Is There Really Such a Thing as Unity Within Diversity? A Coronavirus Meditation

We use the word “diversity” with a hundred different intonations in the 21st century. Sometimes, it appears as the concept were a problem to be solved, not a wonder to celebrate or take delight in. This service will explore our theme of “Unity/Diversity” with a call to recalibrate how we conceive of things that blend, bind, and separate us within the living web of human nature.


Welcome and Announcements

Today’s Service relates to Principle #6 The goal of world community with peace, liberty & justice for all.

Chalice Lighting The stars in the pews …Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom

Each of the stars in the heavens is unique, an individual, yet together they form the night sky;
Each of us here is unique, an individual, yet together we are a congregation;
Each of our congregations is unique, an individual, yet together we are an Association.
For stars in the sky, for people in the pews, for members of our Association, in gratitude, we light this chalice.

Opening Song Six Billion Eccentrics …Pete Morton

Reading Clothesline …Marilyn Maciel

I you us them those people
wouldn’t it be lovely if one could live in a constant state of we?
some of the most commonplace words can be some of the biggest dividers:
they? what if there was no they? what if there was only us?
if words could be seen as they floated out of our mouths
would we feel no shame as they passed beyond our lips?
if we were to string our words on a communal clothesline
would we feel proud as our thoughts flapped in the breeze?

Joys and Sorrows Please raise your Zoom hand to share any personal joy or concern with the Fellowship.

Silence / Response Your joy is my joy; your sorrow, my sorrow. Together we live our days, together we love this place. In beloved community, we are not alone. …Ellen Rockne

Offering /Offertory #128 For all that is our life, we sing our thanks and praise; for all life is a gift that we are called to use to build the common good, and make our own days glad. …Bruce Findlow

Reading Spirit of life, in us and around us, here is our chance — once again — to live like we wish the world would live. May we find within ourselves the courage to be who we are. May we know when it is time to listen and when it is time to speak. May we trust ourselves to be the ones to find the words that need to be said or to do what needs to be done. May we trust one another and know there are many ways to go through life. May we know that though we cannot change some of what life gives to us, we can choose how we deal with what we are given. We are coming into our power, and together we can make possible justice and love. We are all connected; we depend upon one another more than we know. We are one body.

Is There Really Such a Thing as Unity Within Diversity? A Coronavirus Meditation

Nancy Barry

Closing Song Sand and Water …Beth Nielsen Chapman

Extinguishing the Chalice Spirit of Life and Love, known by many names and yet fully known by none, we give thanks for this time and this place of renewal. We give thanks for the ability to begin again: after the disaster, after the tragedy, after the loss, after meeting the challenge set before us. Grant us the courage to continue on the journey, the courage to speak up for the wellbeing of others and ourselves and the planet. May we forgive each other when our courage falls short, and may we try again. Grant us hearts to love boldly, to embody our faith and our values in living words and deeds. May our hearts open to embrace humility, grace, and reconciliation.


Thank you to our presenter today, Decorah UU member Nancy Barry. Thank you also to Carolyn Corbin for setting up our virtual gathering space and for leading us through our trial runs. After the service, please treat yourself to a little something, and we’ll be in virtual touch soon. Take care, All!

Share-the-Plate – Our plate recipient for March-April is NAMI NE Iowa, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, providing education, support and advocacy.

Next Sunday, March 29 – Forests Talk, But Are We Listening?, with Melissa Koch. Scientists have uncovered the interconnected wood wide web of life in the forest that often goes unnoticed: trees need each other to thrive in a forest; and we need forests for all living creatures and our Earth to thrive. This interdependence of life pivots on how we humans treat each other and all life on Earth. Melissa Koch will share excerpts from her book, Forest Talk: How Trees Communicate and other equity writings. Lalie Madriguera, service leader.

Decorah UU Board of Trustees – The next regular meeting of the Board is April 7th. Board members will, however, convene on-line before then as we continue to address community needs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Board members for 2019-2020 are Matthew Alexander, chair; Beth Wahlberg, treasurer; and Bill Pardee, Carolyn Corbin and Maggie Hayden, general trustees. Julie Ohde and Lynn Pleggenkuhle will join the Board in July as Carolyn and Bill complete their terms.

Decorah Community Food Pantry – At the Annual Meeting, President Jud Barclay announced that the Pantry had 5385 client visits during 2019 and these clients had 15,366 family members. Many of these clients brought home items available through the generosity of the local congregations. To donate, send a check to PO Box 26 or go to

Member Emergency Fund – Unforeseen troubles come our way from time to time. If you or someone you know in the fellowship could use some help, please let Otter know. We may be able to provide support or short term monetary assistance. Confidentiality will be respected.

Decorah UU online – For more information, please visit our website or go to our facebook page.