Murray UU Church | 505 North Main St | Attleboro, MA 02703
January 4, 2018
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"Making Room for a Fresh Start"

Rev. Gretchen Weis

What stories have you outgrown, what habits, beliefs, resentments or behaviors no longer serve you? Growth and deepening - letting go of the old to make room for a new, fresh start - is a natural cycle of life. Join us for our annual Fire Communion, as we release the old in our burning bowl and welcome in new blessings for the New Year ahead.

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"Traditional Music Service"

Murray Musicians

Join us for our annual music service, led by our numerous, talented rock and rolling Murray Musicians, featuring the works of Bob Marley. This is a multigenerational service, so all ages welcome!

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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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Murray Church Office

That's How the Light Gets In
  by Rev. Gretchen Weis
  It's the start of a New Year! A time of new beginnings, fresh starts, a  turning over of new leaves. It's a time when many of us turn our  attention and intention to self-improvement. Many of us make  resolutions to jump start a new diet or exercise program, or to cut back  on or quit unhealthy habits, to name a few. 

We resolve to be better versions of our selves. And, if you are anything like me, the newer, healthier habits last for awhile, but sooner or later, I seem to swing right back to my same old same old. No matter how sincere my best intentions. Then, there I am, metaphorically kicking myself around the block for lapsing, for failing yet again. Does any of that sound familiar? 

So, like you, I now find myself at the start of another New Year, presented once again with opportunities for renewed resolve. I am reminded of Reinhold Niebuhr's famous prayer:  Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  

Should I give up the quest to become a better version of myself? No, of course not. I believe in the power of personal growth, of transformation, the power of healing towards a greater wholeness. I will continue to challenge myself to stretch, to grow, to deepen in my relationships with myself, with others, with the sacred. There are definitely things I can change. I turn to Niebuhr's prayer, to ask for courage to change those things I can.

But what am I asked to accept? Perhaps through the lessons of experience and time, I have come to accept that I am a flawed, perfectly imperfect human being. None of us is perfect. None of us gets it all right, all the time. I have known first hand both the flush of success and the sting of failure. Such are the rhythms of life, part of the human condition. So, no matter my best intentions, I accept that I will lapse in my resolve, I will fail at times. And, I will succeed at times, too. 

Aren't we all invited to accept that there will be times when each of us stumbles and falls? And, that life isn't measured by how often and how far we stumble, it is measured in how we pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off, forgive ourselves our shortcomings, and learn from our experiences, as we move forward yet again, one step at a time.  

The ancient Persians intentionally wove flaws into their famous oriental carpets, acknowledging that only Allah was capable of creating perfection - that human beings were imperfect, and even their finest work must reflect that humble truth. Middle Eastern rug makers continue that tradition into the present day. 

Each of us is broken, imperfect each in our own way. Yet our brokenness is not cause for despair. Listen to these words of hope from one of my favorite poets, singer songwriters, Leonard Cohen, from his song, "Anthem":  There is a crack in everything -- that's how the light gets in.


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 7th -- Spirit Group! We will begin in the service and then head to Fellowship Hall to begin our new monthly Spirit Group series on Self-Care. We will learn to do origami as a form of meditative relaxation.
Youth (Grades 9 - 12):
Friday, January 5th -- UUnited is cancelled due to frigid weather.

Sunday, January 7th -- Spirit Group! We will begin in the service and then head to Fellowship Hall for to begin our monthly series on Self-Care. We will learn to do origami as a form of meditative relaxation.

First Parish in Taunton offers Our Whole Lives (OWL) for Adults

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.
Wishes for the World
As the year comes to a close
And I look back at the past 365 days
I realize that this year
I have no resolutions
Signing up for the gym
Or deleting social media
Will not save me in 2018

Instead, this time
I have wishes
For things that are not physical
But mental
I wish, first of all, for patience
To keep from making rash decisions and jumping to conclusions
I wish for peace
An end to bitter disagreements and pointless violence
I wish for clarity
For people to say what they mean, and for them to find the words they need to do that
I wish for compromise
To avoid unnecessary conflict and so people can move forward with their lives together
I wish for these things in the hope
That this coming year will be better than the last
That this year we will make peaceful progress towards a better world for all

Written and published with permission from Murray youth, Sarah Zysk.
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.
Jan. 9:
Murray Men's Lunch Bunch
Inviting all Murray men to join us for lunch, the second Tuesday of each month, at Morin's Diner in downtown Attleboro. This is a very informal gathering for conversation and fellowship. No reservation required, just come as you are. If you need a ride, please call Rob Hasselbaum at 774-282-0818, a few days in advance, and transportation will be arranged.

The next luncheon is on Tuesday, January 9th at noon.

Look for us in the back room of Morin's, 

if you don't see us -- just ask!

Jan 10:

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
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 

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,

Sheila Jacobs at,

or Barbara Clark at

Jan. 14:

 Waking Up White Book Discussion Group
  Sunday, Jan 14th following Worship
  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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Jan. 21:                          Save the Date!
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, by Wednesday, January 17th, if you require childcare.

 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. 

Photo by Mary Carroll.
continue ...
the Light Gets In

Indeed, doesn't the light, the illumination of new understanding shine brightest through the cracks of our stumbles, our falls, our personal failings? The cracks of our perfectly imperfect selves can open us wider to the light of new truths, greater deepening, and personal transformation. Our greatest learnings don't seem to happen when everything is hunky dory - they come when we learn to accept and move forward through huge loss, disappointment, failure, change. 

So, here I am at the cusp of another New Year. What should I resolve? To improve diet and exercise habits, yes. But perhaps I should add to the top of my list the resolution to be kinder, more gentle, more accepting in the year ahead of who I am, warts and all. Resolve not to beat myself up, metaphorically speaking, when I stumble - because surely, I will stumble and get lost along the way to my best intentions.   

How might this New Year be different, if we gave ourselves and one another permission to be works in progress? If we gave ourselves and others permission to be less than perfect, to learn from our mistakes, as we try again, and yet again and again to get back on that path to becoming better selves? 

It just might be time to let go of that inner critic that asks us to measure up to impossible standards -- to let go of the need to be perfect. What else might you be ready to let go of? What beliefs, what habits, what behaviors, what old angers and resentments might be holding you back, keeping your wheels spinning, even as you aspire to move forward into greater happiness and wholeness? 

Come join us this Sunday, as we celebrate our annual Fire Communion - an opportunity to write down a word or short phrase of what you would like most to let go of, to release from your life in our burning bowl, as you make room for and invite in new beginnings, fresh starts in the year ahead. I look forward to seeing you in church!


Bright blessings for a wonderful New Year,
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.