Murray UU Church | 505 North Main St | Attleboro, MA 02703
January 18, 2018
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"This I Believe - Continuing the Conversation"

Rev. Gretchen Weis

Our religious freedom encourages the individual search for ultimate truth and meaning. We are each called to be in relationship with whatever we deem to be most sacred. Last month, we began a celebration of the diversity of beliefs found here at Murray Church. Let us continue that celebration as we hear from more of you to share your experiences and beliefs.


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"Widening Our Hearts"

Rev. Gretchen Weis

Compassion is at the core of every religious tradition, yet we don't see enough empathy and loving kindness at work in the world.  How might we open our hearts up to embrace and embody greater compassion in our day to day living? Let's explore thoughts from a number of spiritual leaders and religious scholars in our quest to help create a more loving and just world.

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If you missed a service, or simply would like to listen to a particular sermon again, our sermons are now available on our website and are downloadable as MP3 files. Use our website link below and click on the sermon link at the top of the page and either listen or download the sermon of your choice. You can also access current and back issues of Murray Notes. Just click on the Church News link. Thanks to Bill Jones for working on these projects!
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Love is a Verb
  by Rev. Gretchen Weis
  My parents will celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary tomorrow. I am
  awestruck by that, by their steadfastness. My parents aren't heroic,
  hopeless romantics, although I have many memories of the two of them
  with eyes only for one another. Memories of them dancing in one another's
  arms. Memories of the many times they would unconsciously reach out and simply touch the other as they walked by. As if the presence of one was grounded by the other. But their relationship has not been all rainbows and rosebuds. I have memories, too, of frustration, anger, arguments. The full spectrum of relationship. The stuff of life.    

Like most of us, my parents and their relationship have seen plenty of challenges. My father's career and the family finances took twists and turns with the ebb and flow of the economy, including occasional unexpected job losses. And 50 years ago, a drunk driver ran a stop sign and pinned my mother inside our Volkswagen Beetle, shattering her hip. It took multiple surgeries and more than two years for her to walk again. She continues to struggle with pain and limited mobility, and often uses a cane.


Sixty-seven years. I look at my parents and can't help but wonder, what is the secret to their long marriage? I would lift up and name the power of love lived out loud as a verb. They have showed up for one another in countless ways, both big and small, day in, day out, over the course of their lives. Mowing the lawn, grocery shopping and cooking meals, balancing the family budget, raising children, raking leaves, cleaning the gutters, checking the oil levels, topping off the gas tank, checking the tires, remembering birthdays, ironing clothes, sewing a button back on a shirt...

I am reminded of this powerful poem by Robert Hayden, titled, "Those Winter Sundays." He writes:


Sundays too my father got up early 
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, 
then with cracked hands that ached 
from labor in the weekday weather made 
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. 
When the rooms were warm, he'd call, 
and slowly I would rise and dress, 
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 

Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven out the cold 
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know 
of love's austere and lonely offices?



Nursery is available from 9:45 am -- 11 am. The nursery is located in the Religious Education Wing and is the first room on the left.


Children (Grades K - 8):
Sunday, January 21st -- We will begin in the service and then head to the Unity Room to begin our 6 week journey on World Religions!
Youth Group (Grades 9 - 12):
Friday, January 19th -- UUnited in Taunton from 7 pm -- 9 pm.

Sunday, January 21st -- We will begin in the service and then head to the Purple Chat Room for Philosopher's Club: topic will be the Opioid epidemic. We will have a guest speaker. 

First Parish in Taunton offers Our Whole Lives (OWL) for Adults
Adult OWL to begin in January
The Our Whole Lives (OWL) Program models and teaches caring, compassion, respect and justice. It helps adults address their attitudes, values and feelings about themselves, their sexuality and others' sexuality. Participants are guided by trained facilitators through an engaging program that addresses topics many adults have not had the opportunity to discuss in depth. These classes are for ages 18+ and will run every Monday at 7 pm from January 15th -- February 26th. Please email or call the Taunton church office at 508-822-2107 to register for the class.


Jan. 21:                         THIS SUNDAY!


Congregational Meeting

Sunday, January 21st

Fellowship Hall

11:45 am

(following worship)

Light lunch will be provided. Open to all. Please RSVP to Kavita at, if you require childcare.

Jan. 19:
Mansfield Black Box Theater Production
  The Mansfield's Black Box Theater presents

  "Of Mice and Men" starring Murray's own

  Brian Gustafson in the lead role.  

  John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is a parable about  what it means to be human. Steinbeck's story of George and Lennie's ambition of owning their own ranch, and the obstacles that stand in the way of that ambition, reveal the nature of dreams, dignity, loneliness and sacrifice. Ultimately, Lennie, the mentally handicapped giant who makes George's dream of owning his own ranch worthwhile, ironically becomes the greatest obstacle to achieving that dream.


  Performance dates:

  Jan. 19 - 21; Jan. 25 - 28; Feb. 1 - 4.

  Tickets are $29. Call 508-339-2822 to reserve tickets or

  to purchase click [HERE].
Jan. 20:
 Dinner & A Movie -- THIS SATURDAY! 5:30 pm in the Unity Room
"The Monuments Men"
  Please plan to join us this Saturday night, January 20th for a potluck dinner, a movie and discussion afterwards  We will be showing The Monuments Men, the story of an unlikely World War II platoon responsible for recovering  priceless works of art stolen by the Nazis. The story is  inspired by the real "Monuments Men" -- a group of approximately 345 men and women from 14 countries, including museum directors, curators, art historians, and artists, who worked to save cultural treasures from the destructiveness of war and theft by Hitler and the Nazis. 
What are the moral consequences of stealing art or destroying monuments? This discussion feels timely, with the recent horrors of widespread destruction of ancient cultural and archaeological treasures at the hands of ISIS.  


Please bring a dish to share. Let's gather to set out food at 5:30 pm and get ourselves served so we can begin the movie around 6:00 pm, with a discussion to follow.
Food Pantry Donations Needed
          • Paper Bags
          • Personal Care Items
          • Feminine Care Products
          • Bathroom Tissue
Thank you for your continued support!                 
Murray Church Food Pantry Team 

Volunteer for Coffee Hour...

If you like coffee, yummy snacks or just enjoy meeting new people, please consider volunteering for coffee hour. To sign-up, please click [HERE].

This year we will not have a separate adult and children's snack table; we will all be enjoying the same goodies, and have eliminated the juice to simplify our gathering. If you are new or if you need a refresher, step-by-step instructions and friendly hands-on training and/or buddies are all available. Goodies may be bought or baked. 
It's easy! It doesn't require a lot of extra time (show up at 9 am to get the coffee going and setup, clean up takes about 1/2 an hour) and we really need volunteers! Let's keep Murray members and friends caffeinated and in the happy zone after the Sunday service.

Contact Monica Weil at or call/text 401-441-8999,

or Barbara Clark at

Jan 24:
to Unload Food Delivery Trucks 
 The Food Pantry receives food twice a month, and we
  need help receiving the delivery. Food pick-up times
  are the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays each month.
  trucks need to be unloaded requiring some lifting.
  This is one way Murray reaches out and is visible in
  the community, but it takes many volunteers to 
  receive and distribute the food. If there are any
  strong bodies available on those days who would
  like a light workout, please contact: 
Roger Boucher at 508-838-8249, or email  at
Thank you!
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Jan. 27:
Murray Hosts Food 'n' Friends Soup Kitchen 

Murray hosts the Food 'n' Friends Soup Kitchen every 4th Saturday of the month, from 

8 am -- 12:30 pm, at Centenary Methodist Church, located at 39 North Main Street in Attleboro.

Help out once for an hour! You'll make all the difference!

We need volunteers for all shifts and tasks. Tasks we need help with:

Early (8 am -- 10 am)
  • Set up tables & chairs
  • Make sandwiches
  • Prepare main meal
  • Wash dishes
  • Serve coffee & juice
 Later (10:45 am -- 12:30 pm)
  • Plate meals
  • Serve guests
  • Breakdown tables &chairs
  • Wash dishes
  • Sweep & mop
Feel free to share this info with anyone who might be interested in helping out! 

To sign-up, please contact Stephanie Paquette at or 

(call or text) 401-603-8386.

Jan. 27:
The Religious Education Committee is hosting an All Church Potluck and Game Night!  Bring a dish and a fun game to share with everyone! Together as a community we will eat, laugh and play! All ages invited.
Saturday, January 27th from 5 pm -- 7 pm in the Unity Room
Please contact Kavita at if you plan to attend. 

Come have fun! 
Jan. 28:                                       
      Sunday, January 28th 

Let's meet for brunch at Bella Sarnos Restaurant located at 553 Kelley Boulevard in North Attleboro. It has an omelette station, seafood and pasta dishes, a dessert buffet and a lot more. Check out their website. We'll meet there at noon, after services, for a warm and pleasant start to a winter afternoon. $19 per person.  
RSVP to Peggy Dixon at, or
Sandy Stuart at Hope you will join us.
Jan. 28:
Murray's Writers' Circle
Do you want to write, but can't find the time? Do you feel like you could write if you were motivated by others, and had the right inspiration? Whether you are a beginner, an expert, or a quieter writer with a hint of shyness, please consider joining the Writers' Circle. We usually meet on the 4th Sunday of each month from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm in the John Murray Room. Bring a snack. Bring your lunch. Of course, bring your coffee. We talk about upcoming events and current works. We give ourselves time to write. And, when we're comfortable, we share what we've written. Sharing is completely optional. If you would like to learn more, please e-mail Heidi Ferreira at
Our upcoming writers' circle meetings are:

January 28th, February 25th, March 25th, April 22nd and May 27th

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 From Green Sanctuary

 Use your own coffee cup at coffee hour

 for Earth's sake!

Please consider using your own coffee cup or mug during coffee hour. You can now store it in the Unity Room cupboard-near the piano-where it will be handy each week. There is a sink in the cupboard, where you can wash your cup and return it to the shelf, ready for the next coffee hour. We suggest you put your name on your cup to label it as yours.


Using your own cup will save on paper cups, which cannot be recycled. This will save trees, reduce waste, and save on paper cup costs! Self-washing and storage will also avoid any extra burden on coffee hour hosts. Holding your reusable mug also makes a statement that you care. It's a win-win-win!


Please notice that our renters have labeled some cupboard space for their use. The coffee-making equipment on the counter also belongs to them. Therefore, we ask that you respect their space and property. See our Murray label for our cupboard space.


Our cupboard will hold 30+ cups. There's also an upper shelf for taller people! Use of shelf space will be first come first served. Green Sanctuary Committee members will stand by the Unity Room cupboard for the next few weeks to answer any questions. 

Feb. 4: 
Sunday Book Group
All are welcome. Please feel free to bring a bagged lunch.
The Mission of the Book Group is for open-minded people to select, read and discuss interesting books that broaden our minds and challenge how we perceive the world. Books are chosen by consensus, of reasonable length, and library accessible.
On Sunday, February 4th, we will discuss, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: a 10% happier how-to book, by Dan Harris and Jeff Warren. Harris and Warren present a practical guide to meditation that debunks the myths, misconceptions, and self-deceptions that make many people reluctant to try it. They suggest a range of meditation practices that may lower your blood pressure, mitigate depression and anxiety, and literally rewire key parts of your brain.  


This book will serve as a springboard for discussion on how we go about quieting our minds to seek a physical and/or spiritual respite. Even if you don't read the book, this is a discussion you can join!
Feb. 7:
Mindful Coloring Class
Need a break from your hectic life? Come join us for an hour of soothing mindful coloring!  Sip a cup of herbal tea and do some meditative art!


When:   Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Time:     7 pm -- 8 pm

Where:  John Murray Room

RSVP with Kavita at

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Feb. 10:
Fun & Film
Saturday, February 10th from 2 pm - 5 pm in the Unity Room, featuring:
In a city of humanoid animals, a hustling theater impresario's attempt to save his theater with a singing competition becomes grander than he anticipates even as its finalists' find that their lives will never be the same.


This will be a fun afternoon for families and friends! We will begin at 2 pm with active games in Fellowship Hall. Then we will transform the Unity Room into a movie theater. We want everyone to be comfy and cozy so bring blankets, pillows or sleeping bags! 


We are also encouraging everyone to bring friends. The more the merrier! If you could provide a snack to share and a donation for our Food Pantry, it would be greatly appreciated. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Feb. 11:


 Waking Up White Book Discussion Group
  Sunday, February 11th following Worship

  11:45 am in the John Murray Room


  Our next book discussion group about white privilege will be held
  on Sunday, February 11th following worship in the John Murray
  Room. Please grab a cup of coffee at coffee hour and head to the
  John Murray Room to begin our exploration of pp. 206 - 241. 


  Last month we showed the film "White Privilege 101: Getting
  into the Conversation." If you would like to see this excellent film, click [HERE].

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Feb. 18:
Beat the Winter Cold...
Matt Meyer
Come join The Religious Services Committee
for a fun-filled Sunday morning service conducted by well
known General Assembly drummer and spiritual leader
Matt Meyer followed by an exciting Beach themed coffee hour! Bet you can feel the heat already!! 
We look forward to seeing you there!!!

The Religious Services Committee

Feb. 26:
Central Congregational Church &

Murray UU Church Blood Drive

Monday, February 26th, 2018

in Fellowship Hall at Murray Church

1 pm -- 6 pm

To schedule an appointment please call 1-800-RED-CROSS

or visit:  

and enter sponsor code:  MurrayUUC


Help save a life by giving the gift of life! You can read about the blood giving process on the Red Cross website: If you are a regular blood donor, please check your eligibility schedule and plan to be with us on that date. If you have not given blood before, please review the details on the Red Cross website and determine if you are eligible. Please tell your other family members, friends and neighbors and invite them as well. We recruit donors in advance and help with scheduling their appointments. 

For more information, 
please contact Jim Richardi at 

if you need any help or advice with the process. 

Mar. 4:
Seeking Writers to Share Original Work 

for March 4th Service

The month of March "comes in like a lion and out like a lamb." It is a time of change as winter draws to a close, and we prepare for the start of spring.


The Religious Services Committee is seeking Murray writers to share your original work based on a theme of change during service at 10 am on Sunday, March 4th. What does
change mean to you? Changes in nature, yourself or your beliefs? Changing your community through volunteering or social justice? 


We are seeking a chalice lighting, a meditation, and a collection of readings (2 -- 5 minutes). Poetry, prose, responsive readings, chants, or other styles of writing are all welcome. Writers of all ages and levels of experience are welcome. You may have someone else read your work for you if you prefer.


For more information, or to sign up, please contact Monica Staaf at Space is limited.
continueLove is... (continued)

Love's austere and lonely offices. Love as a verb. Love lived out loud in the rising early, in the building of the fire before others are awakened to the day. The poem invites us to think of the many acts of service, sacrifice and kindness others have done for us, perhaps without our noticing, perhaps without our thanks. And we are invited to think about the ways we choose to show up for and care for others.


At this stage in my parents' lives, they suffer the indignities of aging bodies and failing memory. Growing older, together: Perhaps love's most austere and demanding of lonely offices. My brother and I do what we can to help, but we cannot turn back the hands of time to restore their health, their strength, their vitality. It breaks my heart wide open to see them struggle so. And, given my 90-year-old father's rapidly declining health, this might likely be the last anniversary they get to celebrate together. I am reminded of the line from poet William Blake:  Joy and woe woven fine. 


As our family pauses to celebrate this life milestone, I am filled with love and gratitude for my mother and my father. For the gift of life they gave me, for the life they built for me and for my brother, and for the life they have built and continue to build for themselves. Have they been perfect parents? Perfect spouses? No, of course not. No one is. Yet, in their perfectly imperfect ways, they continue to teach me about the importance of showing up for others in love and service, even when it's hard, even when you're tired, even if you are frustrated, or no one is noticing, no one is saying "thank you." Thank you, Raymond and Sidne, thank you, thank you, thank you.


I hope to see you in church this Sunday, where we will continue to celebrate the diversity of beliefs found here at Murray. We resume our "This I Believe" series, with different members of the congregation sharing more about the ideas and values that shape and inform their faith and their lives. All are welcome. 


You are all invited, also, to grab coffee after the worship service and head to Fellowship Hall for our annual mid-year town hall meeting from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm. Consider this an informal opportunity to ask questions and receive a "state of the church" update from your church leadership and staff. A light lunch will be served. See you in church!


In love, faith and service,
Rev. Gretchen

If the weather outside is frightful, the minister and board president will confer to determine if worship services must be cancelled by 6:30 am on a Sunday morning. WBZ-TV, WCVB-TV5, FOX25 and WPRI-12, FOX Providence will air any Sunday Service cancellations during the morning news.

Websites for cancellations:,,
Cancellations will also be posted on our website and Facebook page: 
Be sure to "Like" us to see updates in your news feed.