5/23/21 The Danger of a Single Story by Carl Hubbard & Suzanne Landis

Welcome to the Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church of Racine, Wisconsin.  We want to acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the Potawatomi and Miami peoples.  We take a moment to honor these ancestral grounds and the indigenous communities who have stewarded this land throughout the generations.    (Taken, in part, from the land acknowledgements of Lawrence University in Appleton, WI and Goshen College, Goshen, IN)

This is a service about story. “We all have a story.  And only we can tell our own story.  When we try to tell the stories of others through the lens of our own lives, we can take those stories with a million nuances and condense them into a single story.” The stories told here will be in the voices of those who have lived them: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Gregg Deal, Carl Hubbard and others though poetry and through song.


CALL TO WORSHP   “Wooed into This World” by Rev. Scott Tayler

Who dreamed you into being?

What stories sat in their heart

as they imagined what you would become?

Who helped you imagine your story?

Who helped you see your place in the story of the world?

And what matters the most: who helped you understand

that you could be the author of your own unfolding?

All of which is a way of asking, “Who listened?”

Who listened until you could hear yourself speak,

until you trusted the voice that is your own?

And what about those stories of others?

Those kept in cramped spaces of silence

for fear of how hard and narrow this world of ours can be?

Who needs your listening so their story can be set free?

Whose story needs (to be) held in your heart

so it knows it is worth entering into the world?

We say it is about listening,

but really it’s about love.

It is through affection that our stories are born.

They are wooed into this world.

Never forget that.

Nor this: It is through loving the stories

that we discover

they love us back.


PRELUDE  “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child” Anna Kojovic-Frodl, Piano; Darlene Rivest, Violin


KINDLING THE CHALICE FLAME   “A new story into being . . .” by Rev. Dr. David Breeden

We tender this flame, opening the book,

turning to a page yet to be written.

Opening a story yet to be told.

May we fill this fresh page wisely.

May we write a new story into being.

May we together inscribe the page with hope.



HYMN    “When Our Heart is in a Holy Place”












READING/TED TALK  “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche


CENTERING WORDS  “Just Because I’m Asian” by Phan Văn Thái, Grade 10, From Hanoi, Vietnam
Just because I’m Asian
Doesn’t mean I’m a maths genius
Doesn’t mean I have small eyes
Doesn’t mean I’m from China.

Just because I’m Asian
Doesn’t mean I’m a nerd
Doesn’t mean I like manga
Doesn’t mean I play Warcraft all the time

Just because I’m Asian
I’m just the same as you are
I do the things you do and play the games you play.

Just because I’m Asian
What can I do?
Is there a place for me?
What makes me different?






Stories can elicit many feelings in us, and it is hard to hear stories that make us uncomfortable.  As a culture, we have often failed to listen to such stories.  It takes courage to hear raw, painful stories from the people who have lived them, but we are UU’s, we are people of courage who are even more willing to listen now than we have been in the past.  This story, “Indigenous in Plain Sight,” by Gregg Deal, though difficult to hear in parts of its telling, is an important one because it departs from the single story of indigenous people that continues to be told to this day.


READING/TED TALK  “Indigenous in Plain Sight” by Gregg Deal


SPECIAL MUSIC  “We Are”  by Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, Performed by Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, at the UU General Assembly 2020 Virtual Choir



REFLECTION by Carl Hubbard


The Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church is a community of generosity and abundance. Especially now, in this challenging and anxious time, your generosity is what keeps this community as vital as it is. Each month we share the generosity of our collection with a local partner.  This month our partner is the Racine Urban Garden Network. Since 2009, RUGN has provided resources for community gardeners and helped them establish community gardens in their own neighborhood. RUGN provides access to tools, water, soil, compost, and mulch, and offers garden events and one-on-one advice and assistance so that people in Racine can grow their own healthy food.

Also, OBUUC is involved in the “Green Thumbs for Justice” garden project at the Villa Street and Marquette Street sites, led by members of the Social Justice Committee, with work being done by volunteers, including those from Carthage College.   And produce from the OBUUC gardens is donated to the Hospitality Center for distribution to low-income guests. Please join me in being as generous as you can.



OFFERTORY POETRY  “And Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou



BENEDICTION  by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and the Rev. Shari Woodbury
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, “Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

And the Rev. Shari Woodbury says, “Let us choose with care the stories that we teach to our children, remembering that all of our stories have power, and that all of our stories are connected, for all of life is one.  In the name of all that is sacred in these gathered hearts, may it be so.


POSTLUDE “Wake Up in America” by Dave Kinnoin and Jimmy Hammer