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.
drawing of a mailbox

February, 2006
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- Sunday Schedule -
Adult Discussion Group: 9:00 A.M.
Choir Rehearsal: 9:00 A.M.
Social Hour: 10:00 A.M.     Worship Service: 10:30 A.M.

- Sunday Services -


Nora Church in the winter

February 5: “Making it to the Grass: Spirituality in Winter”
We cold-climate dwellers can get a little melancholy about this time of year, but winter is a rich metaphor for all kinds of worthwhile things.

February 12: “Questions of Social Justice”
Presented by the Nora Church Social Justice Committee

February 19: “Spiritual Parenting”
Is there a more important or demanding task than being a parent? Enough said.

February 26: “Emerson in the Wintertime”
Oft-quoted and mindlessly worshipped by some, still, Ralph Waldo remains worthy of our attention now and then. What has his life and vision to offer us today?

Check out the new link that was added on the Links page!
It is a link to the Unitarian Historical Society of Norway's web page that features a very interesting article about Kristofer Janson.

View From The Hill

Rev. Don Rollins

Congregations that spend too much time in the past can’t truly attend to their current and future needs. Congregations that live only for the moment can’t learn from their own history. And congregations that project their attention and resources too far into the future can’t be engaged in effective ministry today.

It’s not easy to balance these modes of being, whether we’re talking about our own lives or the one we share here at Nora Church. But try, we must. That’s why, starting this month, we’ll begin honoring those who have served our congregation long and well. We’re in the process of designing and ordering a plaque that will be hung in the church and inscribed with the names of our honorees. And during the first Sunday of each month, we’ll present them with a mounted certificate of appreciation.

First up: Lorraine Becken and Ardelle Becken. Next month: Muriel Thordson, Clarice
Sandmann, Marylinn O’Reilly and Dorothy Strom. April: Al and Dorothy Swanson.
Watch the newsletter for the honorees for May and June. (You may be next!)

Why honor these folks? Because congregations that live only for the moment can’t learn from their own history. So, what do we learn from these longtime and/or faithful Nora members? Steadfastness. Generosity. Humor. Resilience. Integrity. And what do we do with that learning? Live it ourselves, model it for our young and share it with a broken world.

This is our watch, friends - our time to mine the rich past of this stubborn little church, our time to minister to one another and this corner of the world, and our time to see to it that Nora Church has a future. We do well to honor those upon whose shoulders we are borne, that we might gain some measure of their strength and character, that we might be engaged in the present, that we might be mindful of the future.



News from the Social Justice Committee

Our benefit supper for the children of Iraq was a success. We served approximately 140 dinners and raised nearly $1100. There were so many helpers that made this event a success. Thank you to Warren and Kristine for acting as greeters, to Sheldon and Noah for being ticket takers. Thanks to Lynn and Susan for preparing and providing the meat. Thanks to Vicki and Cheryl for coming early Sunday afternoon and helping with food preparation. Thanks to the Riekes for table set up and to Joy, Janney, Anne, Chrissy, Jordan, Lynn, Janet and Joy, Vicki and Cheryl for helping in the kitchen and serving. Thank you to Alon and Clayton for dashing off to Hanska to retrieve equipment. Thanks to Algot, Don, and Nita for a terrific program. Thanks to clean up crew including Ron, Julie, Shirley, Georgine. It’s pretty obvious it took all of us to do some part. Thank you to everyone who sold tickets, bought tickets, attended, and generously contributed, and to those of you who did your part by offering words of encouragement.. In keeping with our Social Justice mission statement we think some strides were taken to “inform and educate” not only Nora members but the larger community as well, and to “lead and involve members in acting on issues” through this event. We hope this gesture will make some impact on the lives of these children.

We will again be working at the food distribution in St. James, Food for All, on Saturday, March 11. Mark your calendars and feel free to join us in providing person to person people power for this cause.

Thank you!
Jeanie, Darrell, Mark, Brenda, Chris, Sheldon


Second Sunday Offerings

On the second Sunday of each month the “loose” money will be donated to Food For All, our designated agency for addressing local hunger. (The Social Justice Committee suggested this approach, and the Board approved it.) The Second Sunday offering will apply to cash and change only, although checks may be designated to Food For All by writing “Food For All” in the memo line. Thank you for your gifts to those who need them most!

To Keep In Touch

We wish these members well as they deal with health issues.

  • Jane Thompson
  • Kristine Paulson
  • Muriel Thordson

Clarice Sandman has moved to Winthrop Good Samaritan Center.

Joanne Saxton and her piano have moved to 1001 Pheasant Ave., #103, Fairmont, MN 56031

If you know of anyone needing our assistance or attention please call one of the following Caring Committee members:

  • Georgine Tepley (chair) 359-3060 (weekdays after 5 pm)
  • Shirley Olson 439-6879
  • Carol Chambard 354-2242

THANK YOU! - Caring Committee


Fundraiser for Church:
Wholefood Farmacy

During the month of February, Kristi Bodick, through her business The Wholefood Farmacy, will be doing a fundraiser for church. Unlike most fundraisers that offer candy bars and cookies, a Wholefood Farmacy fundraiser offers whole organic foods. Physicians and other health care professionals all agree that the foundation for good health is whole, organic, nutritious food. The Wholefood Farmacy’s signature product, Phi Plus is a combination of more than 45 organic wholefoods mixed together. It is a source of complete nutrition. Along with the organic whole food, delicious soup mixes, and organic fair trade coffee is a variety of organic personal care products such as shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste. These products are 100% natural and contain no toxic ingredients.

Two orders will be placed during the month of February. One on the 10th and the other on the 23rd. Orders may also be placed on-line during the entire month. Church members are encouraged to place their orders with Kristi. This will ensure the most profit going to the church. On-line orders may be placed by any friends of family that live out of town or out of state. By placing an order directly on-line they will be able to participate in the fundraiser but will have the items sent directly to their house. About 20% of the orders placed on-line will go to the church while 30-40% of orders placed directly will go to the church.

Orders can be given to Kristi on the first three Sundays in February or by calling Kristi at home. Money will be collected at the time the order is placed. Checks can be made out to Kristi Bodick. Anyone who would like to use a credit card to pay for an order can do so by placing an order on-line. Once the orders are received, they will be handed out at church that next Sunday.

Recommended products to order: *Wholefood Starter Kit. This is a sample kit of all of the foods. *Philicious. This is a sample of the 3 most popular products- Phi Plus, Fruitalicious, and Veggielicious. *One of the Tri Decatholons or the *Liquithon. These are both 13 day cleansing programs designed for internal cleansing and weight loss.

For an overview of the products & prices, and to place an order, you can go on-line to You can also obtain a hard copy of the product descriptions & prices at Nora. For any questions or help with an order please call Kristi Bodick: 507-354-4409

Religious Education

Beginning in February, the Sunday School classes will switch to the second topic of the year. They will be taking a closer look at our UU heritage and history. The focus of the classes will be on learning more about specific people and events that have shaped our UU religion. A Lamp in Every Corner is a collection of stories about UU history, and it will be our primary resource for this unit. Each week, the children will hear a story from A Lamp in Every Corner. The remainder of their class time will be spent on activities about the topic of the story. Other supplemental resources that will be used are UU and Me , The UU Kids Book, and From Long Ago and Many Lands. If you are interested in having your children share the stories they have heard in Sunday School, please let Anne know, and we will make sure you get a copy of the book or story for you to read.

February 5:   The Seven Principles, creating our own Seven Principals book
Teachers: Juniors - Shannon Weiss; and Tweeners - Kristi Bodick.
February 12:   The Seven Principles, completing our Seven Principles book.
Teachers: Juniors - Joy Rathman; and Tweeners - Anne and John Makepeace
February 19:   No Sunday School, President’s Day weekend.
February 26:   A Lamp in Every Corner - “The Edict of Torda , Story of King John Sigismund.”
Teachers: Juniors - Sheldon Rieke; and Tweeners - to be determined.

February 5:   POSTPONED: COA kids visit to St. Mary’s Church, New Ulm will be sometime in March.
February 8:   6:30 RE Wednesday. We will make cards for the Caring Committee to send to people.
COA class.
February 12:   COA kids visit Christ the King in New Ulm.
Mentors are invited to join us. We will meet afterwards for some food and discussion.
More information will be sent to COA families and mentors regarding the visits.
February 22:   6:30 COA class.

* Sunday School is from 9:30 -10:15.
* We will have Sunday School after RE Wednesdays.

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. We ask that the elementary school children not use the nursery as it is a tiny space 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.

Lunch Bunch

Wednesday, February 15, 11:30 AM
20th Street Grill, New Ulm

All are welcome!

Bring a sweetheart along!

CANU Coffeehouse
Friday, February 10, 8 PM
Rhein River Arts Center, New Ulm

Come listen to local talent share their poetry, stories and music.
Come share your own!
Entrance fee $5 ($3 for CANU members), free for participants.

Boy Scout Troop 25

Sunday, February 12, 8:30am-1pm

Holy Trinity Middle School Cafeteria
515 North State, New Ulm

Adults $4.50 in advance ($5 at door)
Children under 12 $2.50

The Life-Living Series 2006

Mon., Jan. 30:   Qigong for Health
Mon., Feb. 6:   Part 1: Gambling: Recreation or Risk?
Part 2: Big Benefits from Better Budgeting & Credit Reporting
Mon., Feb. 13:   “A Positive Approach to Discipline”

Each program will be held at the New Ulm Middle School Auditorium (on Center & State St.) from 7-9 PM and is free of charge. No pre-registration is necessary – just come to listen and learn. For more info, please call Dick Embacher at 359-6512.


Adult Religious Education Growth
Friday, February 17
7:00 FILM

Join us and bring your friends for a potluck and movie at Nora! “What Dreams May Come” (starring Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is a movie about a couple that loses their children and four years later the husband also dies in an accident. In the afterlife, the husband discovers that his grief-stricken wife wants to take her own life, and his journey makes a turn to save her from her own hell.

The covenant group has not started yet. Anyone interested in joining is still welcome! Contact Kristi Bodick: 507-354-4409;

Prairie Star District Annual Conference

The 2006 Prairie Star District Annual Conference is coming up. Come join UUs from across eight states! This year the conference will be held April 28-30 and will be hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City, Iowa. Put it on your calendars and watch for registration materials in the spring. Early registration discounts will apply. For more information, contact Eric Severson at 608-785-1274 or at


Prairie Star District
Young Adult UU Conference

The First Universalist Young Adult Group of First Universalist Church, Minneapolis is hosting a Prairie Star District Young Adult UU Conference March 31 – April 2, 2006. Adults – generally aged 18-35 – are welcome to attend. (also children welcome with parents!) Cost is $25 and needs to be in by March 24. No walk-ins. For more information and registration forms, please see Nita.


Honorees of Nora Church

- Ardelle Becken -

Ardelle Becken

Nora Church has given rise to many fine musicians over the years, perhaps none more accomplished and appreciated than Ardelle Becken. But did you know that she didn’t always live in the Hanska area?

Ardelle Becken was born at Stratford, Iowa April 23, 1923. She and her older brother, Kip, moved with their parents to Hanska to a farm just south of Nora Church in 1939. (She graduated the following year from Hanska High School.)

Ardelle started singing with the Nora Choir in her senior year. A lifelong music lover, she also played piano, clarinet and cello in Iowa.

Ardelle and Marlowe Becken were married in 1942, and Marlowe was soon thereafter sent to fight in the South Pacific. Common for couples during WWII, the couple was separated when Nancy, their first child, was born. (Marlowe was deployed in New Hebrides at that time, and didn’t see Nancy until she was 2 ½ years old.) Sadly, this good news would be tempered by tragedy; Ardelle’s brother, Kip, was killed in action in Battle of the Bulge at the age of 23.

She joined Nora Church in 1942 and has been one of our most active members for more than sixty years. She started playing organ at Nora when she was 19 and played until 2004. Ardelle says that it was one of the joys of her life. When asked about her best memories of Nora Church, she lists the many weddings she played for and all the fun choir practices. Oh, and she also did some quilting, and piecing of quilts for the church!


- Lorraine Becken -

Lorraine Becken

The name Lorraine Becken is synonymous with at least two generations with Nora Church itself. She is a fourth generation Nora Unitarian. She was born on a farm in Lake Hanska township, educated in Hanska area schools and has participated in Nora Church activities her entire life. (She was baptized, at home, by Dr. Amandus Norman, longtime Nora minister.)

Lorraine recalls playing in a school orchestra, playing with neighboring children and riding in her father’s pony cart. She took part in the farm work, as did most everyone during the Great Depression.

Lorraine earned three teaching degrees at Mankato State Teacher’s College (Minnesota State, Mankato) and spent her long teaching career in first a rural school, then two different New Ulm elementary schools. She still encounters former students on a regular basis.

Lorraine’s fond memories of Nora Church life are many: worship services, classes and Christmas services at the Liberal Union Hall; ice cream and pop in the gazebo; youth conferences; quilting; playing the old pump organ; church camp.

Retired for several years, now, Lorraine continues to be active in visiting other longtime Nora members.

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