Murray Writers Circle
We join communities for many reasons: to share common interests or values, for mutual support and friendship, for spirituality and more. What does community mean to you and why are your communities important? Join us next Sunday as writers from the Murray community will share their original work about community.
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"Open To Possibility"
We can't get through life without losing sometimes. We might lose out on a new job opportunity or a promotion, an audition, or an important competition or life change. And then there is that painful loss of love, through misunderstanding and conflict, divorce, or perhaps the death of someone close. Yet it is often in the most painful of times, as we grieve what we have lost, that we find ourselves invited into the next chapter of our lives, invited to open ourselves to profound new possibilities.
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
No Rock Throwing in the Cathedral
of the World
While the people of First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans were worshipping last Sunday, someone threw a brick through one of their stained glass windows.
The incident happened less than 48 hours after the
sponsored a well-publicized town hall community meeting
about violence against transgendered people, after two
transgendered black women were found murdered in the past
few weeks. The community meeting had been well attended by advocacy groups, city leaders and representatives from the police department, to explore how the city might be more responsive to the needs of the transgendered community in the wake of the recent violence.
Fortunately, no one was injured on Sunday morning by the brick or the broken glass. The stained glass window was in Memorial Hall, while people were worshipping in the sanctuary.
The police are characterizing it as vandalism for now, not a hate crime. Without the perpetrator, no one can draw an absolute direct link between either the church's long-standing support of the LGBT community, or the town hall meeting hosted there on Friday and the brick throwing vandalism on Sunday morning. Yet my colleague and friend, Rev. Paul Beedle, minister at First U in New Orleans, assured the public that the brick throwing incident will not deter the congregation from their mission of inclusiveness and ongoing support for all people in the community, including the transgendered community.
Many ministers have reached out to Paul over the past week, to see what help the congregation might need in the wake of the incident. Right now, the damage is being assessed, to determine the scope and cost of repairs. The window is part of a stained glass series in Memorial Hall that tells the story of the church's recovery after Hurricane Katrina. The windows were designed by a member of the UU Church in Arlington, Virginia, who sent a team of people to New Orleans following the hurricane to help First UU dig out and rebuild in the wake of the storm. Therefore, the window has huge emotional meaning to the people of the New Orleans congregation. I will keep you posted, if there is something we might be able to do to help them get their window repaired and restored.
In the meantime, I grieve for the person or persons who perpetrated this incident. I struggle to understand what hate, what fear might have motivated someone to strike out against a people of faith, a congregation working to bring members of the larger community together to encourage dialogue and to build bridges of compassion and understanding in a quest to end a cycle of violence. I am as bewildered and heartbroken by the people who perpetrated this, as I am by those who vandalized synagogues and cemeteries and mosques in other parts of the country in recent weeks.
I pray that love and compassion might break through whatever hate and fear might be fogging the hearts and minds of those who strike back against the work of love and justice in this world. One of my wishes is that they catch the brick thrower, and perhaps require the person or persons to do hands-on community work with a local transgendered advocacy group as a condition of their sentence. Perhaps there might be an opportunity to change a heart and mind for the better through a restorative justice model of service that requires direct relationship building with those who have been harmed.
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.
Sunday, March 19th - We will begin in the service and then head to our classrooms.
Friday, March 17th - UUnited in Taunton from 7 pm -- 9 pm. Please let Kavita know if your youth would like to attend.
Sunday, March 19th - We will start at 10 am in the Purple Chat Room. Our discussion on stress and anxiety continues with a documentary called "The Road Back."
Thursday, March 16th - Soul Matters group 7:15 pm -- 9 pm in the John Murray Room.
Saturday, March 25th - Potluck dinner & a movie discussion in the Unity Room
|Calling All Bunnies!
RE is in need of donations for the annual children's egg hunt on Easter Sunday, April 16th. 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 etc. Many of these items can be found in bulk at the Dollar Store or Target.
Donations can be dropped off in the RE office before or after services, or you can give them directly to Kavita Vansant or Vanessa Wehmeyer. Please have all donations in on or before Sunday, April 2nd.
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Baby Dedication: The congregation welcomed and blessed a new little one last Sunday. Proud parents Michelle & Luis, grandmother and big sister & brother share in joy.
An Invitation to Growth:
Building our Churches Through Reaching Out
The Five Points Cluster congregations (Canton, Foxboro, Easton, Sharon, and Stoughton) are hosting this workshop. Other area congregations are welcome to attend this free workshop, funded by a grant from the Ballou Channing District.
First Parish Unitarian Universalist-Canton
Saturday, March 18th, 2017
9:00 am -- 1:30 pm
Located at 1508 Washington Street in Canton, MA 02021
For online registration click [HERE]
Deadling for registration is Saturday, March 11th.
Preregistration for childcare is required.
Multi-Faith Project Peacework
Murray Church ladies are welcome to join a new initiative started between crochet /knitting circles and refugee women.
Everyone will crochet/knit squares that will be put together to form a peace blanket for our newly resettled neighbors to use.
When: Saturday, March 18th at 2:00 pm
Where: Quaker Meetinghouse
located at 99 Morris Avenue, Providence, RI
Please bring a vegetarian snack to share. Also, please note that no alcohol can be used in the preparation of the snack.
After the Women's March, Where Are We Going from Here?
An opportunity for people who want to stand up for human rights to talk over coffee. Don't be put off by the byline. Youth and men are welcome!
This Sunday, March 19th at 11:30 am
in Harmony Hall.
Image from the odyssey online.com
FREE Green Reel Film Series
at Boyden Library
Sunday, March 19th at 2 pm
HELP NEEDED to Unload Food Delivery Trucks
We receive 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. If anybody can be available on those days for about 2 hours, 10:45 am -- 12:30 pm, we could use your help.
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 at the mentioned times who would like a light workout, please contact: Roger Boucher at 508-838-8249, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Potluck Supper for the Peace Walkers
6:00 pm in Fellowship Hall
Photo from newenglandpagoda.org
If you're new to Murray Church you may not have heard the of the Walk. Buddhist monks and friends of the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett, MA
(the Peace Walkers) started "the Walk" in the spring following 9/11, taking their messages of peace, hope, disarmament to Washington, DC. On Thursday, March 23rd, Murray Church will again welcome the Peace Walkers with a potluck supper at 6:00 pm in Fellowship Hall, to which everyone is invited. At 7:00 pm they'll give a presentation in Harmony Hall about why they walk. The focus of this year's Walk is sanctuary for immigrants and demilitarization. To open your home to a walker or two for the night, please contact the church office at email@example.com or call 508-222-0505. Additional information about the walk is posted on the large bulletin board outside the Sanctuary and at
| Mar. 25:
Our Next Potluck Dinner &
A Movie Night featuring
Our reservation to receive the "Fences" dvd in time came through!
Come join us from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm on Saturday, March 25th in the Unity Room for our next potluck dinner and a movie discussion night. Please bring a dish to share. We'll watch Fences. The story of Troy Maxson, a mid-century Pittsburgh sanitation worker who once dreamed of a baseball career, but was too old when the major leagues began admitting black players. He tries to be a good husband and father, but his lost dream of glory eats at him, and causes him to make a decision that threatens to tear his family apart.
Contact the office to reserve childcare by March 17th. We must have a minimum reservation total of three children to provide babysitting.
Donations for the Clara Barton Rummage Sale
The Clara Barton Guild women's group needs your gently used clothing, shoes, jewelry, toys, books and working household items for our Spring Rummage Sale to be held on Friday, April 7th and Saturday, April 8th, both days from 9 am -- 1 pm. Please bring your items to Fellowship Hall starting March 26th, labelled for Clara Barton. If you need help bringing items to church, please contact Bev Hall at 508-222-9324.
PLEASE NOTE: We appreciate receiving all donations by Wednesday, April 5th, so we have time to sort and display. Proceeds from the Rummage Sale help to support Murray Church and other charitable organizations.
|MURRAY FOOD PANTRY DONATIONS NEEDED...
- Personal Care Items, i.e., shampoo, soap, deodorant, lotion, etc.
- Dental Care Items, i.e., toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash.
- Feminine Care Products
All donations are greatly appreciated, but, our clients are particularly grateful for the personal care items.
Thank you for your continued support!
Bill, Bruce, Sue & Barbara
Murray Church Food Pantry Team
Murray Church Food Pantry Needs Volunteers
We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated regular and substitute volunteers but we could use more help. Our food pantry is open every Monday and Thursday from 9:30 am -- 11:30 am, except for the holidays we're closed
and when school is cancelled due to snow. Volunteer arrival and departure times vary depending on how busy we are and what needs to be done but, in general, are 15 minutes before opening and 10 minutes after closing. We're also looking for volunteers to fill in occasional volunteer schedule gaps and last minute absences.
If you'd like to spend a shift at the food pantry to receive an orientation to volunteering or to help you decide if this is something you would like to do, please contact Barbara Clark at 508-222-6164, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We Stepped Up for Health
and a Better Life in
In our February Dedicated Offering, we raised $821.75 to provide clean water and sanitation to those living in villages in Burkina Faso.
Briefly, this offers village residents:
- Clean water -- for a more healthy life, and it may save life itself
- Local water frees women and children from a 3+ mile walk each day,
to gather water. This freedom opens the door to pursue education - something that is often deprived of young women - and much more.
- Sanitation further improves health, and opportunity
Thank you for your generosity.
Joining together, our donation is a life-changer.
Image from Living Water International..
The Social Concerns Committee
We need volunteers to sign up and host coffee hour after services each Sunday. Hosts are needed for the following dates:
April 16th -- June 18th
Step-by-step instructions and a friendly hands-on training
and/or buddies are all
available. Goodies may be bought or baked. Let's keep Murray members and friends caffeinated and in the happy zone after the Sunday service.
Do you like Murray Church coffee hour?
We are looking to expand the coordination team for next year. Please contact
Sheila Jacobs to learn more about this opportunity to serve and have more fun at Murray Church! Sheila will be stepping aside as the lead coffee coordinator as of June 19th. We are seeking additional volunteers to support the coffee hour production. We have a small team discussing how to organize this effort in the fall. Feel free to share your suggestions with Sheila and Barbara Clark.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
|Emergency Responders - Please Join Our Team!
An ad hoc "Safety Task Force" has been established to review and evaluate the church's emergency response plan, physical building and operations from a safety standpoint. As part of the process, the task force is updating the list of emergency first responders. Do you have professional first responder training (doctor, nurse, firefighter, EMT, police officer, etc) or have you been certified in CPR or first aid? If you do, and are willing to be a MUUC first responder, please contact the church office at email@example.com
, or email Jim Richardi
, or Heidi Ferreira
We also welcome persons who may not have formal training but would be interested and able to assist in an emergency. We'll be compiling the information and communicating to the congregation about who is prepared to help in an emergency.
Thank you for your help in this important effort!
Sunday Book Group
On Sunday, April 2nd,
we will discuss the novel:
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family
and Culture in Crisis
by J.D. Vance
From a former Marine and Yale Law School Graduate, a poignant account of growing up in a
poor Appalachian town, that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America's white
working class. Part memoir, part historical and social
analysis, J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy is a fascinating
consideration of class, culture, and the American
Vance's grandparents were "dirt poor and in love." They got married and moved north from Kentucky to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. Their grandchild (the author) graduated from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving upward mobility for their family. But Vance cautions that is only the short version. The slightly longer version is that his grandparents, aunt, uncle, and mother struggled to varying degrees with the demands of their new middle class life and they, and Vance himself, still carry around the demons of their chaotic family history.
Delving into his own personal story and drawing on a wide array of sociological studies, Vance takes us deep into working class life in the Appalachian region. This demographic of our country has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, and Vance provides a searching and clear-eyed attempt to understand when and how "hillbillies" lost faith in any hope of upward mobility, and in opportunities to come.
At times funny, disturbing, and deeply moving, this is a family history that is also a troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large portion of this country.
THE SUNDAY BOOK GROUP typically meets the first Sunday of the month at 11:30 am in the John Murray Room. All are welcome. Please feel free to bring a bagged lunch. The Mission of the Book Group is for 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 accessibility.
Order Easter Plants Now
Think Spring! Easter is April 16th. If you are interested in putting a spring plant on the chancel table for Easter, please contact Irene Yutkins at 508 226-3109 or see her at church. Plant choices are tulips, daffodils, lilies, and hyacinths. The cost of each plant is $16.
Orders will be placed by April 3rd.
Clara Barton Guild Luncheon Meeting
Our next luncheon meeting is
Monday, April 3rd, at 11:45 am
in the John Murray Room.
All interested women are welcome to join us for food and fellowship. Bring your own sandwich or salad. Beverages and dessert are provided by our hostess committee.
Apr. 7th & 8th:
APRIL 7th & 8th, 2017
in Fellowship Hall
|Apr. 8:The Religious Education Committee is hosting an all church Potluck and Game Night! Bring a dish and a fun game to share with everyone! Together as a community we will eat, laugh and play!
Saturday, April 8
from 5 pm -- 7 pm in Fellowship Hall.
Please signup during Coffee Hour on Sunday, March 19th & 26th. Or you can email Kavita at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
Awaken! New England
Gather this spring in Woburn, Massachusetts with Unitarian Universalists from across New England to celebrate our faith. Come for inspired worship, engaged learning, community singing, a UUA Presidential Candidates Forum, regional workshops, fellowship and fun. Awaken your spirit!
Friday, April 21, 2017 -- Saturday, April 22, 2017
- Friday Night Candidate Forum is FREE! -
Hilton Boston/Woburn Hotel located at 2 Forbes Road, Woburn, MA 01801
NOTE: Woburn is close enough to us that we can carpool each day --
no overnight hotel required.
Scholarships available through Murray Deacons & Deaconesses.
For Murray scholarship information, please contact
Donna Cooke at email@example.com.
Click Here to
Please save the date Saturday April 22, 2017
All Church Property Support Party Saturday
(formally Cleanup Sunday)
8:30 am to 12 noon
Coffee and lunch will be provided
It would be hard to miss the changes in the church as you walk to coffee Sunday mornings. As much as we have done, there are a lot of small but important items not quite completed throughout the church. When taken care of, that can make a noticeable difference. Even if you don't normally work on property projects, we could really use your help on this day. Most projects do not require experience or youth. A complete list will be available early April. All the supplies will be already in kits for you. Coffee and lunch will, of course, be provided.
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
We could really use you help.
I hope you can make it, besides it is going to be a lot of fun and fellowship.
|Save the Date:
Saturday, April 29th
We hope you attend
Tickets on sale at coffee hour.
It's a lot of fun to participate in an auction. People bidding on the items create excitement to build during the event. Will I win or not? Invite your family and friends to join you at the auction. Mark the date on your calendar. April 29th Line up a babysitter if needed or give us a call by April 16th and we will have child care for you bid high and bid often. A good time will be had by all.
Last year we had such a wonderful time, won some great items AND raised over $11,000 for our church included Sunday School furniture for our children☺
You could have bid on and won a weekend cottage on the Cape, or your very own "up front" parking spot for church services, a special choice of a sermon topic by Rev. Gretchen. Gourmet meals, lots and lots of other great stuff. But we need you to participate.
A fully catered buffet is planned. Do you have any talents or treasures that you would like to donate? To check out the auction catalog from last year click [HERE]. Donation forms will also be available at coffee hour. The catalog will be updated weekly as we receive new donations.
If you have an idea but are not sure how to price or describe it, we can help!
One a year in late June, UUs from around the globe gather and meet to attend workshops, discuss the essential issues of the day and conduct the official business of the organization. This is a family friendly event, with activities for children as well as teens. In fact, teens from throughout the country gather to attend their own youth convention as part of General Assembly (GA). Our own high school senior Kenny Laferriere has attended the GA youth group in
This year, GA will be held in New Orleans. If you have never been to General Assembly, or never been to New Orleans, please consider adding this to your list of upcoming trips in 2017! Please contact Rev. Gretchen if you are interested in being part of the Murray Church delegation. If you need scholarship help, please contact the office at 508-222-0505 or firstname.lastname@example.org
, and we can get you connected to the Deacons and Deaconesses' scholarship assistance program.
| No Rock Throwing... (continued)
I am grateful that no one in the New Orleans church was physically hurt by the attack. And I am proud of the New Orleans congregation, for their community advocacy work. For their courage to continue to stand publicly on the side of love against whatever ignorance, fear and hate hurled that brick through their beloved faith home.
Love is stronger than hate or fear. I pray for our continued wellbeing, safety and courage for the many ways our church helps to build bridges of compassion, hope and understanding within our own community. Even in these highly divisive times, I am hopeful that our work is helping to change hearts and minds in meaningful ways. Even as we know that this work is slow going. And we will experience, hate, fear, ignorance and push-back along the journey.
The brick-throwing incident of New Orleans this week reminds me of a powerful metaphor created by Rev. Forrest Church, one of the thought leaders of our faith movement. I have adapted his words below:
Imagine yourself inside a vast cathedral. Take a look about you. Contemplate the mystery and contemplate with awe. This cathedral is as ancient as humankind, its cornerstone the first altar, marked with the tincture of blood and blessed by tears. Throughout human history, one generation after another has labored lovingly, sometimes fearfully, crafting memorials and consecrating shrines.
Welcome to the Cathedral of the World. Above all else, contemplate the windows. In the Cathedral of the World there are windows beyond number, some long forgotten, covered with many patinas of dust, others revered by millions, the most sacred of shrines. Each in its own way is beautiful. Some are abstract, others representational; some dark and meditative, others bright and dazzling. Each tells a story about the creation of the world, the meaning of history, the purpose of life, the nature of humankind, the mystery of death. The windows of the cathedral are where the light shines through.
As with all extended metaphors for meaning, this one is imperfect. The Light of God (or Truth or Being Itself, call it what you will) shines not only upon us, but out from within us as well. Together with the windows, we are part of the Cathedral, not apart from it. Together we comprise an interdependent web of being. The Cathedral is constructed out of star stuff, and so are we. We are that part -- that known part -- of creation that contemplates itself, part of the poem that we ponder.
A twenty-first-century theology based on the concept of one Light and many windows offers to its adherents both breadth and focus. It is a way of honoring many different religious approaches. The Cathedral of the World rejects the claims of absolutists and fundamentalists who suggest the Light shines through their window alone. And skeptics may see the huge variety of windows, representing so many different expressions of faith and conclude all is folly, there is no Light. Yet the windows are not the Light. They are where the Light shines through. We shall never see the Light directly, only as refracted through the windows of the Cathedral.
I humbly stand in the Cathedral of the World trembling with awe. And there is only one rule in this sacred space, this holiest of holies upon which I stand: No rock throwing in the Cathedral.
No rock throwing, indeed. Small, frightened minds throw rocks. Larger lives grounded in loving kindness, compassion and respect for all peoples build expressions of faith in the Cathedral of our world. Let us continue to be about the all-important life-changing work of building multi-faith actions that allow the Light of our shared love, truth and justice to shine through!
Blessings for your love and courage,
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 Facebook page:
Be sure to "Like" us to see updates in your news feed.