Murray Church Notes

March 19, 2020

Volume 8,  Issue 32

In this Issue:


Courage is Also Contageous

Rev. Gretchen Weis

OK, let’s all take a deep breath together.   

“Normal” life, as we have known it, is now on hold, completely disrupted for the unforeseeable future.  Schools, workplaces, and most public spaces are shut down, forcing most of us to limit our daily activities to our own homes.   And, for many of us, that means multiple generations now all at home together under one roof – i.e. parents who are supposed to be working from home at the same time children may be underfoot, bored, many needing supervision and structure.

For now, we are challenged to find patience, kindness, and ways to laugh in the face of so much overwhelming change.  I want to express my deep gratitude for the many ways the Executive Board, staff and other lay leadership have stepped in and stepped up to respond to the rapidly changing events of the past few weeks.  This truly is a community of deep caring and commitment.  We are in this for the long haul.  And, we will get through this, together. 

Even as we distance ourselves from one another physically, we still need emotional closeness and support from one another.  We will be holding a virtual online worship this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. using Zoom.  Please scroll down for details and instructions on how to log on to Zoom and join in at 9:45 am.

We’ve got a lot of updates for all things Murray, even as we experiment with creative ways to stay connected across our physical distances.  We have divided all of these updates into smaller, easier to search newsletter stories so people can access the information most important to them.

Please take good care of yourselves in the days and weeks ahead.  At a time of so much uncertainty and fear it’s good to remember that courage can also be contagious.  Courage can spread rapidly from person to person to inspire and keep one another strengthened and resilient for whatever comes next.  I close this introductory column with some familiar – and amazingly timely and appropriate -- words of comfort from my colleague and friend Wayne Arnason, who reminds us:
Take courage friends.
The way is often hard,
The path is never clear,
And the stakes are very high.
Take courage.
For deep down,
There is another truth:
You are not alone.
Remember, you are not alone.  Safe social distancing practices don’t have to mean social isolation.  Call people, email, reach out to stay connected.  Murray has created Call & Connect Circles so that everyone in the greater Murray family should receive a check in phone call at least once a week, beginning this week.  If you are feeling lonely and isolated, please call Rev. Gretchen, to sign up to help make some of these Call & Connect phone calls to others.

With deep, abiding love and faith,

Rev. Gretchen

 Online Worship Beginning THIS Sunday at 10 a.m.

All will be invited to gather together over the Internet for Sunday worship. We will be using Zoom, per the recommendation of the UU Ministers Association. Let’s figure out, together, how to gather, inspire, strengthen and nurture one another in virtual community.  Please plan to log on to this link by 9:45 a.m. Sunday morning, to give us all plenty of time to learn, and adjust to the new technology.  

Here are directions for virtual Sunday Service.This link will take you to a slide show with all the directions for setting up Zoom on your computer or other mobile device in time for the service: 
Religious Education Updates for Week of March 22, 2020

For our families: Here are some links to articles on how to talk to your child about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to help reduce anxiety in these anxious times. 

I will also be sending out resources and ideas for things to do at home with your children. If you have any ideas to share please email them to me. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me should you need to talk. 

How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus

How to Stop Feeling Anxious Right Now

How to Talk to Your Kids About the COVID-19 Outbreak

Talking to Teens and Tweens About Coronavirus  

Kids Bored? RE Can Help!

Story Time on Facebook  
Our very own Laura Gustafson is providing story time every evening on Facebook at 6:30 pm (thanks Laura!).  Here is last night’s story.  

National Geographic Video          Watch the Video - Take the Quiz
Muffin Tin Coin Counting Activity
This coin counting activity would make a fabulous math center! To set up it up, simply write amounts of money on paper cupcake liners with a marker. Then set out some coins. That’s it! The photo below shows what I set up for my first grader. I also made a muffin tin for Janie (age 4) with smaller amounts. I gave her only pennies for counting, and it was perfect.

What made this coin counting activity so effective is that Jonathan could fill the muffin cups on his own. When he was finished, he brought the muffin tin to me to check. The muffin tin contained the coins nicely – no knocking down piles of coins on the table, etc. I could easily see what he had done!

Photos and text from
Chai & Chat With Kavita:                      
Virtual Gathering for Parents

(Zoom links will also be sent via email from Kavita).  Come join Kavita and let’s connect, converse and exchange ideas!  

Parents of children:
1.    Grades Pre-K-1- Zoom gathering Tuesday, March 24 at 8 pm. Click here to join Meeting
2.    Grades 2-3- Zoom gathering Wednesday, March 25 at 8 pm.  Click here to join meeting.
3.    Grades 4-7- Zoom gathering Thursday, March 26 at 8:15 pm. Click here to join meeting.
4.    Youth Group parents- Zoom gathering Thursday, March 26 at 7 pm. Click here to join meeting.

Youth Group: 
Lunch with Kavita Youth Group- Zoom gathering Wednesday, March 25 at 1 pm.   Click here to join meeting.

Choir Rehearsals Cancelled Indefinitely 

Experimenting with Online Virtual Rehearsals
Thursday night choir rehearsals at the church are cancelled indefinitely, as Dr. Dennis Ferguson and our talented music team experiment with ways to rehearse using online virtual tools.  For more information, please reach out to Dennis.  We are exploring ways that Dennis and our many musicians can contribute to our online worship experiences, beginning this Sunday.

Food Pantry to Remain Open 

Our Food Pantry will remain open per usual on Monday and Thursday mornings, continuing to provide much needed food to the community.  However, beginning next week, we will be moving our food distribution outdoors to the parking lot, to provide safer distancing for both our volunteers and our patrons.  Many thanks to our Food Pantry team, as they have been asked to change up our processes and procedures in the face of this evolving crisis.

Church Office Open Next Week Tuesday Only 

Staff to Work More from Home
The church office has been open this week, however, the staff is preparing to be able to be able to work from home in the event of shelter-in-place orders.  As of this moment, Rev. Gretchen, Kavita and Jeanne have plans to be in the office next week Tuesday ONLY, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  We encourage people to contact the staff by phone rather than in-office visits, as much as possible, to ensure the safe distance practices for both congregants and staff. 

Rev. Gretchen to Offer “Virtual” Office Hours

Rev. Gretchen will host virtual online visiting hours to allow anyone interested to log on. 

Coffee and Catch-Up with Rev. Gretchen:
Please use the Zoom link for connecting with Rev. Gretchen for the following days/times.

3 pm Fridays, beginning this Friday, March 20th
10:00 am Mondays, beginning Monday, March 23rd
10:00 a.m. Wednesdays, beginning March 25th

Kavita is offering a number of groups for parents and our teens.  Please see the RE Listing for details.

Other Murray Meetings, Please Cancel or Move Online

We are asking other Murray meetings or activities, even if they attract 10 people or less, to please cancel, or consider moving online using Free Conference Call, Go to Meeting, Zoom or other online meeting tools. The RE Committee has been using Zoom to meet for the past few months.  Social Concerns met by Zoom last night, and the Bible Study group will be meeting with Zoom this evening.  We will also be using Zoom to hold virtual online worship together beginning this Sunday.

Please Continue Your Financial Support

Now that we are no longer able to gather in Sunday worship, we are no longer able to “pass the plate” each week.  Please continue your generous ongoing support of the church, whether you send your pledge checks in by snail mail, or arrange to have a regular check sent through your online banking activities, or you sign up for online eGiving through the REALM Connect App or by using this link:

And, if you have not done so yet, please fill out your online pledge form to support Murray Church next year!  You may access an online form here. Please contact Jeanne if you would like her to mail you a paper form to fill out and return.

For more about Stewardship contact Amanda Aguiar.
For more about Pledging via eGiving contact Rick Millard.

Thrift Shop Closing After Saturday

As of this moment, retail operations in Massachusetts, including our Thrift Shop, are allowed to remain open as long as there are less than 10 people in a shop at any given time.  Our Thrift Shop will remain open for the rest of this week, operating with a skeleton volunteer crew, with plans to close indefinitely after Saturday, unless the Governor issues a shelter in place order before hand.  The Thrift Shop had already planned its current 50% off sale several weeks ago in order to reduce winter clothing inventory to make room for spring clothes.  It’s hard to believe that our Thrift Shop only opened to the public three short weeks ago.  It has been successful beyond our wildest dreams in that short time.  Special thanks to the many Murray volunteers who worked to make the Thrift Shop such a huge success.  We look forward to its continued success at some time in the future when it will be safe to operate once more.

All AA/Al-Anon Recovery Groups/Renters Cancelled

 As of this week, all of our recovery groups/renters have suspended their meetings here at Murray through the end of March.  We will revisit that decision at the start of April.

Some Help for Financial Distress

This current situation is going to be impacting all of us financially in the days weeks and months ahead. There are a lot of unknowns.  The government is moving forward to be able to offer various kinds of financial assistance to people, depending on their circumstances.  In addition, Rev. Gretchen has some limited funds available in the Minister’s Discretionary Fund that might be able to help out.  Please contact her for more information.
March 28:

Food n' Friends to Provide To-Go Meals:

Murray will still host the Soup Kitchen on Saturday, March 28 from 8 am - 12. pm.  We will be serving to-go meals only and will do this with a skeleton crew of no more than 8 Murray folks. Please contact Stephanie (info in the directory) or call the church office if you would like to be part of this team. 

Help With the Church Gardens & Landscaping 

Following our video church service on Sunday I will be heading to the church with some outdoor tools to continue spring cleaning.  There’s plenty to do all around so we can work together and still maintain a large social distance.  There’s raking leaves, pruning shrubs, and some nasty brush cutting for those who want a challenge.  Bring your rakes, clippers, pruners, and maybe even a saw.

                                     -- Bill Morrow
April 1 & 14:

UU Mass Action Needs Our Help

To protect vulnerable communities in Massachusetts, here are two virtual events you can take part in:

Get to know our UU Legislative Priorities: 

Webinar via Zoom, Wed April 1, 7:00 PM
You will have an opportunity to understand the details of legislative priorities and be able to ask questions.  If you can’t make it but want us to send you the recording, please register.
Please RSVP for this webinar  

UU Advocacy Day 

When: Tue April 14, 10:00 - 11:30 AM    
Where: Virtual Event, via Zoom  

The keynote speaker is UUA President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray!  As president, Rev. Susan has emphasized that this is not time for a casual faith and no time to go it alone. 

Please register here (free):
A link will be sent to you when you register.
Legislative advocacy will take place immediately after the program. Look up your state legislators HERE.
Find the one-sheet legislative update HERE.    

Food Pantry Donation Suggestions       

The food pantry is in need of personal hygiene products like toothpaste, soap, and feminine hygiene products.  The food pantry could also use snack items, such as cookies, crackers and chips.

Thank you from the Murray Food Pantry team.

March 25:
Trip to National Black Doll Museum Cancelled

Membership & Welcoming will not be visiting the National Black Doll Museum of History and Culture on Sunday, March 22.  We will visit it another weekend, though.  We'll stay in touch!

Stay safe!

Green Sanctuary Events Postponed

The following scheduled events are postponed until further notice:
March 25:

State of the Birds  at the Attleboro Public Library

April 11 & 13

What is Our Future with Electric Vehicles?

Solar Options for Murray Church
Monday, April 13, 6:30 pm

Bunny Brunch Extravaganza Cancelled

Thank you to each and every one of you who signed up to volunteer their time or donate items of food or raffle items for the Bunny Brunch.  We are in the process of refunding anyone who purchased tickets or made donations.  The possibility of a make-up event has surfaced; but until the current situation resolves, we are taking things day by day.  Until then, be well.

                                                   With gratitude, 
                                                   Carol and Amanda 

Newsletter Weekly Schedule

Please e-mail all newsletter submissions by Tuesday end of day for inclusion in the following Thursday's Murray Notes.  The next deadline is March 24th. 

Please include 'NEWSLETTER' in the subject line.  

What's going on at Murray? Click the calendar!

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