The Decorah UCC Church was vandalized on Sept. 17, 2023, during the community Pride Festival, which aims to amplify the visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community, celebrate diversity, and promote creativity. The historic church’s brick, siding, signage, doors and shingles were defaced with spray-painted messages of hate.
Our church is sincerely grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received in the days following this incident. Many volunteers rolled up their sleeves Sunday and pitched in to help us clean and repaint the walls, doors and signs. Pastors from several local churches created an impromptu prayer ceremony to lend their voices to soothe our sadness. Local law enforcement officials were immediately on hand to investigate this hate crime and ensure public safety. Friends and colleagues both near and far have sent letters and donations to show their solidarity. Additional professional help will complete the removal of the graffiti.
Meanwhile we are full of gratitude for the kindness and assistance from the Decorah community and beyond. The mission of the Decorah UCC is to worship, love, and serve. At Decorah UCC, all individuals are embraced, regardless of their faith background, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, age, and mental or physical abilities. This inclusive congregation also welcomes individuals of various racial, ethnic, economic, and social backgrounds. Everyone is invited to partake in the life and leadership, ministry and worship, sacraments, responsibilities, and blessings of participation. We will continue to remind everyone that “God’s Doors Are Open to All.” Our hearts are heavy while we also are uplifted by the unity and compassion of the Decorah wider community.