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

August, 2006
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- Sunday Schedule -
Social Hour: 10:00 A.M.     Worship Service: 10:30 A.M.

August 13: Tri - State Gathering at the historic Pioneer Village in Worthington, MN. 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Lisa Friedman will be preaching and Don will be the liturgist. This will be followed with a pot luck dinner. (See more details below.)

August 20: "Ingathering and Anniversary!" - We'll begin the new church year by marking the 125th anniversary of Nora Church. Come visit with many of Nora's former ministers and/or their family members, share worship and a catered lunch to follow.

August 27: “What If?" - Over the past two years, the Board, Membership Committee, Committee on Ministry and Don have laid some of the foundation for numerical growth. But what if it works? What would change, what would remain the same? And how do we get ready to minister to and with new members?

View From The Hill

Rev. Don Rollins

August already! I'm still in Iowa as I write this column, working with a small UU congregation, relaxing and thinking about August.

We'll welcome back several of Nora's previous ministers and/or their family members come August 20. More than an ingathering for the new church year, that service will mark 125 years of liberal religion in these parts.

Given the changing demographics of southern Minnesota, as well as the changing religious mood of much of the nation, we're right to celebrate our steadfast, century-and-a-quarter presence. I truly hope you'll join us for the potluck on the 19th, the service on the 20th and the catered lunch that will follow. A good time will indeed be had by all!

That said, I also hope you'll attend the service on August 27. I'll be talking about the plans developed by the Board and Me for numerical growth, the next step in our shared ministry. I'll be talking about some of the consequences of growth, numerical and otherwise. If the ingathering/anniversary service is about celebrating Nora's past, the service on the 27th is about securing its future. Please, be there, too.

So, I look forward to returning to The Hill soon. And I look forward to another year with such folks as you.


UU Get-Together in Worthington, MN

The annual UU Get-Together will take place in Worthington at the Pioneer Village on August 13 at 10:30 am. A potluck will follow the service. Please bring utensils and a dish to pass. Beverages will be furnished.

To get to Pioneer Village, take Highway 60 into Worthington. Highway 60 turns into Oxford Street. At the 3rd stop light, turn right and there will be signs to Pioneer Village.

UU’s from South Dakato, Iowa, and Minnesota are welcome to attend. Call Al Swanson at 507-376-4011 (Worthington) for further information.


To Keep In Touch


Murial Thordson is currently a resident at Luther Memorial Home.

Darrell Hinsman is recovering from his surgery and is out and about.

The Congregation extends our sympathy to our Office Administrator, Cindy Mosenden and her family, in the death of her step-father, Sanford Hagen, who passed away on July 6, 2006.

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


I'm including in the newsletter this month an expense form that I would like everyone to use when they have an expense that they have charged or they have an expense that they would like to be reimbursed for. I have copies of these forms in the lower right corner of the mailbox section in the church. Please be sure to use these when you have charged something because that tells me that it's OK to pay the bill.

-- Sally Hanson


We are still looking for photos for the 125th Anniversary Book and to display On August 20th. If you have something to share please contact Sheldon Rieke at 354-7832 or via email at

There is no guarantee that it will be used but please give us a chance to check it out.

CHURCH PAINTING: The Building and Grounds committee is asking for volunteers to scrape, prime and paint the church and parish hall before the August 20th celebration. Paint and brushes are on site.. If you can help, bring a scraper. We'll be working on Wednesdays starting July 26th at 3pm. Volunteers can work at other times or on their own. If you can help contact Wally at 507-375-3032, Warren at 507-439-631 or Darrell at 507-359-7494 to get started.

AUGUST 1 - 6:30-8:30 pm: 1st Board meeting of the new church year @ church.

The committee to set up the greeters, ushers and servers for Sunday services will be meeting in August. If you are selected to serve these positions on August 20 or 27, you will be contacted.


The Nora Women are invited to attend a guest noon luncheon on Wednesday, August 9, 2006 at the Zion Church in Hanska. The guest speaker will be Sue Schott from New Sweden, MN. Sue was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosis in 1989 and laler was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and several other auto-immune diseases. Sue has written two children’s books and a Christian novella. She is working on a devotional at this time.

Since it is a luncheon, Zion has requested an attendance count. Please contact Gudrun Kjelshus (439-6837) by August 1st if you plan to attend.


Everyone at Nora will certainly miss Nita Gilbert, and the choir especially hurts to see her move. She was gifted musically and was the driving force behind our choir. Now that she has moved, we want to insure that the choir that she started will continue. Therefore, Gil Hanson has agreed to take over its leadership. But Gil has taken on this roll with some trepidation. He suffers from a rare hearing disorder called hyperacusis, which sometimes makes even normal sounds painful. This last year his condition has been less acute so that he was able to sing in the choir, and now he will attempt to be the director as long as his hyperacusis doesn't worsen. The choir will meet in the sanctuary from 9:00 am to 10:00 am Sunday mornings starting on August 20. We have a wonderful core of singers from last year, but of course encourage more to join. Please consider joining the choir. The more the merrier.


Nora Church’s 125th Anniversary will be celebrated on Saturday, August 19th with a potluck supper at 7:00. On Sunday, August 20th following the 10:30 church service there will be a catered meal. The cost is $10.00 per person. Please RSVP by August 9 to Joy Rathman, 13871 300th Ave Comfrey Minnesota. Please be sure to extend this invitation to any friends or family that may be interested in celebrating with us.

Volunteers are needed for the anniversary. We need a few people to help with potluck on Saturday evening. We also will have a list of ‘what needs to be cleaned’ posted in the Fellowship Hall beginning August 7th. Please contact Sheldon Rieke, Lorraine Becken, Ardelle Becken, Bev Wellmann, Carol Chambard, Shirley Olson, Julie Sellner or Joy Rathman for more information.


Summer greetings to all. Hopefully, you are all enjoying your summer, and getting in some family and fun time. It’s hard to believe that it is all ready August.

When the RE committee met in June, we reviewed the surveys that had been returned. We specifically looked at responses to the time of Sunday School. The responses were split between having Sunday School before church or during church. The pros and cons of each time were discussed. We decided to move Sunday School back to during church services for the following reasons:

  1. People who had to travel a distance found it more inconvenient to come earlier.
  2. Some families were coming in two shifts to get their children there earlier, thus spending more money on gas to get everyone there when needed.
  3. Attendance did not improve with classes before church and actually dropped a bit.
  4. There were concerns about lack of adult supervision when the children were watching a movie or outside during the service and the liability for the church if someone was injured during that time.

We hope that families understand the reasons for the change. We look forward to seeing the children at church services and Sunday School. Please feel free to talk with Anne if you have concerns or questions about this change.

The Sunday School classes will be as follows:

Tweeners: Fritz Rieke, Nora Peck, Courtney Schmitt, Kate Makepeace and Sydney Byro.

Juniors: Cole Spilde, Ben Rieke, Nick Bodick, Eva Kunerth, Lydia Helder, Jack Bodick and Thor Weiss.

Young’uns: Abbey Bodick, Toby Weiss, Myra Helder, Carson Schmitt Nelson; and James Harbur.

The topics for each class for the coming year are:

Tweeners: In Our Hands ( a social justice curriculum)

Juniors and Young’uns: Timeless Themes (Bible stories) and A Lamp in Every Corner (more stories about UU heritage and tradition).

We will also use sections from the curriculum, Holidays and Holy Days throughout the year. These activities will provide the children with information about other world religions, their holidays and celebrations.

The Young’uns will have a 15-20 minute class immediately following the children's story. They will meet up in the nursery. The Junior and Tweeners will meet downstairs following the children’s story.

Our first day of Sunday School will be Sunday, September 17th. Registration forms for the children will be available during coffee hour in the social hall beginning Sunday, August 20th. We ask that you complete a registration form for each child in your family prior to September 17th. Activities will be provided for the children to participate in during the church services prior to September 17th. Anne is looking for people interested in supervising the children and activities for Sunday, August 20th through Sunday, September 10th. Please talk with her if you are interested in helping with the activities. This would be a great opportunity for the high school youth to help out the congregation. Anne will be contacting the Sunday School teachers about their preferences for classes and dates to teach.

See you all on the 20th!


Membership was one of the biggest topics at General Assembly this year. How we greet the guests at our church home says a lot about us. As we look to a new year where we will celebrate our history many will be finding out about and visiting us for the first time, and we need to be aware of their needs.

Why does someone walk into a new church for the first time? Why put yourself on the spot in a building filled with strangers? Wouldn’t it be easier to just stay home and just continue saying you are a member where your family and friends have always gone?

The fact is that people who do this are in need or crisis. The need might be to share with others. To be accepted for who they are. To simply not be alone in this world. They may be doing it for their children, so that the children can learn morals and values in a place that values them for who they are, not as little sinners to save. It may be the crisis of divorce, abuse, or the death of a loved one that brings them to our door.

Whatever the reason, we need to embrace these people. We need to embrace them in the parking lot, at the front door, over a cup of coffee, and after the service. We need to involve them in our church family. We don’t often talk about this but Nora is a place of salvation for people. No, we don’t save them from an imaginary hell. We save them from lives of loneliness, confusion, despair, and being told they have no value. We do this by sharing our caring, concern, reason, acceptance, and love.

Over the coming year as we celebrate our rich history we can build a future just as rich by embracing the new guests at our door. And also for all the above reasons, please invite others to come and visit us at Nora. It could be the best thing you ever do for that person.

- Sheldon Rieke


The Lunch Bunchers will be taking a vacation in August so they can concentrate on the 125th Anniversary celebration. Check the September Mere Lys for date and place of the next Lunch Bunch gathering.

Brown County Relay for Life will be held Friday August 18th at the Brown County fairgrounds in New Ulm. This event is open to the public. Please join us for a fun and wonderful evening. If interested in purchasing a luminary or making a donation please contact Julie Sellner at 375-8737


It's not too early to be thinking “Smorgasbord” and getting items for the Country Store. The Annual Nora Church Smorgasbord will be held Sunday, October 1st. It’s a great opportunity to work together for fun and profit and to honor our Norwegian heritage. Plan on attending and bringing friends. Spread the word!

Items for the Country Store are appreciated: baked goods, garden produce, jams & jellies, games, anything you cannot use anymore and you think would be of interest to others. You will be receiving your usual slip for your work schedule and donation request after we have celebrated our 125th Anniversary on August 20th.


Nora church now has a new web site address: The old address,, will still work, and will also take you to the new web site, but the new address is a little shorter and much easier to remember.

When you visit the new site, you may have to look closely to see any difference. The new site looks almost identical to the old, but the difference is that now the new site has been made ready for new expansion. We want to use our web site to get as much information out the public as possible.

All committee and program leaders are encouraged to develop reports that can be made available to the public. Religious education curricula can now be published on the web site.

We may also make board minutes available. (This has to be approved by the board.) The public now looks to the web when it wants to get information and Nora Church needs to be ready.


Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?

Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down. Don't dance so fast.

Time is short. The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?

When you ask How are you? Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed

With the next hundred chores running through your head?

You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast.

Time is short. The music won't last.

Ever told your child, we'll do it tomorrow?

And in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die

Cause you never had time to call and say, "Hi"

You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast.

Time is short. The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere

You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,

It is like an unopened gift....thrown away.

Life is not a race. Do take it slower

Hear the music before the song is over.


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