funds for activities. Your support and assistance is always appreciated.

We are trying something new for RE next year. We will be having Sunday School for the Juniors and the Tweeners before the church service. We will meet from 9:30 to 10:15. The Juniors, Tweeners and COA children will attend the church service. Several parents have said they believe Don’s sermons are very timely and contain messages they would like their children to hear, particularly the older children. Parents have also indicated they would like to help with Sunday School, however do not like to miss the services. It is hoped the children’s presence will help build their understanding and attachment to Nora Church. The nursery will still be available to the youngest children. If the elementary age children are getting too restless, they could also go to the nursery, if needed. People who have expressed an interest in teaching Sunday School for the next year will be contacted over the summer.

COA News: Mentors have been selected. The children and their parents have completed their interest forms. The next step will be to match the mentors and the children. There will be a get together for the mentors, children and families in August. We have thought of many ideas for the COA program and will be developing COA activities at our next RE Committee meeting.

June dates: End of the year service is June 5th. RE classes will be doing the service and the theme will be “Celebration.” June 12th – so long for the summer activity. Families will be contacted about our activity.

Keep your eyes open for the August newsletter. We will have more information about our start-up activity in August.


Pampered Chef Party

Need a birthday, wedding or shower gift? On Tuesday, June 21, at 6:30 P.M., there will be “Pampered Chef” party in the Fellowship Hall at Nora Church. Party points earned will allow for purchasing of new utensils for Nora Church kitchen. Any questions, please call Julie Sellner at 375-8737.

Rummage Sale

There will be a Rummage and Bake Sale on Saturday, June 25, starting at 9:00 A.M. at Nora Church. Please bring marked/priced items to the church anytime before June 25th. Prefer NO adult clothing. If you have any questions, please contact Shirley Olson at 439-6879.

Relay for Life

Brown County Relay for Life is Friday, August 19th at the Brown County Fairgrounds. If you are interested in purchasing a luminary in honor of a cancer survivor or in memory of a loved one, please contact Julie Sellner at 38\75-8737. The suggested donation is $10 per luminary.


Congratulations to Jon and Laura Wiger who were married on May 28th. Jon is the son of Mark and Brenda Wiger.

Congratulations to David and Annie Rosenbloom who were married May 29 in St. Paul. David is the son of Noah and Janet Rosenbloom.

Congratulations to Julie Sellner, who was recently chosen “Brown County Daycare Provider of the Year.”

Best wishes to Elise Olivia Allen, daughter of Joel and Kara Allen and granddaughter of Jerry and Susan Allen and Art and Kathy Olsen, who was dedicated at Nora Church on May 29th.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nora Members who are experiencing health problems. A candle of care is lit for each of you at Sunday services.

Bob Schmitt and family say “Thanks” to everyone who shared in the celebration of his “80th” birthday through cards, letters and visiting on May 22nd. A good time was had by all and many memories were shared.

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