You Should Get to Know…..
Norm & Sue Repplinger
Norm and Sue Repplinger moved to Des Moines from Palatine, IL in 2005, and found the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines shortly thereafter. They had previously belonged to Methodist churches, but had started to find the Methodist beliefs and services too confining and were looking for something that that would better meet their spiritual needs. Sue had heard of Unitarianism and wanted to know more of what it was about. She found us in the phone directory, came twice, and went home to tell Norm that this was a church he would like.
They immediately found our church a friendly and welcoming place, and particularly appreciate Mark’s sermons and “the great absence of heavy ritual and symbolism.” They are or have been involved in Unity Circle, Great Decisions, Religious Services, Hospitality, and Small Group Ministry. They’ve also liked the small group projects they did which helped them feel of service to others. They like volunteering at the Feed Every Deserving Soul project. They appreciate the wide range of activities the church offers. Sue noted that she’d been raised conservatively and found the church has been enlightening and broadening for both of them.
Sue and Norm have been married for 52 years. They both grew up in the Midwest; she in Mason City, IL and he in Nauvoo. His first teaching job after graduating from Western Illinois State Teacher’s College and two years in the Army was in Sue’s hometown, which is how they met, at a dinner to which they’d both been invited. Sue just happened to need a ride home . . .
Norm taught US History and Social Sciences in high school for 35 years, and worked in summers as a National Park Ranger, while Sue was mostly a stay-at-home mom raising their four children Mark, Michelle, Scott and Nancy; the oldest of whom is now 51. After the children were grown Sue worked in real estate for about ten years. She gave that up to enjoy her grandchildren, of which there are seven, now ages 14 to 21.
Norm and Sue’s daughter Michelle and her husband Rich moved to Des Moines shortly after graduating from ISU in 1986. Michelle and Rich’s daughter Hannah was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease for which there is no cure. Their desire to be a support system for Michelle, Rich and Hannah was part of the reason Sue and Norm relocated to Des Moines in 2005. Also, it was the perfect time to get out of their large two-story home in Palatine and to downsize. Sue remarked that it had been hard to relocate at their ages, because without the built-in circles of friends provided by work, or children in school it is difficult to meet people. Norm said that First Unitarian is the “best place to find the best people.”
For fun, they enjoy biking, the outdoors, travel (they pulled out a map of the US completely crisscrossed with lines indicating all the road trips they’d taken over the years, camping much of the time), and taking in the cultural opportunities in Des Moines.