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.

November, 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.

November 6: “The Free Pulpit” – Rev. Lisa Friedman, from the UU Fellowship of Mankato, will be trading pulpits with Don as she explores the meaning of the free pulpit and reflects on the art of preaching in the liberal religious tradition. (Lisa will also lead a discussion of her sermon at the 9:00 A.M. adult education discussion, held in the parsonage parlor.)

9:00 Discussion Group
9:00 Choir
10:00 Coffee Hour
10:30 Service
11:30 COA mentors
11:30 Potluck

     • Musician: Sally Hanson
     • Potluck Servers: Laurie & Pat Kunerth, Michelle Bethke and Lynn Schmitt
     • Greeters/Usher: Chris Bodick, John Bauer, Janney Rieke and Jordan Rathman

November 13: “This I Believe” – Nora Church, like every UU congregation, exists to promote religious freedom. This service will feature several Nora members who will share their core beliefs as we celebrate that freedom.

9:00 Discussion Group
9:00 Choir
10:00 Coffee Hour
10:30 Service

     • Musician: Jordan Rathman
     • Servers: “Coming of Age” class
     • Greeters/Ushers: Gil & Sally Hanson and Kristi Paulson

November 20: “Hunger at Home and Afar” – Members of our Social Justice Committee and some of our children and youth will join Don as we consider both scarcity and plenty.

8:30 Board meeting
9:00 Discussion Group
9:00 Choir
10:00 Coffee Hour
10:30 Service
11:30 Caring Committee

     • Musician: Mimi Kamleiter
     • Servers: Kristi Bodick
     • Greeters/Ushers: Algot & Bonita Blomquist, Tessa Makepeace, and Reggie Peck

November 27: “A Liberal Religious Theology of the Body” – Reverend Don Rollins
Sure, we talk about the spiritual. And we certainly honor the intellect. But what about our bodies? Does liberal religion have anything to tell us about the physical part of being human?

9:00 Discussion Group
9:00 Choir
10:00 Coffee Hour
10:30 Service
11:30 Membership Com

     • Musician: Sally Hanson
     • Servers: Sheldon & Anne Rieke
     • Greeters/Ushers: Wally & Beverly Wellmann and Christopher Olson

View From The Hill

Rev. Don Rollins

Ever wonder what UU ministers and religious educators talk about when they get together? Church? Politics? Religion? Family?

The obvious answer is all of the above. We talk about all those things. And we talk about struggle. We struggle to keep abreast of the people and institutions we’re called to serve and are generally in love with. We struggle to know who needs us most, when, where and how. We struggle to be present – truly present – to those who know and love us as persons, not professionals, be they partner, child, relative or friend. And we struggle to be our authentic selves within the sometimes difficult and always shifting vocation of ministry.

As I’ve said before, church as we know it is dying. The model that has been largely dominant in Protestant circles since the European invasion of the Americas (you know, the model taken from the Pilgrims and Puritans) is on its last legs. To be a liberal religious professional in these days of transition is to try new ideas, empower laity and challenge tired assumptions. In such times, good ministry means entering the struggle for a new paradigm of church. And it ain’t always easy.

But this is not an appeal for pity; frankly, those religious professionals who are not up to the challenge should do us all a favor and either get in the game or find another career. No, this is just an opportunity to let you know that, overall, some mighty fine human beings are engaged in the art and craft of liberal religious leadership. And it’s an opportunity to tell you how grateful I am to have them as colleagues and friends.

So, what say we enter this season of giving thanks by acknowledging, first and foremost, the Struggle – that engagement with life that has the power to transform our lives and congregations. And let’s not forget my colleagues, the women and men who have chosen to locate their struggle, personal and professional, in our ministry.

--- Happy Thanksgiving, Don


The Social Justice Committee is busy working on the goals voted on by the congregation for this year. In addition to our local goal of supporting Food for All and our global goal of supporting the children of war in Iraq, $500 has been sent to help our sister church in Benced, Transylvania. You may remember they suffered severe damage due to the flooding that occurred in their area. Sarah Oelberg was able to hand deliver our financial support as she had a trip planned to the area. November 20th - you’ll notice in the calendar of services for this month - we will be working together with Don and the youth to kick off the Guest At Your Table program for this year. Our goal is to have multiple occasions for the youth and adults to work together on projects during the year.

Our committee also defined its mission at our October meeting. Our mission will be:
To inform and educate Nora members about current social justice issues, lead and involve members in acting on issues, and to facilitate our connections with other social justice groups.


The Board of Trustees adopted the following policy at its October board meeting:

“In order to make informed decisions, the Board of Trustees asks that any information concerning an item to be put on the board agenda, especially those concerning a purchase, be given to the Board President 10 days before a Board of Trustees meeting. The information can be given to the Board members with the meeting agenda. If this procedure is not followed, the Board of Trustees reserves the right to postpone the vote on that item until the following meeting.”

In other business, the Board approved the purchase of speakers to be located in the Kaffe Stua and the basement so that the rooms could be used in case of a large event. The Board is still seeking members to plan a 125th anniversary celebration. Anyone interested should contact Rev. Rollins or Sheldon Rieke. Also discussed was the formation of a Caring Committee to assist the minister with visitation.


The Board last month grudgingly accepted the resignation of Julie Schmitt as our office administrator, and hired Nita Gilbert to fill the position. Be sure to let Julie know how much you’ve appreciated her work, and be sure to congratulate Nita on her new job. Thanks, Julie. Welcome, Nita.


Now that we have a nice wooden desk in the church office, we’re looking for a couple of office chairs to finish off the improvements to that space. If you happen to have a reasonably serviceable office chair or two you’d like to be rid of, see Don or Nita.


Some of you are already aware of these, but I want to either remind or inform you of two ways to give to the church and get additional income tax benefits. The first method is to give appreciated stock directly to the church. You don’t pay capital gains on the gain in value, and you get a charitable deduction for the full value of the stock on the date given to the church. The church has an account through Andy Foster at Piper Jaffray, Mankato, and his toll-free number is 1-800-395-3445.

The second method, which works well for farmers, is to give grain to the church. This removes the grain receipt from your taxable income, which is a better benefit than the normal charitable deduction because you save self-employment tax. You must be an active farm proprietor or partner and also be on the cash basis. Get a storage receipt made out to the church, and send it to me at my home address: 1622 Northridge Lane, N. Mankato, MN 56003, with a letter indicating that you are giving the grain to the church and that the church can sell it at any time that it wishes. The church must then directly instruct the elevator to sell. Any FSA certification must be done before the gift is made. –Sally Hanson


Gil and Sally Hanson’s oldest son is undergoing treatment for cancer.

Clayton Olson’s son Noel is recovering from a heart attack.

Bryan Becken, Ardelle Becken’s son and a new visitor at Nora, has undergone three weeks of radiation to the brain, and will be having chemotherapy in the near future.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families.


Another successful Smorgasbord was held October 2nd, on a beautiful fall day. Many members and friends of Nora Church helped make it a fun and fruitful event. A special thanks to Joy Rathman and Julie Sellner who co-chaired the event. They brought new ideas and energy and did a great job organizing and getting people involved. In a preliminary report, Nora Women’s Society treasurer Bonita Blomquist indicated that a total of $5,471.50 was collected that day from ticket sales, donations, food sold and proceeds from the Country Store. All bills were notin at this writing so net totals are not available, but it looks like it compares favorably with previous years. More than 400 dinners were served (the figure includes workers). –Janet Rosenbloom

Thank you to everyone who helped make Smorgasbord successful! To those of you who helped prepare the church and grounds, baked and cooked, shared your culinary and artistic talents in the Country Store, entertained the masses, made monetary donations, and cleaned up when the day was over: Thank you!! It made the whole experience so much easier for two rookie co-chairs to have so many dedicated people to depend on for advice and help. –Joy Rathman and Julie Sellner


A committal service for Bonita (“Bonnie”) E. Hahn was held at 2:00 P.M. Friday, October 28th at Nora Church with internment of cremains at Mt. Pisquah Cemetery. Bonnie was the sister of Phil Hahn, a member of Nora Church and current resident of Des Moines, Iowa.

Bonnie was born on March 26, 1948. She graduated from Arlington-Green Isle High School, then went on to complete her undergraduate studies at St. Olaf College. She lived in both Boston and Chicago, and had a business, Student Flights, for a period of time. She also graduated from the University of Chicago with a graduate degree in humanities.

Bonnie had friends from all over the world. At St. Olaf she studied Eastern religion and went on a global semester for six months. She really was a citizen of the world, and she loved life. However, due to the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis, she spent approximately the last seventeen years of her life bound to a wheel chair.

Bonnie died on July 16, 2004 of aspiration pneumonia at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. A memorial service was held in Des Moines.


The next Lunch Bunch get-together will be on Wednesday, November 9th at 11:30 A.M. at the Holiday Inn, downtown Mankato. All are invited to attend!


Come join us for a fun-filled day of baking on Saturday, November 12th from 9 A.M. till …??? Learn some tips in making some of our Norwegian “goodies”: lefse, flat bread, rosettes, krumkake (scrullers). There will be a $15.00 charge to cover expenses. Each person will be taking home some of each item. Please call by Monday, November 7th to one of the following: Joy Rathman (507) 877-2457, Julie Sellner (507) 375-8737, or Shirley Olson (507) 439-6879.


The New Ulm Area Ministerium will host a community Thanksgiving service on Wednesday, November 23 at 7:00 P.M. (It will likely be held at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, 417 S. Minnesota. Listen during announcement time at church for further details.) As the sermon for the service, Don will be using the one-man Thanksgiving presentation he gave last year at Nora. Plan on joining us!


Sunday morning adult discussions will be at 9:00 A.M. every Sunday in November and the topics will be as follows:

Nov. 6: “The Free Pulpit” (Discussion to be led by Rev. Lisa Friedman)
Nov. 13: “The Faith of a Humanist”
Nov. 20: “The Faith of a Buddhist”
Nov. 27: “The Faith of a Theist”


Okay, so you’re thinking that all the good movies stopped with “The Three Stooges Go To Mars”. Well, take heart, the Adult Growth & Education Committee is hosting Movie Night at the church for at least the next few months. The November feature will be “The Apostle” (Robert Duvall) and will be shown on Friday, November 4 at 7:00 P.M. Bring a snack or non-alcoholic beverage to share. (Note that this film has one violent scene and some adult language.)

A cookie bake/exchange is being planned for early December. An announcement will be made with further details.


Smorgasbord: Thank you to the kids that worked at the games and raffle during Smorgasbord. They earned $174.50 and should be very proud of themselves for the effort they put into their work. The earnings will be combined with the money that is left from Easter Breakfast last Spring to use for service projects. We will be working on our first service project at our November RE Wednesday.

November Sunday School Topics/Teachers

Nov. 6:      Joseph and His Brothers, Timeless Themes # 9
Teachers: Julie Sellner for the Juniors; Anne and John Makepeace for the Tweeners.
Nov. 13:      Learning About Advent, Faith Footsteps
Teachers: Sheldon Rieke for the Juniors; Laurie Kunerth for the Tweeners.
Nov. 20: Guest at Your Table Sunday: We will learn more about UUSC and the Guest at Your Table program. Guest at Your Table boxes/envelopes will be passed out today.
Teachers: To be determined for the Juniors; Anne and John Makepeace for the Tweeners.

Curriculum materials and activities will be sent to the teachers the Monday or Tuesday before they teach.

Important RE Dates

Nov. 2: RE Wednesday at 6:30. We will be decorating and filling boxes to contribute to either the people at Food for All in St. James or The Food Shelf in New Ulm. The themes for the boxes will be: Birthday Party; Family Movie Night; and Baby Supplies. Items will be purchased for the boxes using our service project money. The boxes will be decorated with wrapping paper and fun materials, so come ready to create. COA class will meet at 6:30.


Nov. 16: COA class will meet at 6:30.


over the Sunday School Calendar for the remainder of the year. Please bring your calendars,
so you can be prepared to sign up to teach for Sundays in January and February. This will also be a nice time to share things you thought have worked well so far this year, and things which could be improved.
Nov. 27:  No Sunday School because of Thanksgiving holiday.


* 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.

Children’s Winter Service

The Children’s Winter service will be Sunday, December 11th . The title is “A Holiday Pagent”.

There will be parts for all of the children, COA’ers, Tweeners, Juniors and preschoolers/toddlers. Individual readings will be divided and given to the children to read through on Nov. 20th. Please let Anne know ASAP if your child(ren) will not be available to participate on Dec. 11th . We will run through the script with props on Sunday, Dec. 4th . for Sunday School. COA’ers should plan on attending Sunday School on Dec. 4th, if possible.

Other announcements

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

We would like the children from the Juniors and Tweeners class to join us during church, however recognize that between Sunday School and church it may be a long time for the children to sit. If families are feeling the church service is too long for the younger children (Juniors and Tweeners) to sit through, they may feel free to let their children leave after the children’s story. There will be an age appropriate video downstairs for them to view until the end of the service. If the weather is nice, they may also play outside. Several of the children have chosen to play outside and that has worked well.

We ask that the elementary school children not use the nursery as it is a tiny space that was designed for the youngest children. Thank you for your assistance.

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

NEW NOTE: All newsletter articles are due the third Sunday of the month. So, for the December Mere Lys, they will need to be in by Sunday, November 20th. You can send articles to me at my email address: or my mailing address: 15045 185th Ave., Hanska, MN 56041.

Thank you! - Nita Gilbert



One Voice: An 80-voice gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community chorus from the Twin Cities going on tour throughout Minnesota to bring their message of freedom and equality.

Saturday, November 5, 7:30 P.M.
Ostrander Auditorium, Mankato State University
Information: 507-389-5131 Tickets $5

Sunday, November 6, 10:00 A.M. worship (FREE)
New Ulm United Church of Christ
301 South Minnesota Street, New Ulm
Information: 507-354-4242

Service of Remembrance: Put on by the staff and volunteers of the New Ulm Medical Center Hospice Program. To remember and give thanks for the men and women who have touched our lives and hearts and whose presence we miss.

Sunday, November 6, 3:00 P.M.
First United Methodist Church
1 North Broadway, New Ulm

“Faith in Song” Choral Festival: An evening of musical praise and thanksgiving sponsored by Faith in Action, a volunteer caregiver program of Brown County. A freewill offering will be collected to support volunteer caregiving and support services in Brown County.

Sunday, November 13, 1:00 P.M. (no admission charge)
St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church
417 S. Minnesota St., New Ulm
Information: 507-354-5370 or 1-866-899-0662

New Ulm Area Community Thanksgiving Service: Hosted by the New Ulm Area Ministerium. As the sermon for the service, Don will be using the one-man Thanksgiving presentation he gave last year at Nora. Plan on joining us!

Wednesday, November 23, 7:00 P.M.
St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church
417 S. Minnesota St., New Ulm
(Listen during announcement time at church to be sure on the location.)

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