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, 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.

“Stories from Church: A Slightly Critical Mass”
Reverend Don Rollins

     • Musician: JoAnne Saxton
     • Greeters/Usher: Alon & Carol Chambord* Nancy Dickson (u), Nita Gilbert (u)

October 9 – “Responses to Tragedy: the Existential, the Aesthetic and the Ethical”
Reverend Nels Oas

     • Musician: JoAnne Saxton
     • Servers: Ellen Byro, Sandi Benge
     • Greeters/Ushers: Clayton & Shirley Olson* (u) Janney Rieke, Eric Byro
     • 9:00 Adult Discussion Group

October 16 – “Waiting for Godot . . . and Everyone and Everything Else”
Reverend Don Rollins

     • Musician: Jordan Rathman
     • Servers: John & Anne Makepeace
     • Greeters/Ushers: Kevin & Shannon Weiss* (us) Jordan Rathman, Tessa Makepeace
     • 9:00 Adult Discussion Group
     • 8:30 Board of Trustees Meeting

October 23 – “Abortion and Religious Freedom”
Reverend Don Rollins

     • Musician: Mimi Kamleiter
     • Servers: Wendy Tuttle, Kay Steffl
     • Greeters/Ushers: Noah & Janet Rosenbloom* (u) Jim Harbur
     • 9:00 Adult Discussion Group

October 30 – Topic to be arranged
Reverend Mark Yackel-Juleen

     • Musician: Sally Hanson
     • Servers: Ron & Julie Peck
     • Greeters/Ushers: Darrell & Jeanie Hinsman* (u) Reggie Peck

View From The Hill

Rev. Don Rollins

I’d very much like to believe I don’t read or hear some things that I read and hear. Take for example the radical religious conservative who is convinced that the recent hurricanes that ravaged the Gulf Coast are God’s way of punishing the country for its legalization of abortion and “increasing tolerance of the sin of homosexuality.” Truth is, I’m neither Mother Teresa nor Mother Jones; on the one hand, I’d prefer not to show a lick of patience for such hurtful drivel, but on the other hand, I’m not exactly up for organizing a protest at that fellow’s church.

We who inhabit the proverbial buckle of the Bible Belt know well that the tension I’m trying to describe is real, for we live that tension. We live it with our friends, neighbors, co-workers, colleagues and, in some cases, our family members. Given our immediate context, we’re not likely to be organizing a sit-in anytime soon. But to borrow from Peggy Lee (man, how old is that reference?) is that all there is? Do we just commiserate while ignorance and arrogance become the boiler plate for organized religion?

I know, this is not the first time I’ve addressed the tension of being a liberal religious presence in a decidedly religiously conservative part of the country; I’ve talked about it in two recent sermons as well as in this space. But a body can start feeling a little crazy when all around there are those who are fully convinced that their excusive beliefs are literal truth. (Invoking yet another totally antiquated reference, recall that comedian George Goebels’ line, “I feel like the whole world’s a tuxedo and I’m a pair of brown shoes!”)

Goofy quotes aside, there are also folks around who would like to feel the embrace of a religion rooted in freedom, community and justice. Perhaps you know a few yourself. If so, how about letting them in on what we’re about here on The Hill? Study after study indicates that we ought to remain steadfast in our efforts to attract, welcome and minister to newcomers, but those same studies indicate that one-to-one contact from a friend is the most effective tool for numerical growth.

So, what say we covenant to ignore those who see the hand of a vengeful God in the suffering of hurricane survivors. Let’s let our dollars of support be our response to such tragic events. And I ask you to think about inviting a friend or two to check us out. Soon

--- Blessings, Don


The first meeting of the Social Justice Committee was held on Sunday, September 18th to begin work on the issues voted on by the congregation at their annual meeting. Those two issues: Food for All (the initiative through St. James), as the local issue, and Children of Iraq, as the global issue. Contacts are being made to determine what direction our help is needed as we plan the year. More information will follow in subsequent newsletters about congregational initiatives recommended. Our first activity is being initiated by the RE group (Yea kids!!!!) who would like to create boxes for the Food For All or the New Ulm Food Shelf at their November Wednesday evening activity. Please listen to announcements in church for what may be needed for this initial project.

The Social Justice Committee will meet again on Tuesday, October 18th at 408 South Highland in New Ulm at 7:30 PM. Anyone interested in joining the group, please join us or give Brenda Wiger a call at 507-354-5265.


The Board has met twice this new church year and has approved a number of projects. The balcony conversion project is nearly complete. The balcony has been remodeled for use as an RE classroom and a quiet space for parents with young children to use during services. New carpeting and padding have been installed to dampen sound, and a plexiglass barrier is being put up to protect the children. A speaker will be installed to carry the service. The space also is available for extra seating if needed. Thanks to the volunteers, led by Sheldon Rieke, who did much of the work.

The board also approved the purchase and installation of an automatic dual 1.5 gallon coffeemaker. The Schmitt family has generously contributed $1,500 toward the project, and the Nora Women’s Society will pay for the plumbing installation. Those of you who still want to make egg coffee are free to do so.

The board voted to send $500 to our partner church in Benced, Transylvania. Many donations have been received, including $50 from the Sunday school as part of its service project. Sarah and Jerry Oelberg are going to visit Benced and will deliver our contribution along with a letter of greeting from Rev. Rollins on behalf of the church. Contributions are still welcome.

Thanks to Nancy Dickson’s initiative, a new sign for the church has been put up at the intersection of Hwy. 257 and the gravel road. Thank you to the 5 strong men who put the sign up. It looks great.

Nora Church’s 125th anniversary is coming up in 2006, and the board is seeking volunteers to help plan the celebration. Anyone interested, please contact Sheldon Rieke.

With much regret, the board accepted Julie Schmitt’s resignation as church secretary/administrative assistant. Julie has done a great job and will be missed. The board appreciates all she has done. A search is under way for a replacement.


Jackpot Junction has been selected for the next Lunch Bunch get-together. The date will be sometime in October ?????? (check with Don or Carol). Those interested should consider car-pooling. All are invited to attend.


A reminder to everyone that baked goods, craft items, homemade gifts, fresh fruits and vegetables are welcome for the Country Store for Smorgasbord which takes place on Sunday, October 2. Your help would be appreciated also for making meatballs and setting up on Saturday, October 1 starting at 9:00 A.M. Please be thinking about what you can do to help. The event involves a lot of planning and work, but it is also fun and is a great way to bring the congregation together. Any questions, call Joy Rathman at 877-2457 or Julie Sellner at 375-8737.


Your program committee is planning a program for November 13 loosely based on the National Public Radio series, “This I Believe” which airs on Mondays during Morning Edition. We are recruiting participants who would share up to 3 minutes of “who you are, your beliefs, values, meaning of life, your heroes, etc.” Please respond to Susan Allen at 359-2856, if you are interested in participating.


Marylinn O’Reilly is recuperating from surgery to repair a broken bone. She is at home at Luther Memorial Home in Madelia.

Lee Schmitt has returned to active duty with the National Guard. He is training to become a combat medic before returning to Iraq.

Nora Church served the Red Cross workers at the recent Bloodmobile stop in New Ulm. Thanks to Edith Beckius and Janet Johnson who arranged for the food and serving, and to those who supplied bars.


Well, Sunday School, RE Wednesday and Coming of Age are all underway. At our September RE Wednesday, we decided to contribute some of the money earned from the Easter Breakfast to flood victims – in the Gulf Coast and Transylvania. Fifty dollars was sent to each group of flood victims.

Our topics for Sunday School for October are as follows:

October 9th: Noah, Timeless Themes #4. Teachers will be Sheldon Rieke for the Juniors and Anne Makepeace for the Tweeners.

October 16th: Tower of Babel, Timeless Themes #6. Teachers will be Chrissy Schmitt for the Juniors and Laurie Kunerth for the Tweeners.

October 30th: Jonah, Timeless Themes #19. Teachers will be Julie Sellner for the Juniors and Kristi Bodick for the Tweeners.


*Sunday School is from 9:30 – 10:15.

*We will have Sunday School after RE Wednesdays. This is a change from last year. Each month, except September and January, there is at least one Sunday off. In order to cover the materials we’d like to cover this year, the RE Committee decided to have Sunday School after RE Wednesdays.

*In November, RE Wednesday and the first COA class will be held on Wednesday, November 2nd.


Sunday, October 2 – Smorgasbord. Each of the kids have been assigned a job, so please check your family slips to see what your child(ren) will be doing on the 2nd.

Wednesday, October 12 - RE Wednesday at 6:30. We will have a Halloween party. There will be games, activities, and treats. Please plan on joining us. COA class will meet at 6:30.

Sunday, October 23 – No Sunday School – MEA weekend

Wednesday, October 26 – OCA class will meet at 6:30.

The nursery is now open for infant/toddlers/preschoolers and their parents during services. Please feel free to use it as you need.

We are always looking for people interested in teaching or helping out with RE and Sunday School. Please feel free to talk to Anne Rieke if you have questions about the Nora RE program.


MBW is a company that supports people in pursuing dreams and living fuller lives. We currently have some openings in the Hanska-Sleepy Eye area. If you would like to assist others, please give Jane Christensen a call at 888-294-8721, ext. 126 or 507-354-3808, ext. 126.


Reach out for Warmth is a program that is available to eligible households twelve months of the year providing funding is available. This program provides needed emergency help to low income households to help insure heat during the winter months or necessary electricity during the summer months. All Reach Out for Warmth monies are raised and spent locally. The State of Minnesota will match any contribution on a two to one basis using Federal Funds. Please consider a contribution to the Reach Out for Warmth fund. With your help we can keep our community warm this winter. Contact Nancy Braam, Brown County Energy Programs or send contributions to: Reach Out for Warmth, Brown County Energy Programs, PO Box 788, New Ulm, MN 56073

REMINDER: All newsletter articles are due October 28 for the November newsletter.

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