"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?
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"Sneaking into Jerusalem by the Back Door"
Rev. Gretchen Weis
It's Palm Sunday, which celebrates Jesus' entry into Jerusalem at the start of the Passover Celebration week - the final week of his life. Why did he choose to enter Jerusalem by a back gate, riding on a donkey? And why did his followers salute him with palm leaves? What statement was he trying to make, mocking the might and power of the Roman Empire?
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
NOTE: Last Sunday several Murray members, including Lucia Santini-Field, Shelley Stark and Louis Jackson led a powerful, meaningful discussion about racism. A talk back session following worship was well attended, as concerned Murray folks continued this vital conversation, including raising a Black Lives Manner banner up here at Murray Church.
Rev. Gretchen asked Shelley and Louis to share their portion of the service in this week's
newsletter, especially for those who were not able to attend last Sunday's service.
Our Lives Matter
by Shelley Stark & Louis Jackson
Shelley: Imagine you move to a neighborhood. In your new neighborhood there is only one church that espouses your religious values. That church is black: 90% of its congregants
are African American. Do you go in?
You see, we are Unitarian Universalists, who believe in the importance of taking a stand. That is why today we are standing here with you.
Let's say you do go in and are immediately welcomed by many of the congregants. Some look at you askew. Some wonder why you came. Do you stay?
You decide you want to join that church community because it feels right. If it feels so right to you, perhaps it will feel right to others like you. You tell other members of the church that you want to do things to invite in more people like you who would also want to be a part of the community. How do the church members react? Do they work with you to bring in more like you?
What if their church's mission was to value all people, to see people as equals - none with more validity than another? By their own design, would they be compelled to live their faith and welcome you and others like you?
To borrow and adapt from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dream Speech: When the architects of our faith wrote our magnificent seven principles, they signed a promissory note to which every Unitarian Universalist was to fall heir. This note promised the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.
We are here to collect on those values and promises.
January 2017 was a turning point for Louis and me and for our family. For our church and for our nation. The ugliest part of who we were as a community was marshalled into the foreground in ways we had not seen since the civil rights movement. People were taking to the streets again in protest. Black men, black boys and black women and girls were visibly brutalized by white police. Racists were coming out in full force to claim and re-establish their white supremacy.
March 2017 was also a turning point in our church community. Our Unitarian Universalist Association, faced with the opportunity to appoint a person of color to diversify its leadership, chose to hire a white candidate. Imagine now, how Louis and I felt. Every day we chose to be Unitarian Universalists. We can't choose to be African Americans, that's just who we are.
Though every day we are proud to be.
Well, we decided we could no longer passively participate in this congregation. We could no longer stand on the side-line of love. We needed to raise our voices where it counted. So, we approached Reverend Gretchen who, in turn, had us bring our concerns and questioning to the Murray Board.
In these conversations we asked why, unlike other UU churches, Murray had not raised a banner announcing that Black Lives Matter while many of our sister churches did so proudly. We questioned how our UUA president was removed for claims of racism and that we were not exploring that further in our discussions at Murray. And we asked ourselves, what are we going to do about this?
Louis: My family and I came to this church in 2006. We came to be part of the Murray Church community. A community that stands for love and activism. At Murray Church, we don't stand still, though. We evolve. And we have grown with the church. But has this church grown with us?
All change can be challenging. Hopefully, you change for the better. But sometimes, change needs a kick-start.
Mar. 18: THIS SUNDAY!
Join Us for 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!
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, March 18th -- Spirit Group about Self Care. We will begin in the service and then head to the Unity Room for Yoga! Please wear comfortable clothing and easy to remove shoes. Feel free to bring a towel or mat.
Youth Group (Grades 9 - 12):
Friday, March 16th
-- UUnited in Taunton from 7 pm -- 9 pm.
Sunday, March 18th -- We will start in the Purple Chat Room at 10 am, cook breakfast together, do some activities and plan for next year's Youth Group.
|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 ~ TONIGHT
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 -- DONATIONS NEEDED!
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 at 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.
|Easter Egg Hunt
After the Easter Sunday service (April 1st), during Coffee Hour, we will have the Easter Egg Hunt! Nursery and Kindergarten children will hunt in the Children's Garden, while First through Sixth grade will have the Egg Hunt in the back yard of the church. All children please meet in the Unity Room to begin the hunt. Please bring your own basket or bag for collecting the eggs.
Parents of Nursery and Kindergarten children
must accompany their child outside.
Native American Religion
Our children learned about the Native American religion -- their way of life and their beliefs in the interdependent web of life.
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!
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
Mar. 17: DINNER & MOVIE
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!
There will be a work session this Saturday afternoon, starting at 1 pm. Work will mainly be fixing up the rental area, although there are a lot of side tasks still to be completed. Email Tom Stuart at email@example.com
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, or just show up.
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.
Mar. 18: THIS SUNDAY!
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.
Mar. 19: LAST CHANCE TO ORDER!
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. Orders 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].
Murray Hosts Food & Friends Soup Kitchen
Murray hosts the Food & 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
For more information, please contact Stephanie Paquette at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (call or text) 401-603-8386.
Feel free to share this info with anyone who might be interested in helping out!
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:
Pop-Up Night Out
The Welcoming Committee invites you to join us for a Pop-Up Night Out at Sake Steakhouse
on Friday, March 30th, at 6:30 pm. No reservations required. Children are welcome.
Sake Steakhouse is located at 280 School Street in Mansfield at Mansfield Crossing.
Please RSVP to Sandy Stuart at 508-695-1064 or email@example.com
if you plan to attend by Monday, March 26th, so that we can give the restaurant a headcount.
| Our Lives... (continued)
When I was younger, I belonged to a black Congregational church in Brockton. From the very beginning, I felt it was not for me. At age 14, I started to question the lessons being taught in that church. The questions I asked, had no answers. When I realized this, I stopped attending. Since then, I searched for something better. I feel I found that something better when I found Unitarian Universalism. When I came to Murray, right away I felt an embrace and kinship of ideas. And free flowing thought. But something was missing - a lack of diversity.
In love and faith,
In the years since my family and I have attended, Murray has made real progress - we have hired a more diverse staff, deepened the cultural aspects of our education program, sounded the alarm against racial injustice through activism. But we can do more.
When we march, when we stand strong, when we stand up, when we are present in the community -people see us as Unitarian Universalists. When they pass by our church, they see our rainbow flag and know we are a welcoming community. When they read the marquis, they know we explore the issues that challenge us and help us grow. But do they know we embrace diversity as a whole, completely?
We need to raise a banner. Right out in front of this church. A banner that says to all passers-by - we welcome you. A banner that says, you matter. A banner that reads, Black Lives Matter.
Some may see the sign and feel compelled to tear it down. All lives matter, they may say. But if that were so, in Attleboro or in Washington, DC, we would not be standing here before you. If love is the spirit of this church, and service its law, then let us, together, accept this challenge. Thank you.
Rev. Gretchen: Louis and Shelley have graciously agreed to head up a task force to explore raising a Black Lives Matter banner here at Murray. Any and all are invited to be part of the task force, and all will be invited to express their feelings pro and con in this matter. Stay tuned for more details as we set the date for our first task force meeting, where the team will define the timeline and process for this work.
Murray Church is a thriving, vital congregation. Please plan to join us this Sunday, as we explore the exciting growth of our congregation, with the addition of new families with young children. It is our annual Stewardship Sunday, where members and friends will be given the opportunity to pledge their ongoing financial support for this congregation for the church year ahead in 2018-2019.
Here's to the church we are today, and the church we are becoming! Even as we grow, let's make sure we preserve the best of who we are and what we value!
|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.