Murray Church Notes

August 30, 2018

Volume 7,  Issue 5

In this Issue:

The Proposal to Hang a Black Lives Banner:
What We Have Learned So Far - from other UU churches and in our conversations in the Attleboro community
By Bruce Field, Chairperson of the Murray Social Concerns Committee

This spring, the congregation was asked to look at hanging a Black Lives Matter banner. An enthusiastic committee formed immediately and has been engaged in conversations within the church and in the greater Attleboro community. If we choose to do so, we will join over a hundred other UU churches who have been hanging banners, starting in 2015.

There have been many important discussions this spring and summer about the banner. We have held banner committee meetings and a whole-church Town Hall meeting to discuss it.

Members of our church have met with Police Chief Heagney and with Mayor Heroux, and they have supported the banner. This fall, we will hold another Town Hall, and we plan to host a community-wide meeting, as well.

We have sent a survey-questionnaire to everyone on our mailing list. We want to hear from everyone, no matter how you feel about hanging a banner. We invite you to answer this anonymous survey, if you haven’t done so already.
We have had conversations with members of other UU churches that have hung Black Lives Matter banners. From our research and conversations so far, we have learned that the hanging of a banner can help move us toward...

1. Our commitment to live our UU Principles more deeply, especially to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of each person.

The news of the shooting of unarmed young Black men by police gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement. From this, Unitarian Universalists across the nation, and at UUA headquarters, have made a commitment of faith to address the problems of racial inequality.

2. A continued commitment to our work with the Attleboro police department and Attleboro area leaders. Our partnering work with the police, through the work of the Greater Attleboro Interfaith Network (GAIN) and the Greater Attleboro Recovery Network (GARN), and the unconscious bias training by the Attleboro police department have made a better community. We will continue and deepen that work, going forward.

3. Support of people of any color in our congregation and in our community.
Black Lives Matter is a statement of inclusion, not exclusion. As people of faith, we commit ourselves to addressing the problems of our society and humanity, including communities of color. Those who have been left out, in large ways and small, are included in our commitment to help build a more just and loving world.


We have learned ...
1. Our banner might be defaced or torn down. This has been the experience of many other churches. The common response is to hang another one, and it usually stays up.


2. In other churches, the decision to hang a banner has been made in a variety of ways: by the entire congregation, by a committee, and by the minister alone. We will hold a democratic congregational vote later this fall, where qualified voting members of the congregation can participate and decide to hang a banner, or not. 

3. We have much to learn. Hanging a banner would not be an end, it is not the goal. Instead, it would be a part of an ongoing, growing awareness about how race influences each of us, and how we can improve our lives and the lives of others around us. Asking questions and listening with an open heart will be key to this change. Our reading group learned about white privilege and the negative effects on those who are not considered to be white. We have also
learned through sermons, newsletters, conversations, and more. We will continue the conversation and the learning.

4. As we learn to see the world through the eyes of others, we will be better at helping to create a community of greater equality and opportunity. It is our turn to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice.

If you are interested in getting involved:
1. You can still answer the Black Lives Matter banner survey. Please click on to the following: A paper copy will be available at the first regular Sunday service of the fall, on September 9.

2. You are welcome to attend the banner meetings - our next meeting is this Thursday, August 30 at 7:15 in Harmony Hall.

Rise for Climate Justice!


On Saturday September 8, communities all over the world are rising up to help make an unstoppable wave of people’s climate leadership. With climate impacts escalating, we can’t wait for bureaucratic negotiations; local cities and towns have to show the way. 


There will be an event in nearby in downtown Providence, in Roger Williams National Park, 282 North Main Street at 6:00 pm, hosted by Climate Action RI, a affiliate. Learn more at

Lisa Blackbird has shared that her husband Frank is in intensive care in Milford Medical Center following the successful removal of a portion of his lung for lung cancer.  Frank is expected to be hospitalized over the next several days before being released to continue his recuperation at home.  At this point, please, no phone calls, but cards sent to the house will be most welcome and appreciated.
Meet our New Office Administrator!

We are pleased to announce that we made an offer to our lead candidate this week, and she said “yes!”  Jeanne Chapman will join the staff as our new office administrator next Wednesday, September 5th.  Jeanne brings a long career of executive administrative experience to her work at Murray Church.  We look forward to working with her to help train her and bring her up to speed on “all things Murray.”  Special thanks to our hiring team:  Jim Richardi, board chair, Allison MacDonald, program chair, and Linda Millard, treasurer.  And, we appreciate Kavita Vansant, our director of lifespan religious education, for her input into the final hiring decision as well.

Do you like using chainsaws?

The Property Committee is looking for some young (under 60) muscle to help us on Saturday, September 22, to remove some of the tree trunks around our property.  There will be a number of priorities, including grinding some stumps out of the ground, drilling some stumps so we can begin rotting them away, and chain sawing some stumps so they are level with the ground.
We will work in shifts, starting at 9 AM.  There will be lunch at noon, and beer, soda and snacks at 4:30.
Email Tom Stuart at if you wish to sign up.  There will also be signup sheets at coffee hour starting September 9.
Thanks to all  for coming to the Ice Cream Social!
Soul Matters has Openings for Participants!


Are you interested in joining our spiritual deepening adult classes?  Soul Matters small groups meet once a month.  Participants receive a monthly spiritual exploration packet around a specific topic, which includes suggested exercises and provocative questions to consider.  We then meet to share in a confidential small group setting about our experiences in exploring that month’s topic.  As we begin the new church year, we currently have openings and would like to welcome in newcomers to our groups.  All are welcome.  If you are interested in participating in the Soul Matters experience, please contact Rev. Gretchen at 508-222-0505 or for more information.

Upcoming Services
September 2: Blessing of the Animals 
Our pets are a part of our family. We love and care for them and in return we receive unconditional love, companionship, comfort and loyalty. Let us acknowledge how our pets uplift our lives and why we have them.
Bring your pet, a photo of your pet, a favorite stuffed animal and/or a memento of your pet to be blessed. Since this will be an outdoor service (weather permitting) feel free to bring a lawn chair and/or blanket for you and your pet. For safety reasons please ensure that your pet is kept on a leash, harness or cage. If you have any questions please contact Kavita at

September 9: Water Ingathering Serivce

Our first official service of the new church year will be our traditional Water Ingathering Service on Sunday, September 9th.  It is a multigenerational service, so all ages included as we gather together in one community to celebrate the start of our new year together, and to share our individual water samples into our communal ingathering bowl.  So, whether you bring back a water sample from your favorite beach, lake or stream you visited on summer travels, or bring a sample from your own backyard hose or kitchen faucet, all water samples are welcome, as symbols of something fun you did during summer break….  

Time is running out to register for RE!

An email went out to all our families to register for the upcoming year for children's programming. The process takes just a moment to complete. Thank you in advance for taking the time to do so and helping us be prepared to serve our young people in the coming year!
Here are the links:
       Child (Nursery-7th grade):
       Youth Group (8-12 grades)

PLEASE, also take the time to read the RE Safety Guidelines and Protocols we use for our children:
Newsletter to resume weekly schedule!

Please email submissions by Monday for inclusion in the following Thursday's Murray Notes. The next deadline is September 3.

Save your shoes
Murray is collecting new and gently used shoes for resale and recycling. Murray will be paid by the for clean and dry shoes without obvious tears or large scuffs. Look for collection boxes around church. Start cleaning your closets!

Donations needed!

  • Bathroom tissue
  • Personal care items:
    • soap
    • shampoo
    • shaving cream
    • deodorant
    • toothpaste
    • Feminine care

What's going on at Murray? Click the calendar!

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Murray UU Chrurch · 505 N Main St · Attleboro, MA 02703-1745 · USA