Murray Church Notes

October 18, 2018

Volume 7,  Issue 12

In this Issue:

What the Black Lives Matter Banner Means to Me
Holland Jackson

Hello! My name is Holland Jackson and I am a Junior Deaconess (D&D) at Murray . Ever since elementary school, I have been attending Murray church and have grown up with the church. 

The hanging of a “Black Lives Matter” sign means a lot to me. Truly, I have always believed that Murray members believed in the phrase, but expressing this support in such a passionate and influential way makes me happier than words can say.

I’ve found comfort in the church’s teachings. Inside the classroom, I felt equal. We were taught lessons about accepting those around us and showing them unconditional kindness and respect. I did not find any of that same love and kindness in my normal school classes. I was bullied for everything about me that didn’t meet the Caucasian standard: which meant everything. I could hardly go more than two days without experiencing some kind of taunting or being ostracized. Years passed and the bullying continued. I was ashamed of myself for something I couldn’t change. I began to believe I was inferior, and on Sundays, the UU principles began to sound like wishes rather than codes of conduct. 

Over time I began to understand that the UU principles were the way to create that love and kindness in the world. Unitarian Universalists knew there was work to be done - and knew the way to get it done. Those principles were not an illusion of the way we thought the world was. They were a way for us to create a more respectful and accepting world. 

Even though I understood what I had to do to fulfill these principles, I still found them hard to practice. I wanted to snap back at the hands that grabbed at my hair and pointed fingers at my skin. I wanted to express my anger towards the policemen that were killing my people day in and day out. Outside of Murray, I saw nothing but inaction. Protests were happening, but nothing was changing. I began to lose hope.

Then, I heard about the idea of a Black Lives Matter banner going up at Murray. Through all of the deliberation, I became filled with hope. I was proud to be involved in the process, and I finally understood our principles completely. Love didn’t come from nowhere, and when it was created, it didn’t come accidentally. It needed to be fought for and expressed without any hesitation or regret. Seeing other people get angry and passionate about the struggles I faced and feel a need to help made me feel loved. I began to carry that self-assurance outside of the sanctuary, and felt a need and ability to channel my passion for change in healthier ways. 

This banner means so much to me. It makes me feel like I’m involved in changing the way our country sees African Americans. On a personal level, it makes me immensely happy to know that any other little black or brown girl has a place that they can find the peace that I have found - and now, we’re easier to find.

Holland Jackson

Holland is a senior at Attleboro High School.
Your Condolences Have Meant the World 
Rev. Gretchen Weis

So many of you have reached out during this past week through cards, emails, texts and hugs to express your caring concern and condolences for the loss of my father, who died on October 6th. Your loving kindness at such a tender time has meant more than words can say.  Thank you, from my heart to yours.

I am heading to Milwaukee to be with family this weekend as we celebrate my father’s life during a memorial service on Saturday afternoon.  I have posted my Dad’s obituary on the bulletin board by the office, if anyone would like to see it.  I will fly back to Attleboro on Wednesday, Oct. 24th and be back in the church office on Thursday, Oct. 25th. 

In my absence, the Rev. Charles Ortman will lead worship this Sunday, sharing his experiences working with the immigrant community in the Providence area.  Special thanks to Sheila Jacobs from the Religious Services team, who jumped right in to help get this service organized.  In addition, the Rev. Paul Sprecher from the Bridgewater UU Church will be on call to help us in case any pastoral care emergencies come up during the six days I am away.  Members of the Caring Circle, and Jeanne in the office have Rev. Paul’s contact information, if anyone needs it.

I want to also express special thanks to both the board and staff, who have been journeying with me these past six months, while my father has been in home hospice.  I have appreciated your ongoing support and flexibility to allow me to head out for several weekend trips over the past few months, to visit my father, and to be able to be at his side, with the rest of my family, when he died.  Thank you for your compassion and support for the journey.  It is an honor and a privilege to serve the wonderful people of this church.

In love and faith,
Rev. Gretchen
"To Welcome a Stranger"

Rev. Charles Ortman, former interim minister of the First Unitarian Church in Providence, RI will be our guest minister.

"Diwali:  Let Us Be Blessed By Light!"

Let's explore the Hindu celebration of Diwali, the annual festival of lights that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.  Kavita Vansant, our Director of Lifespan Religious Education, will co-lead this multicultural service, which will feature a performance by a traditional Hindu dance troupe.  This is a multigen service for all ages.

Religious Education for Sunday, October 18

Nursery is available 9:45-11am.  Nursery is for our babies, toddlers and preschoolers only. 
Grades K-8
We will begin in the service and then head to our classes to continue learning about Social Justice.  There will be a practice Fire Drill during RE time.  Please dress your child according to the weather.
Youth Group:
We will begin class at 10 am in the Purple Chat Room.  We will begin our learning about Social Justice. There will be a practice Fire Drill during class time.  
Religious Education is in need of lids!  

•    Plastic lids from Cool Whip containers and/or large yogurt containers
•    Empty spray bottles
•    Please make sure these items are thoroughly cleaned.  The items can be dropped off in Kavita’s office.


Holiday Craft Time

Inviting all children of all ages!  Come have fun, make holiday crafts, and spend time with your friends!  We will make holiday crafts to decorate the church and make it festive for our Holiday Fair.
Parents are encouraged to stay and join in the merriment!    
       Where: Harmony Hall
       When: Sunday, October 21 and 28
       Time: 11:30am-12:30pm

The BLM Banner Vote

This past Sunday, October 14, we held a Special Congregational Meeting to vote on the proposal to hang a banner on the church that says:  Black Lives Matter, Join the Conversation.  It is the same one that you see at the top of this newsletter article.

At the meeting, we had a heart-felt conversation about our hopes and concerns.  It truly was an open conversation.

It was so gratifying to hear support for the banner.  It was even more gratifying to hear doubts about the banner, because it showed how we support each other, even when we disagree.  

The vote on the banner was 76 “Yes, in favor of hanging the banner” and 2 “No, not in favor of hanging the banner.”  The counters were told that an “Undecided” vote was cast, but we checked the ballots and did not find one.

The hanging of the banner will be both a culmination of months and years of work to get to this place, and the beginning of a deeper commitment to the anti-racism work we will do from here.

This process has not divided us.  It has united us more deeply.  We have entered into the brave space of declaring our support of black lives.  

We welcome the support of those who agree and welcome the conversation with those who doubt or disagree.   

You are welcome to join Social Concerns, to continue the conversation. Please feel free to contact Bruce Field to join in.

Oct. 21 & 28:
Free Photo Shoot For Church Directory

It’s time to update the church photo directory.  Come have your photo taken after worship in Harmony Hall in October.  We invite all Murray members and friends — especially our many newcomers — to have your photo taken.  There is no charge to have your photo taken for our church directory.  We encourage everyone — individuals, couples, families and even family pets to participate, as we update our directory for the 2018-2019 church year.  Once again, we are pleased to have the professional photography experience of church member Phil Frink behind the camera lens.

Photo shoot dates: October 21 and 28
Oct. 21:

Continuing Work in the Front of the Church

After church on Sunday the 21st  of October, we will continue the task of relocating the Savolainen daylilies.  We will be transplanting the daylilies, iris, hopefully, moving wood chips, and finishing the edging.  Please bring shovels, etc. and wheelbarrows.  We know the Pats will be playing but with enough hands we might be done by halftime.  We’ll bring an outdoor radio to listen to the game while we work.

About the daylilies:  (note that Bill has been giving out some misinformation). Unto Savolainen was born in Finland, immigrated to the US, settled in the Attleboro area, married Ina Heisten from Norwood, and joined Murray Church.  As a well-known gardener, in the 1980s he developed new daylily cultivars, cumulatively known as Savolainen daylilies. Many of the church’s daylilies were donated from his own garden and they were planted in the area next to the walkway in front of the Murray Room BEFORE the area that is now handicapped parking was paved.  Over the years these planting areas have become overgrown.  Since we have now cleared the scrub bushes and amended the garden soil in the oval shaped garden area across the parking lot from the Sanctuary, we will be transplanting the Savolainen cultivars into this restored area.

Hope to see you there!

Oct. 20
Halloween Carnival

6:00 pm - 7:15 pm
Bring your ghosts, goblins, superheroes, pirates, and fairy princesses to Murray’s Halloween Carnival this Saturday! - Oct. 20, 6-7:15 pm

Snacks will be provided but small prizes or candy for the carnival games are appreciated.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Happy Haunting from the RE Committee   Questions contact: Kavita at

Shoe Drive Ends October 21st

We will continue to collect gently worn shoes through October 21st!  Please drop off your clean, dry, donations in the box at the front entrance to the church. (It's under the welcome table.)

Cookie Monsters


Murray cookie making is in full swing, with Cookie Monsters (from left) Peddy Dias, her cousin Jayden and Tom Stuart.   You can join the Cookie Monsters Tuesday and Saturday, 9 am to noon and Sunday, after church on October 21st and 28th.  

Oct. 27


It's October again - and time for Octoberfest!  So dust off your lederhosen and join the fun.

Membership & Welcoming invite all Murray members and friends to a hearty German meal at Morin's Restaurant in Attleboro on Saturday, October 27, at 6:00 p.m.  There's open seating and a family-style meal of potato pancakes, red cabbage, bratwurst, German pot roast, and weinersnitzel.  $20 per person - $8 for children - includes tax and tip.  RSVP -- um Antwort wird gebeten -- or, let me know you're coming!   Sandy Stuart at   
Oct. 28:

Humanist Discussion Group

Do you believe in “resurrection”?  I do!   The Humanist Discussion Group is being resurrected starting this October.  On Sunday October 28 at 11:30 am in the library.  Come and enjoy the “rapture” of discussing topics and issues from/with a humanist perspective, among a “communion” friends.  The first meeting will organizational.  We will choose a regular monthly meeting time and place, as well as first discussion topic for the first regular meeting in November.  For example, if truth isn’t truth, what is it?  Perhaps a “transubstantiation”?

If interested, contact Len Yutkins at 508-226-3109 or at  
Nov. 9 & 10:

Holiday Fair 2018

The Holiday Fair is our church’s biggest fundraiser, and it’s only a month away! Here are some of the ways that you can help make the fair a success.
We need your donations of gently used books, household items, sports equipment, 
tools, small working electronics, and almost antiques. We can also use donations of twelve-packs of soda or water for our Gourmet Room. Water and colas (diet and 
regular) are popular choices, but we will gladly accept whatever soda you find on sale.
Our crafters are looking for unwanted T-shirts in good enough condition (no rips or 
stains) to make into T-shirt bags. We can always use extra reusable shopping bags for books and other heavy items.
As always, our annual raffle will include a variety of special items and gift baskets, but we need your help! The raffle organizers are looking for donations of new or very gently used items to be raffled off. Please let Kate Ricciarelli-Wenson know if you have anything you would like to donate by sending an email to Kate at
The church has limited storage space before the fair, so we ask that you keep your 
items “in storage” at your home as long as possible. We can start accepting all of your donations in the days leading up to the fair (11/4 through 11/8). Please drop them off in Fellowship Hall. If you need to drop-off your items before that time, contact the church office to arrange a time to access the storage container. We currently have a decent amount of free space in the second container.
Our Personnel Coordinator, Janet Richardi (, will be looking for volunteers over the next few weeks. Working at the fair is a lot of fun and a great way to get to know each other. If you have any questions about the volunteer opportunities that are available, please contact Janet or Greg (
We can use as much help as possible setting up for the fair immediately following the service on November 4th. There will be pizza!
One of our talented chefs will be making an appearance at coffee hour in the near future asking for volunteers to prepare delicious entrees and soups for sale in the Gourmet Room. If you like to cook, this is a great way to help out.
Do you make handmade gift items that you’d be willing to donate? We're in need of many creative hands to help make the Gift Room a success! Please consider putting your talents to work and donate some of your creations to the Gift Room. Contact Stephanie Paquette ( if you are interested in contributing.

The Holiday Fair Gourmet Cafe Needs Your Help!

Your donations help to keep our expenses down and as we all know, food is expensive! Bottled waters, soda, diet and regular, and seltzer can be brought to Fellowship Hall and labelled for the fair. We also really need your cooking talent to provide soups, chili, and entrees of all kinds, including vegan or vegetarian options. So search those favorite family recipes and commit to sharing during the fair. We will also need kitchen helpers to prep, cook and serve our hungry patrons. So many ways to help! See you on October 21st for sign-ups. Just look for Frank Blackbird and Ricky Larson and a pile of cooking tins! Thanks from the Gourmet Cafe Team!

Holiday Fair Volunteers Needed

The Holiday Fair is fast approaching…Friday, November 9th from 11 am to 7 pm and Saturday, November 10th from 9 am to 3 pm…and we need volunteers!  Maybe you love to work in the Bake Shop or possibly the Book Room is your thing or what about the Gourmet Room?  Whatever it is you can sign up for 2 hours or 2 days, the choice is yours.  

Janet Richardi, the Fair Volunteer Coordinator, will have a sign-up sheet available on Sunday.  Look for Janet during coffee hour to get first dibs at your favorite spot. 
And don’t forget we need set-up Sunday volunteers for November 4th, parking patrollers for both days, and lots of hands for clean-up on Saturday, November 10th at 2:45 PM.

Nov. 18:

Interfaith Service of Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 18, 2018  :00 pm
First Baptist Church
75 Park St., North Attleboro, MA 02760

Members from all faith communities are invited to come together in worship. Please join us in celebration and gratitude.

Sponsored by the Attleboro Area Faith Collaborative.  This service changes location each year, highlighting the interfaith connectivity that thrives in the Attleboro area

Dec 2:
Sunday Book Group 

SUNDAY BOOK GROUP MEETS NEXT ON DECEMBER 2ND.  We will not meet on November 4th, due to the Holiday Fair set up.

For our December 2nd meeting, we’ll discuss Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston. 

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick. One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

Donations Needed! 

For the food pantry:
  • Bathroom tissue
  • Soup (all flavors & varieties)
  • Fruit juices (all flavors)
Newsletter weekly schedule!

Please email all newsletter submissions by Tuesday end of day  for inclusion in the following Thursday's Murray Notes. The next deadline is October 23.

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