Rev. Gretchen Weis
It was about a year ago when our denomination headquarters erupted amid accusations of racist hiring practices, as yet again, a white male minister was hired for a key leadership position over equally qualified people of color. Within weeks, the UUA president, chief operating officer and congregational life director all resigned. Murray member Lucia Santini Field serves on the national board of the UUA and has had a front row seat this past year to the angry confrontations, key learnings and painful transformation evolving from this controversy. Lucia will share her story with us. In addition, Murray members Shelley Stark and Louis Jackson will share their heartfelt concerns about why Murray Church remains a predominantly white congregation and what we might all do to help that change. We also welcome new members this Sunday, as well.
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"Keepers of the Flame"
Rev. Gretchen Weis
This is a healthy, thriving congregation, making a positive difference in people's lives, and in the life of our larger community. It's Stewardship Sunday, where members and friends are asked to pledge their financial support for the 2018-2019 church year ahead. This year's theme is "Lighting Our Way," as together, we help to create the larger burning light of religious freedom, of personal truth and moral values, of life-altering acceptance and loving kindness, and of a hope that heals and renews. Our church receives no outside financial help. We are supported solely through the generosity of our members and friends. As we continue to attract new families and our children's program continues to grow, we invite all to give generously to not only the church we are today, but the church we are becoming. Can we count on you to be a Keeper of the Flame?
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
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Murray Church Office
FROM OUR MINISTER
Painful, but Sacred Crucial
by Rev. Gretchen Weis
White supremacy. Most white Americans hear that term and naturally think of the Klu Klux Klan. It's about neo-Nazi's -- about those right wing nationalists who marched at Charlottesville last year -- white supremacy doesn't have anything to do with us.
Yet, white supremacy does have something to do with all of us. We are invited into a richer, essential conversation, if we are to see how the thread of unconscious (and sometimes conscious) bias, the false belief that white people are better than people of color, is woven throughout the fabric of American life. All of us, no matter what our racial or ethnic heritage, can't help but be impacted by a bias that favors one race at the expense of all others. A bias that creates prejudice and discriminatory storylines, such as the white person is the better qualified job candidate, the black person is more likely to shoplift in the store, or this person of color might just be up to no good, so is pulled over by the police officer.
In truth, systemic racism harms us all. If we are to build the world we dream of, build the beloved community that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of ALL people, it is up to all of us to dismantle systemic racism wherever we find it. This is the most important work of our lifetime.
And, yes, this is difficult, painful work. It calls on those of us who identify as white to engage in painful reflection to uncover some of our own unconscious assumptions and prejudices. We are asked to recognize our own unearned privilege. There will be times those of us who identify as white will be profoundly uncomfortable in our learnings, and as we are called to bear witness to the pain of others. We are called to stop talking, stop trying to jump in and fix, as we listen to others' experiences. We are invited to really hear voices from the margins, and not dismiss the truth of another's experience just because the same experience has never happened to us. We must learn to step back and be allies in this struggle, to let people of color take the lead in the work of justice and healing.
Unfortunately, Americans have a short attention span. Landmark civil right laws were passed more than 50 years ago, and a lot of folks sat back and felt that the problem of racism had been solved. The national election of our first multi-racial President who identified as a black man, had some sitting back and celebrating that racism had officially come to an end. Yet the threads of unconscious bias remained fully in place, despite any legislative gains, even as socio-economic segregation has created new geographic hurdles to better race relations in our country.
Short attention spans won't get the systems dismantled and rebuilt. Anti-racism work requires those of us who identify as white to stick to it, despite discomfort, despite pain, despite the fact that we will make mistakes and insult and hurt the feelings of our colleagues of color, despite of our best intentions. We must not run away from this fight, just because we become uncomfortable. Because, let's face it, white folks have the option to walk away -- to ignore racism and sit on the sidelines as if racism is someone else's problem, not ours. People of color certainly can't walk away. At school, at work, at the store, when engaging with society at large, or institutions, including, yes, church, people of color are asked to adapt to the norms and biases of dominant white culture every day.
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, March 10th -- Playgroup for our Nursery parents! From 10 am -- 11 am in the nursery.
Sunday, March 11th -- We will begin in the service and then head to class to finish our learning of World Religions. We will learn about Native American religions.
Youth Group (Grades 9 - 12):
Sunday, March 11th -- A Place of Wholeness with Monica Staaf and Sheila Jacobs. Topic will be: Reason. Class will start at 10 am.
|Mar. 15, 22, 29 & Apr. 5:
History of UU Classes
Thursday Nights at 6:30 pm - PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE
In March, Adult RE is presenting a four part lecture/discussion session of the History of Unitarian Universalism in the United States with an emphasis on how beliefs have changed.
March 15 - Session I Universalism to 1961
March 22 - Session II Unitarianism to 1961
March 29 - Session III UU from 1961 to present
April 5 - Session IV UU, what lies ahead?
Each session will be about one hour in length and will be a lecture followed by discussion. Each session is independent of each other. There is no sign up! Sessions will begin on Thursday, March 15th. All sessions will be on Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm in Harmony Hall.
Questions? Just ask Len Yutkins, call 508-226-3109.
|Calling All Bunnies!
RE is in need of donations for the annual children's egg hunt on Easter Sunday, April 1st. We are looking for small items that can fit into a plastic Easter egg. Examples include, but are not limited to, tattoos, Easter erasers, party favor toys, individually wrapped chocolates and candies, etc. Please drop off donations the RE office before or after services, or you can give them directly to Kavita Vansant.
Please have all donations in on or before Sunday March 25th.
Paper Towel & Toilet Paper
RE is in need of paper towel and toilet paper rolls for our
totem pole project! Please drop them off to Kavita's office
or the church office during posted hours. Thank you!
You're Invited to the RE Feedback & Planning Discussion
The RE Committee and Kavita, our DLRE will be hosting an informal gathering in the Woodland Room on March 18th at 11:15 am. We welcome you to join us and share
your feedback about your experience in RE and any hopes for the future. We'll see you there!
This Sunday's Dedicated Offering:
In conjunction with our Sunday Service, we will be taking a collection for Black Lives of Unitarian Universalists, also known as BLUU (pronounced "blue"). BLUU is a movement within the UUA to welcome and support the history, the perspectives, the voices, and the leadership of Black women and men in our denomination. With BLUU, we have a unique opportunity to transform past practices into new commitments - in harmony with our UU Principles - to collaboratively welcome membership and leadership that is more inclusive, just, and racially diverse.
The Dedicated Offering is our opportunity to weave together our values, our faith and our finances, with a challenge grant. If we raise $1750 or more, a $1 million challenge grant from UUs Julie and Brad Bradburd will match our gift to BLUU, dollar for dollar. Can we do it? Well, last month, we raised $1630 for United We Dream, and we recently raised over $2200 for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, so the $1750 challenge is within reach. This is a wonderful opportunity for Murray Church and for our Unitarian Universalist denomination.
Thank you for your contribution to BLUU.
If you choose to write a check, please make it out to Murray Church,
with BLUU on the memo line.
The Murray Church Social Concerns Committee
| Mar. 11:
Continuing the Crucial
Conversation about Race
Immediately following Worship at 11:30 am
in the John Murray Room
Shelley Stark, Louis Jackson and Lucia Field are sticking around
after worship to continue the crucial conversation around race that
began in this Sunday's worship service. All are invited to join them
this Sunday, along with our Waking Up White study team, to ask
questions and join your voice in the conversation. Please grab a
cup of coffee at coffee hour and head to the John Murray Room by
11:30 am, as we continue to learn, together.
In January, we showed the short film "White Privilege 101: Getting
into the Conversation." If you would like to see this
excellent film, click
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.
Murray Food Pantry
- Feminine Care Products
- Personal Care Items
Thank you for your continued support!
Murray Church Food Pantry Team
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, March 13th at noon.
Look for us in the back room of Morin's, if you don't see us -- just ask!
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, lease contact:
Food for Thought
"What Every Church Member Should
Know About Poverty"
Saturday, March 17th at 6pm
in the Unity Room
Co-sponsored by Social Concerns, Green Sanctuary and Food Pantry committees:
We'll discuss a YouTube video of speaker Dr. Ruby K Payne, a dynamic speaker and educator who developed the "Framework for Understanding Poverty."
We'll discuss myths and hidden rules of poverty and how these may apply to the communities we serve.
Potluck -- bring something to celebrate St. Patrick's Day if you'd like!
Sunday Book Group
"Ruthless River" discussion
has been rescheduled to Sunday March 18th
at 11:30 am in the John Murray Room.
All are welcome.
Stewardship Campaign Kick-Off
to fund the next church year.
This year's theme:
Lighting Our Way
All members and friends are invited to support our church with a financial pledge.
Think Spring! Easter is April 1st. If you are interested in putting a spring plant on the chancel table for Easter, please see Irene Yutkins. Plant choices are tulips, daffodils, lilies and hyacinths. Plants cost $16 each. Order have to be placed by March 19th. Please call Irene Yutkins at 508 226-3109 or see her at church.
For more information, click [HERE].
| ...Crucial Conversations (continued)
It has been about a year since the predominantly white leadership of our denomination headquarters in downtown Boston, the Unitarian Universalist Association, hired yet another white male minister for a key leadership role, even though there were equally qualified people of color who were in the running. Charges of long-standing racially biased hiring practices erupted, and the president, chief operating officer and congregational life director all resigned in the aftermath.
Here we are, one of the most progressive of all liberal faiths -- we who dream of building and realizing a more idealized, just way of being together in this world -- and, we, too, reflect the unconscious bias that white people are better than people of color. We see the harmful impact of white supremacy alive and at play in our own religious faith. In the racial imbalance of the large majority of white people who have been hired to lead our denomination at headquarters, and in the racial imbalances found in our predominantly white congregations.
If we are to throw stones at systemic racism, we have to look within at our own glass house. This Sunday, we will dive more deeply into this vital, painful conversation. Murray member Lucia Santini Field serves on the board of our national denomination, and has had a front row seat this past year as our association has had to learn from and correct biased hiring practices. She will share with us more about what she has learned from our colleagues of color at BLUU (Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism). In addition, Murray members Shelley Stark and Louis Jackson will invite us into a deeper understanding of the challenges of finding a spiritual home in a predominantly white congregation, and what we might all do to help change that.
Come be part of this vital conversation. Lucia, Shelley and Louis have all agreed to stay after the service and continue the conversation further after worship. All are invited to grab a cup of coffee and join them, as well as our core Waking Up White study group team, in the John Murray room starting at around 11:30 am.
If we are to live our values out loud in the world, all are invited to open ourselves to this life transforming work. Our own health, the health of our children and our children's children, the health of this church, of our faith, of our surrounding community, as well as the health of our nation, depends on it.
In love and faith,
|SNOW CANCELLATION INFORMATION
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:
CBSBoston.com, WHDH.com, WCVB.com
Cancellations will also be posted on our website and Facebook page:
Be sure to "Like" us to see updates in your news feed.