Murray UU Church | 505 North Main St | Attleboro, MA 02703
December 21, 2017

Snow Cancellation
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December 24th Christmas Eve"

Rev. Gretchen Weis


10:00 AM  No regular service, but those who like are invited to join Rev. Gretchen for some beverages and treats around the fire in the Unity Room.


5:30 PM  Our annual Christmas Eve Prelude Concert led by Dr. Dennis Ferguson, Murray Music Director, our choir and featuring many guest musicians.


6:00 PM  Our Traditional Family Christmas Eve Candlight Service. All are invited and welcome to join in this annual joyous celebration of readings and carols.


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"Wishes for the World"

Murray Youth & Young Adults


We invite you to spend a special New Year's Eve day service with us to celebrate what we are calling "Wishes for the World." This service will feature the Youth from Murray Church, led by Ruth Debrot, who will be singing, dancing, reading poetry and playing music. What a joyful way to end 2017 and welcome the New Year! Congregants will write their own "wishes," and the youth will read them to the congregation.

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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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Longest Night of the Year
  by Rev. Gretchen Weis
  Today, December 21st is Solstice - our shortest day and longest night of  the year. Daylight will only last today for about 9.5 hours. When the sun  sets at 4:19 pm, the night will stretch out before us for about 14.5 hours.  Today is also the first day of Winter.
  So often, we ignore the darkness this date brings, as our attention is focused on the symbolic festivities of love, hope, and light happening a few more days from now. Many of us will be rushing about with last minute things to do, to buy, to wrap, to bake.   

But what about this seasonal gift of Solstice darkness? As well as the dark, quiet gifts of the winter season itself? Colleague Tom Owen-Towle reminds us:  "The treasures of the dark are many. Dreams emerge in the dark. Indeed, humus, from which our germinal concepts of humor, humanness, human and humility all sprout, refers to the dark, organic portion of soil. We evolve from the darkness of our mother's wombs. Never forget:  in mystery we're born, in mystery we live, and in mystery, we die. All mystery is about the unknown, the silent, the dark."  

In the midst of holiday hysteria, Owen-Towle says, winter reminds us to slow down, turn around, focus inward and weight what truly matters in our lives. In this dark season, if we choose not to run from it but rather surrender to it, we open ourselves to renewal and deepening.   

We are invited to take some time, even just a few minutes will suffice, to sit in the dark -- alone, quiet, and still -- and consciously bless all that grows in the dark. Owen-Towle challenges us:  "What is it that you need to brood about or wrestle with in the silence and darkness of your solitary soul? Whatever it may be, I summon you to travel beneath the cheap glare of the season and dive deeply into your darkness...and emerge as a more expansive person. Brood about the brokenness in your life and that of the larger world. Brood about what you plan to do with your remaining years on this planet, starting here and starting now. Brood not to despair, rather brood to cleanse and ground your being..." 

I find comfort from these words about winter by Greta Crosby, found in the back of our hymnal. She writes:


Let us not wish away the winter.

It is a season to itself,

Not simply the way to spring.


When trees rest,

Growing no leaves,

Gathering no light,

They let in sky

And trace themselves delicately

Against dawns and sunsets.


The clarity and brilliance

Of the winter sky delight.

The loom of fog softens edges,

Lulls the eyes and ears of the quiet,

Awakens by risk the unquiet.

A low dark sky can snow,

Emblem of individuality,

Liberality, and aggregate power.

Snow invites us to contemplation

And to sport.


Winter is a table

Set with ice and starlight.


Winter dark tends to warm light;

Fire and candle;

Winter cold to hugs and huddles;

Winter want to gifts and sharing;

Winter danger to visions,

Plans and common endeavoring -

And the zest of narrow escapes;

Winter tedium to merry-making.


Let us therefore praise winter,

Rich in beauty, challenge

And pregnant negativities.


PLEASE NOTE:  Kavita will be in India until January 4th. 

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 24th -- No Nursery and No RE. Happy Holidays!
Sunday, December 31st -- No Nursery and No RE. Happy New Year! 
Youth (Grades 9 - 12):
Sunday, December 24th -- No Nursery and No RE. Happy Holidays!
Sunday, December 31st -- No Nursery and No RE. Happy New Year! 

Christmas Eve
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 with our annual passing of the candlelight flame and singing the hymn "Silent Night." Please plan to come early to enjoy the concert before the service begins.

Dec. 31:
New Year's Eve Day Service--Wishes for the World!

We invite you to spend a special New Year's Eve day service with us to celebrate what we are calling "Wishes for the World." This service will feature the Youth from Murray Church, led by Ruth Debrot, who will be singing, dancing, reading poetry and playing music. What a joyful way to end 2017 and welcome the New Year! Congregants will write their own "wishes," and the youth will read them to the congregation.  

We will celebrate with bubbly and cupcakes during a special coffee hour. Please contact Sheila Jacobs at or call 508-345-9758, if you would like to contribute a dozen cupcakes or some bubbly. 

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Please Keep Those Shaw's Saver Stamps Coming!
To everyone who has contributed Saver Stamps, thanks in Arabic. (Isn't it beautiful?)
We now have enough to fill 7 or 8 books!

Collection ends January 1st.

To help redeem stamps for bakeware for A-Hope contact Barbara Clark at 508-222-6164, or

Dec 27:

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 at 508-838-8249, or email  at
Thank you!
Image from
Dec. 30:
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.

Food Pantry Donations Needed

We can always use more of the following:

          • Paper Bags
          • Personal Care Items
          • Feminine Care Products
          • Bathroom Tissue

Thank you for your continued support!

Murray Church Food Pantry Team 

 From Green Sanctuary
Tips to Reduce Waste 
During the Holidays
It's that time of year when we can be mindful about reducing waste. According the EPA, our household waste increases more than 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Consider these ideas:
  1. Send eCards or recycled-content holiday cards.
  2. Use LED holiday lighting
  3. Give gifts of togetherness instead of "stuff":
  4. Take reusable bags on shopping trips
  5. When eating out, bring your own take-home containers
  6. Use earth-friendly gift-wrapping
  7. Recycle your cardboard boxes, non-foil wrapping paper & old electronics
  8. Recycle your live Christmas tree

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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 at - or reach out to her with any questions you may have.
Jan. 7: 
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.
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 tosimplify 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,

Sheila Jacobs at,

or Barbara Clark at

Coffee Cups Divine Art Print by Jennifer Lambein on Pinterest. coffee art collage cafe.
Jan. 14:

 Waking Up White Book  Discussion Group
  Sunday, Jan 14th following Worship at  11:45 am in the John Murray Room
                              Our next book discussion group about white privilege will be held  on Sunday, January 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. 159 - 205.   

  Last week 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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From Green Sanctuary
Coming Soon on behalf of your 
Green Sanctuary
Starting in January you will have the option to use your own mug during coffee hour. 

You can store your mug in a Unity Room cupboard where it will be handy each week you need to use it. Put your name on it to label it as yours. There is also a sink just under the cupboard, where you can wash your mug and return it to the shelf, ready for the next coffee hour.  

Using your own mug will save on use of paper cups, which cannot be recycled. This will save trees! Self-washing and storage of your mug will also avoid any extra burden on coffee hour hosts. It's a win-win.

The cupboard will hold 30+ cups. There's also an upper shelf for taller people! Use of shelf space will be first come first served. Hmmm, this might be an idea for a Christmas gift-a special mug to use at church!

Dishes left in kitchen...
Missing a dish or bowl as you prepare for the holiday? 

It could be in Mrs. Murray's kitchen. Please check.

Painting by Elizabeth Fraser,
The Longest Night...

We live and find meaning within the entire, rich continuum of human experience,

For there is truth and wisdom in all seasons, in both light and darkness, joy and sorrow, motion and stillness. May we not wish away this season of cold darkness ahead. In the wisdom of the Buddhists, here is our invitation to lean into it to see what winter might have to teach us. 

I look forward to seeing you in church this Sunday. While there is no official worship service on Sunday morning, all who are interested are invited to gather in the Unity Room by the fireplace, to enjoy beverages and treats with me as we share stories together into our informal circle. 

Our Christmas Eve celebration begins at 5:30 pm with our annual holiday concert prelude. Our Candlelight worship service begins at 6:00 pm. At the conclusion of our service, we will distribute candles, turn off the lights and pass the flame from person to person in the sanctuary, and sing "Silent Night." It is certainly one of the most favorite, meaningful traditions here at Murray Church. All ages are invited!


Wishing you love and holiday joy,
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 Facebook page: 
Be sure to "Like" us to see updates in your news feed.