"We Need a Little Christmas Now"
Rev. Gretchen Weis
It's been a challenging year, filled with stories of pain, suffering, violence and hate. Our hearts might be feeling raw and tender. I don't know about you, but I could sure use a little of the Christmas spirit right about now. Come gather as we connect to the deeper values of this season - hope, love, peace and joy.
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"This I believe"
Rev. Gretchen Weis
Ours is a "big tent" filled with differing personal beliefs. This diversity is one of our greatest strengths, celebrated in the phrase: "many beliefs, one faith." Come celebrate the diversity of belief here at Murray Church, as we hear from some new voices sharing their personal statements of faith, modeled after the "This I Believe" format heard on National Public Radio.
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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We are a Welcoming Congregation
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Murray Church Office
FROM OUR MINISTER
Good Enough is Good, Enough
by Rev. Gretchen Weis
We stand on the precipice, about to fall headlong into another Christmas
season. For some, it's that "Most Wonderful Time of the Year." For others, it is a time of loss, of deep loneliness, as an empty chair reminds that a cherished loved one is no longer here to share the season.
I invite you to do what brings you joy, and consider skipping the rest. If you love to decorate your home or bake for the holidays, go for it. If decorating or baking feels like a chore - more of a 'have to' than a 'want to' - then let it go. Or, consider, less can be more: decorate less, bake less than you have in years past, or let someone else step up and take ownership for making it happen.
Tis a season driven primarily by our secular consumer based culture, pressuring us over the next few weeks to over do - to over commit ourselves, over schedule, over spend, over eat, and over imbibe. Wallets shrink. Waistlines don't.
Tis the season, too, when expectations can run high, and reality might not always match the dream. Children imagine the gifts they hope to find under the tree, and little ones can struggle to understand why Santa may not have left them what they hoped for. And how many of us yearn for ideal, conflict-free family time at the holidays? Yet, how can families not bring their shared history, underlying tensions, and personal struggles with them to the holiday table? The happy families on tv holiday ads provide a stark contrast to sometimes painful realities, especially for those estranged from family.
We're supposed to be carefree, light-hearted, filled with joy and delight at this time of year, fa la la la la and ho ho ho. I don't know about you, but I have not yet arrived at the intersection of Merry and Bright. But there's still time.
As overwhelming as this season can be, it can also be filled with profound moments of quiet peace, of deep beauty, of heartfelt joy, of generosity and of gratitude. How can we center and ground ourselves amidst the pull of the hustle and bustle? First, I invite you to remember that absolutely nothing you do over the next few weeks has to be perfect. Consider this your holiday mantra: Good enough is good, enough.
When you find yourself rushing about, I invite you to pause, and intentionally slow yourself down. I invite you to carve out a few minutes each day for a little stillness - a time to center yourself, even if just for five minutes, to be fully present and notice and appreciate your blessings. Put down the 'to do' list you have running in your head and put down your digital devices and pause to reflect. Drive time or train time might be the perfect time to connect with your still, small voice within.
PLEASE NOTE: Kavita will be in India from December 13th -- January 4th.
On Sunday, December 17th, Don Michaels will be the acting DRE. There will be no RE (including Nursery) on Sunday, December 24th and 31st. Thank you.
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, December 3rd -- Giving Tree starts! We will start in the service and then head to the Unity Room to make ornaments and decorate our Giving Tree! Hot cocoa and popcorn will be served and we will listen to holiday music.
Youth (Grades 9 - 12):
Friday, December 1st -- UUnited in Taunton from 7 pm -- 9 pm.
Sunday, December 3rd -- We will start in the service and then head to the Purple Chat Room to organize and pack the hygiene products for AHOPE.
Giving Tree Begins December 3rd!
This year the Giving Tree will sponsor local non-profit organizations. Please visit the Giving Tree in the Unity Room during coffee hour and sign up to be a donor for our giving drive. You can choose an ornament off the tree which will describe a specific donation request. We are asking all donors who take an ornament to also sign up on our list and we'll send you a reminder. All donations will be due back at church on Sunday, December 17th.
Please return your gift donations in one of the two collection boxes at church -- in the Sanctuary Foyer and the Unity Room. Please attach your ornament to your donation.
If you have any questions please contact Laura Gustafson or Nancy Michaels. Thank you!
RSVP IMMEDIATELY FOR DINNER!!!
so they can let Chelo's Restaurant know how many people to plan for.
Join Us for the 2017 Holiday Pops!
Membership & Welcoming invites you to an evening of dinner and music in a gorgeous church setting on Saturday, December 9th.
We'll meet at the Murray UU parking lot, then carpool to
Chelo's Restaurant located at 490 Clinton Street in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, for an early dinner at 5 pm.
Then we'll go to St. Ann's Arts & Cultural Center located at 84 Cumberland Street in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, for a holiday concert with he Ocean State Orchestra beginning at 7 pm. We'll meet in the Murray Church
parking lot at 4:15 pm so that we can carpool to Woonsocket.
Tickets are $20; children under 12 years are free.
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Purchase your tickets by clicking [HERE].
Thank You for Raising Nearly $700
As a part of our Thanksgiving observance, we collected $690 for the Tomaquog Indigenous Peoples Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island. Our contribution will help the museum spread knowledge of the local indigenous history, culture, and arts; partnership with area educational institutions; and reach out to members of the area indigenous community. Our donation will add to the growing understanding and appreciation of our area history and our lives today.
Thank you for your ongoing generosity, as we support the inherent worth and dignity of our greater community.
The Murray Church
Social Concerns Committee
Thanksgiving Basket Drive
Here's Bill with the Champions Extended Learning program families and their generous turkey basket donations. Program Site Director, Shelbi Pinkham is at front left.
On Monday, November 20th, the Murray Church Food Pantry gave out 62 Thanksgiving baskets with all the fixings to Food Pantry families. The families were very appreciative of these donations and expressed their thanks to the church and the Food Pantry with lots of hugs and smiles!
We'd like to thank all the church members, community volunteers and organizations that contributed in any way to help make this drive a success! A special tip of the hat to Personal Best Karate's Turkey Brigade and the Champions Extended Learning Program at the J.C. Solomonese School in Norton for their Thanksgiving basket donations.
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The Murray Church Food Pantry
FOOD PANTRY DONATIONS NEEDED!!!
| We are in dire need of bathroom tissue!
We are also in need of:
- Paper Bags
- Personal Care Items
- Feminine Care Products
Thank you for your continued support!
Murray Church Food Pantry Team
WE COULD REALLY USE YOUR HELP
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. The 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.
Volunteer for Coffee Hour...
If you like coffee, yummy snacks orjust enjoy meeting new people, pleaseconsider volunteering for coffee hour.
To sign-up, please click [HERE].
This year we will not have a separateadult and children's snack table; wewill 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,
Sheila Jacobs, or Barbara Clark.
IT'S A BOOK CRAWL!!
You are invited to a book crawl on December 3rd! It's similar to a pub crawl, but we travel from book store to book store. We'll start at The Unlikely Story and have a light snack. From there, we'll head over to The Shire Book Shop, a used book store located at 305 Union Street in Franklin, MA. After we find our treasures, we'll have a late lunch/early dinner at one of the local restaurants. It's a nice break from the holiday bustle. If you are interested in coming along, please contact Heidi Ferreira. If you are able and willing to be one of the drivers, let me know that as well. We hope to see you!
"A Seasonal Concert"
The Prolatio Singers
conducted by Dennis Ferguson
The Music Committee is proud to sponsor a concert by the Prolatio Singers, under the direction of Murray's own Dennis Ferguson. The concert will be held in the Sanctuary at 7:30 pm on Sunday, December 3rd, 2017. Admission is free, but donations for the Murray Church Food Pantry will be gratefully collected.
Prolatio Singers will present a seasonal choral concert, featuring the music of the
Old Hall Manuscript, Michael Praetorius, Charles Wood, Herbert Howells, Jacob Handl, Dennis Ferguson, and folk songs from Spain.
Please join us for this wonderful program.
Clara Barton Guild Christmas Luncheon
The Clara Barton Guild will hold their Christmas Luncheon on Monday, December 4th, at 11:45 am in the John Murray Room. Christmas decorations, desserts, beverages and music will brighten the atmosphere. Attendees will bring their own salad or sandwich. After lunch, a Christmas Yankee Swap will be held with gifts costing not over $10. All women of the church are welcome to join in the fellowship and fun. If you have any questions, please call Bev Hall.
It's time to think about ordering poinsettias for Christmas.
The poinsettias will be on the chancel table for December 17th and Christmas Eve services. The colors are red, white, pink, marble, and jingle bells (red with white splotches). The final order date is December 4th. Please
contactt Irene Yutkins. The price of each poinsettia is $18.
Planning Meeting for Refurbishing Fellowship Hall
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The Property Committee will having its first meeting
to organize refurbishing Fellowship Hall.
We will be meeting in Harmony Hall on Tuesday, December 5th at 7:15 pm.
Anyone interested in being part of this team is welcome.
Central Congregational Church of Attleboro Falls
& Murray Unitarian Universalist Church
Friday, December 8th, 2017
1 pm -- 6 pm
at Murray Church Fellowship Hall
505 North Main Street, Attleboro, MA
To schedule an appointment please call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: MurrayUUC
Streamline your donation experience and save up to 15 minutes by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass to complete your pre-donation reading and health history questions on the day of your appointment.
Waking Up White Book Discussion Group
Sunday, December 14th following Worship
11:45 am in the John Murray Room
Our next book discussion group about white privilege will be held on Sunday, December 14th 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 the next two sections, pp. 95 - 150.
Sunday, December 24th
10:00 am Coffee, tea and cookies with the minister in the Unity Room.
In lieu of a formal worship service on Sunday morning in the Sanctuary, any interested may gather informally in the Unity Room for some holiday treats and sharing holiday memories, led by Rev. Gretchen. Depending on the weather, maybe we'll have the fire going in there, too!
5:30 pm Holiday Prelude Concert
Our annual concert of holiday favorites by our mighty Murray Musicians, led by Dr. Dennis Ferguson, and featuring many area guest musicians as well.
6:00 pm Annual Christmas Eve Family Candlelight Service
All are invited to attend our multi-generational Christmas Eve service, which includes readings and carols, closing.
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.
CALLING ALL MUSICIANS!!!
Planning and practicing for the Music Committee's service in January is getting under way. If you play an instrument and/or sing and would like to get involved in presenting some reggae music at the January 14th, 2018 Music Service, please join us. We plan to rehearse on Sundays after church, with the possibility of additional practices on Tuesday evenings. If you can commit to performing at the service and to most of the practices, please contact Melanie Hitchen - or reach out to her with any questions you may have.
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, January 7th, we will discuss, The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George. Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened. After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country's rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself. The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people's lives.
Good Enough... (continued)
If dealing with the crush of people in the malls feels like too much, shop online. If holiday spending is a stress point in your life, I invite you to consider creating a holiday gift giving budget, and stick to your guidelines.
And, please remember we all have permission to say "no," this holiday season. We do not have to attend all the parties, all the open houses, all the events for which we receive invitations. And, here's one easier said than done - we don't have to eat all the rich seasonal foods laid out in front of us, or keep pouring ourselves a bottomless cup of cheer.
Let this be a season of self-care for you and for your family. If you are tired or feeling overwhelmed, skip the party - go work out, or simply head home, eat a healthy meal, and put your feet up for some quiet time. Get a good night's sleep. Carve out some time, together, with your children, to slow down, to share 'want to' activities that build memories, that bring you all meaning and joy. We can be important role models for our children, to help them manage the expectations of the season, to invite them into the greater lessons of seasonal generosity and giving, of being kind to one another and to other people.
And make time for church. If all the rest of the world seems to be a swirling whirlwind, let the quiet hour we spend together each Sunday morning refill your heart, refresh your spirit, recharge your batteries, and renew your hope. May you find moments in the next few weeks that invite you into the deeper spirit of love, of hope, of peace.
And, please, if you find yourself struggling in this season, I am here for you. Let's get together. You are not journeying alone.
Also, while we will not have a formal worship service on Christmas Eve morning, Sunday, December 24th, I will be in the Unity Room at 10:00 am, hopefully with our fireplace going, to share some coffee, tea, cookies and circle time together for those who would like some fellowship on that Sunday morning.
I hope to see you in church this Sunday, as we kick off the holiday season, together, and invite one another into the deeper experiences of mystery, awe and wonder.
Love and blessings,