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

February 1, 2018

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"Digital Distraction: Who Are We Becoming?"

Rev. Gretchen Weis

Technology is certainly changing our lives. But how is it changing our bodies, our psychological health, our brain's ability to focus and make decisions? Entire new industries have sprung up dedicated to capturing and selling human distraction on digital devices. When recent studies reveal that the average American touches their cell phone 2,617 times a day, what does this mean to our long-term physical, mental and spiritual health?


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"Love and Marriage"

Rev. Gretchen Weis

Human marriage partnering is as old as time, and in many cultures, it was common for parents to arrange marriages for their children. The practice of people selecting their own partners based on romantic love is a relatively new concept in the human story. Yet, sadly, one in two marriages fail in today's world. What are the secrets to a happy marriage? On this Sunday closest to Valentine's Day, let's hear from a few Murray couples as they share their love stories.

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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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What's On Your Reading List?
  by Rev. Gretchen Weis
  I was coming to the end of a glorious book last night -- Anthony Doerr's
  Pulitzer Prize winning, All the Light We Cannot See. But I stopped myself.
  I wasn't quite ready to be done with this story, to say good-bye to these
  characters, the magnificent writing, just yet. So I put the book down and
  turned off the light, to give myself the gift of one more evening's read.

Thomas Jefferson once said, "I cannot live without books." To paraphrase the words of David Kundtz: "Without books, Jefferson would no doubt have continued to live, but he have not have been as fully alive as he wanted to be. Of the many gifts of the world that can lead us to contemplation, to creative reverie, to quiet moments of being in the present, perhaps reading is among the most powerful." I quite agree. Literature nourishes me, introduces me to new ways of thinking about my life, about other people, about different cultures, and about different times in human history. Reading challenges my imagination and feeds my heart. 


My parents read to us when we were children. The poetry and stories of A.A. Milne, including the adventures of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh, the Old Mother West Wind stories by Thornton Burgess, the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson, and, of course, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. As I grew older, I began to tackle books like Black Beauty, National Velvet, Peter Pan and Treasure Island on my own.


But my favorite series growing up were Nancy Drew books. My grandmother, as a schoolteacher, had quite an extensive collection of children's books, including the Nancy Drew series. I devoured these stories of the teen-aged girl detective who was wicked smart, usually smarter than the adults in the room. I worked hard at my chores and saved up my allowance so I could buy myself a new Nancy Drew book as often as I could. I still keep these Nancy Drew books on my bookshelf to this day.   


Nancy Drew was a great role model for this young girl growing up. My heart aches that as I was growing up, there were little to no heroes or heroines of color to fire the imagination and inspire generations of young black, Latino or Asian children. I draw hope that this situation is improving, and needs to continue to improve, as nothing is quite as empowering as reading or watching stories about someone similar to ourselves -- the power of imagining ourselves in the role of hero or heroine. On that note, I am thrilled that the premiere of the new movie "Black Panther," is set for just a few weeks from now -- Marvel Comics has finally created a black male superhero. It's about time!


I read plenty of non-fiction works to inspire me and help to inform my preaching as a minister. Yet there is something in me that craves the beautiful writing, the art form of both poetry and literature. That's why there is a two-foot pile of prize-winning literature waiting by the nightstand. No matter how many of the books I finish off the pile, the pile never seems to grow shorter, as I add more works into the queue. If I find I like one book by an author, I will read more books by the same writer. John Irving, John Steinbeck, John Banville, Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy, Michael Chabon, John Fowles, Robertson Davies, Ian McEwan, Harper Lee, Annie Proulx, Tony Hillerman, Carson McCullers, Barbara Kingsolver and Jhumpa Lahiri are just a few of my favorites.


And, I must also confess to the guilty pleasures of J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series. If you haven't read them, I encourage you to do so. Those books aren't just for children. Like the best of human mythology handed down from generation to generation, these stories introduce that classic human struggle between good and evil to a new generation of readers. And, any book series that has children lining up at midnight to buy the next book in the installment, encouraging a whole new generation of readers, is A-OK in my book!



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):
Saturday, February 3rd -- Playgroup for Nursery Parents: 10 am -- 11 am in the Nursery.

Sunday, February 4th -- We will begin in the service and then head to the Unity Room for Spirit Group. We will continue our need for Self-Care by learning about different kinds of meditation. Our older children, grades 6-12 will be learning about journaling with Heidi Ferreira.

Youth Group (Grades 9 - 12):
Sunday, February 4th -- Our youth will be learning about journaling with Heidi Ferreira.
Lessons in World Religions
People of all ages enjoyed the fun Potluck/Game Night!  Many thanks to Carol Connolly, Colleen DeGroot and Vanessa Wehmeyer for hosting the event! 

Our children started their classes on World Religions. Judeo-Christianity was their first lesson. 

  The Youth Group made worry beads during
a UU lesson on hope.

Feb. 1-4:
Mansfield Black Box Theater Production
  The Mansfield's Black Box Theater presents

  "Of Mice and Men" starring Murray's own

  Brian Gustafson in the lead role.  

  John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is a parable about
  what it means to be human. Steinbeck's story of
  George and Lennie's ambition of owning their own
  ranch, and the obstacles that stand in the way of that
  ambition, reveal the 
nature of dreams, dignity,
  loneliness and sacrifice. Ultimately, Lennie, the
  mentally handicapped giant who makes George's
  dream of owning his own ranch worthwhile, ironically
  becomes the greatest obstacle to achieving that dream.

  Performance dates:

  Feb. 1 - 4.

  Tickets are $29. Call 508-339-2822 to reserve tickets or

  to purchase click [HERE].
Food Pantry Donations Needed
          • Paper Bags
          • Plastic Bags
          • Reusable Bags
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,

or Barbara Clark at

Feb. 4: 
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, February 4th, we will discuss, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: a 10% happier how-to book, by Dan Harris and Jeff Warren. Harris and Warren present a practical guide to meditation that debunks the myths, misconceptions, and self-deceptions that make many people reluctant to try it. They suggest a range of meditation practices that may lower your blood pressure, mitigate depression and anxiety, and literally rewire key parts of your brain.  


This book will serve as a springboard for discussion on how we go about quieting our minds to seek a physical and/or spiritual respite. Even if you don't read the book, this is a discussion you can join!
Feb. 7:
Mindful Coloring Class
Need a break from your hectic life? Come join us for an hour of soothing mindful coloring!  Sip a cup of herbal tea and do some meditative art!


When:   Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Time:     7 pm -- 8 pm

Where:  John Murray Room

RSVP with Kavita at

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Feb. 10:
RE Fun & Film
Saturday, February 10th from 2 pm - 5 pm in the Unity Room, featuring:
In a city of humanoid animals, a hustling theater impresario's attempt to save his theater with a singing competition becomes grander than he anticipates even as its finalists' find that their lives will never be the same.


This will be a fun afternoon for families and friends! We will begin at 2 pm with active games in Fellowship Hall. Then we will transform the Unity Room into a movie theater. We want everyone to be comfy and cozy so bring blankets, pillows or sleeping bags! 


We are also encouraging everyone to bring friends. The more the merrier! If you could provide a snack to share and a donation for our Food Pantry, it would be greatly appreciated. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Feb. 11:

 Waking Up White Book Discussion Group
  Sunday, February 11th following Worship

  11:45 am in the John Murray Room


  Our next book discussion group about white privilege will be held
  on Sunday, February 11th 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 pp. 206 - 241. 


  In January, we showed the short film "White Privilege 101:
  Getting into the Conversation." If you would like to see this excellent film, click

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Feb. 13:
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, February 13th at noon.

Look for us in the back room of Morin's, if you don't see us -- just ask!

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Feb 14:
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.
  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!
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Feb. 18:
Beat the Winter Cold...
Matt Meyer
Come join The Religious Services Committee
for a fun-filled Sunday morning service conducted by well
known General Assembly drummer and spiritual leader
Matt Meyer followed by an exciting Beach themed coffee hour! Bet you can feel the heat already!! 
We look forward to seeing you there!!!

The Religious Services Committee

Feb. 25 & Mar. 7:
New Member Orientation Class!

Are you interested in joining Murray Church? Come learn more about Unitarian Universalism, about Murray Church, and about the benefits of belonging to this faith community.


Part 1 of our new member orientation classes will be held on Sunday, February 25th from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm in the John Murray Room following worship. A light lunch will be provided.  


Part 2 will be held on Wednesday, March 7th at 7:00 pm in the John Murray Room.


Please let Rev. Gretchen or LaChelle know if you are interested in participating and joining, 713-508-222-0505 or


Childcare can be arranged by contacting Kavita Vansant at by no later than February 18th.

This is a welcoming and affirming congregation, with membership open to all!
Feb. 26:
Central Congregational Church &

Murray UU Church Blood Drive

Monday, February 26th, 2018

in Fellowship Hall at Murray Church

1 pm -- 6 pm

To schedule an appointment please call 1-800-RED-CROSS

or visit:  

and enter sponsor code:  MurrayUUC


Help save a life by giving the gift of life! You can read about the blood giving process on the Red Cross website: If you are a regular blood donor, please check your eligibility schedule and plan to be with us on that date. If you have not given blood before, please review the details on the Red Cross website and determine if you are eligible. Please tell your other family members, friends and neighbors and invite them as well. We recruit donors in advance and help with scheduling their appointments. 

For more information, 
please contact Jim Richardi at 

if you need any help or advice with the process. 

Lost & Found

Are you missing your glasses? Did you put down your water bottle and can't seem to remember where? Did you drop a glove somewhere? Did you lose your watch?

Please check the church office or the basket in the hallway where the choir robes are for a collection of lost & found items.

Feb. 24:
Next Food 'n' Friends

Soup Kitchen

Murray hosts the next Food 'n' Friends Soup Kitchen 

on Saturday, February 24th, 2018 from 8 am --12:30 pm.
continue...Your Reading List (continued)

Reading has the power to inform and transform our lives. What are the significant books -- the important stories, or the most beautiful writing -- that have influenced your life?  If you had to pick your top five favorites, could you do it? What books would you choose?  I'm going to give myself the delicious assignment to think about that challenge.  Perhaps I'll start by narrowing it down to a Top 10 list of favorite books, and see if there are any priorities that jump to the top of the list...


What's on your reading pile right now? Or, if you don't have a current stack of books or a backlog on your reading device, is there a book or author you've always meant to get around to reading? I understand how life can be too fast paced, too busy, with too many family demands to enjoy a good book. Yet in this fast paced information age, we need downtime, time for quiet contemplation now more than ever before. I encourage you to consider turning off the television, or silencing your digital devices from time to time. I invite you to become intentional about making the space for a good read.  Your life will be all the richer, and your mind and spirit will be all the more nourished for the experience.


I turn to this meditative exercise by David Kundtz: Imagine yourself with one of your favorite books, seated in a favorite chair, the book or digital notepad resting in your hands, as you stare into space in contemplation of something the writer has just suggested to you, and which you are now following in your own reverie... Where is your imagination taking you?  


Come join us this Sunday as we explore how digital devices have begun to dominate our lives, taking over and setting the pace of our lies, and in some ways, and have begun to alter the ways we react to the world emotionally, mentally and physically. How might we set some healthier limits around the presence and use of these tools in our lives, so they do not dominate our life landscape, or the landscape of our children, youth and teens? See you in church on this upcoming Super Bowl Sunday! Go Patriots!!!!


Bright blessings,
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.