Murray Church Notes

March 28, 2019

Volume 7,  Issue 33

In this Issue:

FROM OUR MINISTER
The Seven Deadly Social Sins
Rev. Gretchen Weis 

A list of the seven deadly social sins caught my eye this week and stopped me in my tracks.  If ever there was a cautionary list for our times, this might be it.  Yet these “social sins” were first introduced nearly 100 years ago, preached first by Anglican priest Frederick Lewis Donaldson in London, and shared and published by Mahatma Gandhi in 1925.  

The Seven Deadly Social Sins include:
•    Wealth without work
•    Pleasure without conscience
•    Commerce without morality
•    Knowledge without character
•    Science without humanity
•    Politics without principle
•    Worship without sacrifice
Wealth without Work
Management consultant Stephen Covey notes that honest work creates and builds value day-by-day, increasing assets over time. Today, Covey warns, there are professions built around making money without working, amassing wealth without paying taxes, benefiting from free government programs without carrying a fair share of the financial burdens, and enjoying all the perks of citizenship of country and membership of corporation without assuming any of the risk or responsibility.  Wanting something for nothing -- manipulating markets, people, assets and resources to get rich quick – is a formula for fraud and bankrupts the system that should benefit everyone.  Recent tax cuts have served to only widen the alarming gap between the top 1% and the rest of America.  Research has shown that equitable wealth distribution creates improved social stability, increased opportunity and a healthier society for all.  How are we called to help close this widening gap?  

Pleasure without Conscience
The number one question of the immature, the self-centered, the greedy, is, “What’s in it for me?”  Seeking personal pleasure at the expense of accountability, previous commitments and other responsibilities leaves a trail of moral damage – broken promises, broken hearts and broken lives.  Covey challenges us to consider, “Whatever happened to the sanctity of marriage?  What happened to the social mores that the rich and powerful often get a ‘hall pass’ for cheating on a spouse?   Pursuing pleasure?  Sure.  But not without taking our social responsibilities and personal commitments into account. 

Commerce without Morality
Covey reminds us that the ideal of capitalism is built upon mutual benefit for the greater good.  Ethical commerce involves a free and fair exchange so both parties benefit.  He writes, “Our economic system comes out of a constitutional democracy where minority rights are to be attended to as well. The spirit of the Golden Rule or of win-win is a spirit of morality, of mutual benefit, of fairness for all concerned.”  There’s the ideal, and then there’s the real world.  I’m thinking of Wall Street and the unethical manipulation of the housing futures market that brought the global economy to its knees in 2008.  Only one mid- to lower-level banker was ever charged and jailed for this monstrous greed fest where many people lost their homes, jobs, and life savings.  I’m not sure our elected leaders learned moral lessons from this debacle.  How are we called to hold business and government accountable to assure fair and free commerce that benefits all without further damaging our planet? 

Knowledge without Character
A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but, so, too, is the development and pursuit of knowledge without the development of a values system that helps put our knowledge to good use.   Covey reminds us that we need shared social values like honesty and integrity, respect and kindness, contribution, responsibility, accountability and fairness if we are to build on our knowledge for the greater good of all.   I draw hope that there are countless parents, teachers, scout leaders, coaches, and, yes, Sunday School teachers and ministers who help teach and reinforce moral values to help guide our young people as they come of age and spread their wings to put their knowledge and talents to work in the world.

Science without Humanity 
Science and technology are changing our world at an ever-increasing pace.  Are human beings able to adapt and keep up with the rate of change?  Given the amount of time humans spend on digital devices, and the explosion of social media – how is technology impacting our physical, mental and emotional health?  Is technology playing a role in the rise of anxiety and other mental illnesses?  Covey reminds us, if there's very little understanding of the higher human purposes that the technology is striving to serve, we can become victims of our own technocracy.  How are we called to add our voices to these larger social conversations?

Politics without Principle
We currently have a Commander in Chief who is, in the words of his former “fixer” attorney, “un-tethered from the truth” and who labels long-standing democratic institutions that would uncover and report truth as “fake news” or “witch hunts.”  Our legislative branch has devolved into partisan infighting, where it is often more important to “one-up” the other party than it is to do the shared bipartisan work of the American people.   I feel heartened that amidst the morass, there are still politicians on both sides of the aisle guided by integrity and a higher sense of service to the Constitution, to the rule of law, and to the American people.  May a clear majority of Americans vote for people of integrity, dedicated to the highest ideals of value-based service to break through this partisan quagmire.

Religion without Sacrifice
It’s not enough to show up for church on Sunday mornings.  We are also called to put our faith into active practice to help build a better world.  We are called to sacrifice – to put our own needs aside – in order to see and to serve the needs of others.  This call to service gives me great hope.  I believe ours is a faith, and Murray is a church where so many of you are actively involved in the work of love and justice.  Let us continue to deepen our individual spiritual resources, as our internal integrity helps to nourish and support us in the difficult work of loving and serving a broken world.

Take heart, for as overwhelming as these social evils may seem, we are not alone in our work.   Let us be inspired by these words from our faith forebear, Edward Everett Hale, who reminds us:
I am only one.
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do
The something I can do.
Please plan to join us this Sunday as lay leaders share personal stories of racism they have experienced, and coach us to respond in the future to interrupt racism when it happens in front of us.  Special thanks to Kavita Vansant, Colleen DeGroot and the Religious Services team for bringing us this important worship service.  

Please be aware that there will be explicit and upsetting language used during this service.  It is recommended that children not attend.  I will be in the pews, available to help minister to anyone who is triggered or upset by the painful stories shared.

And, please plan to stay for the Part 3 White Fragility conversation following worship, where we will explore strategies to interrupt white fragility.  I am in awe of the continued courage of this congregation to dive ever deeper into these difficult and life-changing themes.

In love and service,

Rev. Gretchen  

About Last Week’s Email Scam

Last week, a small handful of Murray congregants received a scam email, purportedly from Rev. Gretchen, asking them to purchase a Google gift card for someone dying of cancer, and to send the card number and pin to an email address staffed by the thief.  This scam, known as phishing, is all too common these days.  
 
Fortunately, no one here was harmed by the scam.  And, it only involved a small handful of people.  At no time was the church’s database invaded or harmed.  Special thanks to Bill Jones and Charlie Adler, who were able to identify where the scammers got the impacted congregant’s emails and quickly scrubbed that information from anything posted on our Web.  We are hoping this will prevent future phishing scams from happening.
 
Here’s what everyone needs to know:  Rev. Gretchen would never send you an email requesting that you purchase a gift card and send it to an anonymous third party.  She has a small minister’s discretionary fund, which enables her to help a person in need directly, and confidentially, without asking congregants to spend any of their own money.  If we do decide to do a gift card fundraiser, like we did a few years back to help a former member who lost virtually everything in a house fire, know that the gift card fundraiser was a church-wide event, announced in the newsletter.  Rev. Gretchen would not send you a personal email asking that you spend your own money on a gift card.
 
The staff also wants to assure the congregation that at no time would any of us ever send you a personal email claiming to be in trouble and asking you for financial help (like several other popular email scams).  That would be unprofessional and inappropriate.  If you ever receive an email like that, please notify the office immediately, to help us get on top of the scam.
 
Thanks to all for checking in as those fake emails went out last week. And special thanks to our office administrator Jeanne, who got the word out quickly through an all-church email blast, to warn people of the scam.
 
Fortunately, it was over as quickly as it had begun, with no harm done.  Let’s hope that’s the end of email scams here at Murray! 
THIS SUNDAY:
"Racism Interrupted" 
Two of our church members, one, the daughter of Indian parents, and the other, a mother of two children of color, share personal incidents of racist slurs and actions, including a re-enactment of one such incident and how bystanders could have intervened.  This service will help us be more aware of racism and how to be good allies to those who are victims of it.  The service will be led by the Religious Services Committee. Please note: “Racism Interrupted”  will include the graphic description of real life events, the use of profanity and language that may be offensive.  This service is not recommended for children of any age. RE classes and nursery care will be held as usual.  All parents of our Youth Group please note and make the best decision for your family. If you have any questions please feel free to talk with Kavita. 
 
NEXT SUNDAY:
More "We", Less "Me, Me, Me"
Humility -- one of the seven heavenly virtues – is key to living a spiritually grounded life.  Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, or great social reformers like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. are exemplars of spiritual humility and servant leadership.  Yet, humility seems in short supply in a world dominated by a consumer culture, which encourages self-centered indulgence in a me, me, me iWorld.  How might we learn to put a little more “we” before “me” as we seek greater humility to serve the needs of a 21st Century world?           

Religious Education for Sunday, March 31


Nursery is available 9:45-11:00 am.  Nursery is for our babies, toddlers and preschoolers only. 
 
Schedule:
Grades K-7:
We will begin in the service and then head to our classes to learn about the Dalai Lama (Buddhism). The Dalai Lama believes compassion and kindness comes from listening to each other.  We will practice our listening skills and learn about the importance of listening to all voices.
 

Youth Group:

We will begin in the service and head to class to work on our service project and bake cookies for the Soup Kitchen.
RE is in need of small clear plastic containers (no lids needed).
 
RE is in need of small clear plastic containers (no lids needed).
A Minute to Win It Game Night and Potluck was lots of fun!
This Sunday, March 31:

White Fragility Discussion: Part 3

 


Sunday, March 31
11:30 am - 12:45 pm in the Unity Room


You do not need to read "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism" to join in.

Here is a quick-read article (it’s a good one)

We will have lots of time for conversation!
This Sunday, March 31:

Humanist Discussion


DOUBT:
BLESSING OR CURSE?
 
Join the discussion on Sunday, March 31

at 11:30 am in the church library.  
You do not have to be a Humanist to attend.  
Just bring your ideas and an open mind.

(and a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate)


There is a brief reading assignment.  Contact Len Yutkins and he will send you a copy.

The Giving Tree Campaign is Thriving

Our "Giving Tree" campaign continues to grow. Members and friends have pledged about $16,000 to help reduce our rental income deficit!  We invite all Murray members and friends who have not yet participated to choose a heart from the Giving Tree in the sanctuary.  Please be sure to write "Giving Tree" in the memo section of your check or on the donation envelope if you are giving cash. A huge thank you to those members and friends who are helping us close the gap!
April 7:

2019-2020 Pledge Forms are Due 

A warm 'Thank You!' to those members who have returned their pledge forms for the coming church year! 

All pledge forms are due next Sunday, April 7. Please mail or drop off your  2019-2020 pledge form to the church office, or drop it in the 'staircase' pledge form box at the rear of the sanctuary. 

April 7 & 14:
Care Packages for our College Youth

The RE program is planning to send small care packages to our young adults who are attending college, to remind them that we here at Murray Church are thinking of them and miss and support them in their pursuits. Our goal is to send the packages twice a year, in the late fall and late spring, before final exams.

On Sunday, April 7 and Sunday, April 14 we will have cards available during coffee hour for signing. 
April 7 & 14:

Memorial Garden Work Begins

Spring is finally near.  Snow is finally gone.  The ground is thawing.  Buds are swelling.  Early bulbs are poking up.  It’s time to prepare the Memorial Garden for a new season.

The Memorial Garden Committee will be working in the Garden on Sunday March 31st and April 7th to clean up any winter damage and ready the plants for spring.  Come join us after the service for an hour or two.  Bring your yard maintenance tools, or just your helpful hands (we’ll have extra tools), work in fellowship, and share lunch.
      See you then,
      Memorial Garden Committee

                      
Our First Crocus!


Could Spring be around the corner? Murray’s first crocus lights up a corner in the Memorial Garden.  Eye candy for the soul!

The Way We Were

We see you now, but Membership & Welcoming would like to give everyone a look at a past part of your life -- what were you doing then?  Do you have a photo from when you were in the Navy, or from high school, even grade school, or when you're engaged in a favorite hobby, or any favorite photo.  The bulletin board outside of the sanctuary is the place to put your photo.  Put a note with it letting everybody know that it's you or remain anonymous and keep us guessing!

Can't wait to see the way you used to be!  Give your photo to Sandy Stuart or just pin it up on the bulletin board.

Children and youth -- We want to see the way you were, too.  Give your photo to Kavita, our R.E. 
Director, and she'll put it up.

Easter Plants

Think Spring!  Easter is April 21.  Let me know if you are interested in putting a spring plant on the chancel table for Easter.  The price is $17. Plant choices are tulips, daffodils, lilies, and hyacinths.  I'll need to order by April 1. Please call me at 508-226-3109 or see me at church.
-- Irene Yutkins                     

Youth Service Project

For AHOPE (www.ahoperi.com) and NuDay Syria (www.Nudaysyria.org)

Objective: Donations to help refugees  that came to Rhode Island from war-torn areas of the world and to help then to build a new life.

The Youth Group of Murray church is collecting the following:
-    Soap
-    Shampoo
-    Shower gel
-    Toothpaste
-    Toothbrush
-    Feminine products
-    Deodorant – Women and Men
-    Paper product
-    Detergent
-    Socks
-    Mittens
-    Hats
-    Toilet paper
-    Paper towels
-    Kleenex

If you don’t have any of those items to donate, you can always help by sharing this message. Any help is appreciated in order to make a positive change in our world. Thank you.
                                                                              – The Youth

Camperships Available

Summer will be here before we know it! Are you interested in attending a UU camp or retreat center 
this summer or fall? Camperships are available to supplement expenses for Murray Church members of any age. Ferry Beach, Star Island and Rowe Camp are some of the places that Murray members have attended in the past. Information on the camps is available on their websites and from our DLRE, Kavita Vansant. Applications are available from Kavita and must be returned by April 30, 2019. For an application, please click here.
April 24 & May 22:   

Monthly  Meditation 

"Let’s Meditate Together" will continue on a monthly basis during April and May on the fourth Wednesday. 

Join us to continue learning and practicing meditation.  If you would benefit from a structured time and place, this may be for you.  Open to all, no previous experience is necessary.  You only need a willingness to learn with an open mind. Sheila Jacobs is a long time Murray Member and is a certified Health and Wellness Specialist. 

Dates and topics for remaining classes:
  • April 24 – Musical and Moving Meditation
  • May 22 – A potpourri of Meditation 
Time: 7:15-8:15 pm. Arrive at 7 pm. 
Room: John Murray Room 

RSVP to Sheila Jacobs.  If you would like to lead some of the meditations, please see Sheila. 
April 27:

Womensphere Spring Meeting


"Accessing Your Inner Wisdom"
Date: April 27, 2019  Time: 8:30 am
Location: Westminster Unitarian Universalist Church
                119 Kenyon Avenue, East Greenwich, RI 
 
Searching for answers? Oracles are all around you! Discover what they are and how to read 
them. The 2019 Womensphere Spring  Workshop explores the fascinating art of divination, and is inspired by the book "The World Is Your Oracle" by Nancy Vedder-Shults.   $27, including lunch.  Enjoy a day with inspiring women in a beautiful setting!  For details and the registration form, email BCDWomensphere@gmail.com

Womensphere is a collective of individual UU women passionate about exploring our spirituality, meeting other open-hearted people, and serving humanity and the planet.   
April 1:

Clara Barton Guild Luncheon Meeting

The next meeting of the Clara Barton Guild will be held on Monday, April 1st at 11:45 a.m. in the John Murray Room.  All interested women are welcome to join us for food and fellowship.  Bring your sandwich or salad.  Beverages and dessert are provided by our hostess group.  We will be planning for our last Rummage Sale.  Please contact Bev Hall if you have any questions about joining us.  
April 3:

Attleboro Be Heard

On Wednesday, April 3, 2019 please join us here at Murray Church at 7:00 PM in the Unity Room for Attleboro Be Heard.  Attleboro Be Heard Community Coalition for Education is a group of parents, community members, educators, administrators, and students who are working together to improve access to learning at all levels of Attleboro Public Schools (APS).  We want to connect with parents and community members to identify the issues most important to the community at this time and then work together with administration to make improvements in our district. 

This is an opportunity to have your voice heard about the Attleboro Public Schools (APS).  All are invited – current students in APS, past students, parents and students from other school systems – all are welcomed.  Childcare will be provided by Attleboro Public Schools, and light refreshments will be available.

So come join the conversation. Although registration is not required it is greatly appreciated and if you need childcare, please do register and let me know. To register, contact Janet Richardi at janetrichardi@comcast.net or at 508-285-6078. 

To hear two members of the BE HEARD Committee discussing what it is, click here.
April 12 & 13:

Spring Rummage Sale

The Clara Barton Guild needs your gently used clothing, shoes, jewelry, toys, books and working household items for our Spring Rummage Sale to be held on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13, both days from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Please bring your items to the empty rooms across from the Church office, starting April 1, labeled for Clara Barton.  If you need help bringing items to church, please contact Bev Hall (508-222-9324).
 
Please note:  We appreciate receiving your items by Wednesday, April 10, so we have time to sort and display.  Proceeds from the Rummage Sale help support Murray Church and other charitable organizations.  

EXTRA HELP NEEDED
This will be the final Rummage Sale by the Clara Barton Guild.  We don't like admitting that we are no longer physically able to do this project alone, but that is the truth.  We would appreciate having other church members give us a hand in setting up and selling merchandise.  We also need help again with cleanup on Saturday at 1 p.m.  We are deeply grateful to the people who have helped us with cleanup over the past few years.  Following are the times we could use some helping hands - and strong legs:

SETUP
Tuesday, April 9 - 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Wednesday, April 10 - 10 a.m. thru 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 11 - 10 a.m. thru 1 p.m.

SALE HOURS
Friday, April 12 - 8:30 a.m. thru 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 13 - 8:30 a.m. thru 1:00 p.m.

CLEANUP
Saturday, April 13 - 1 p.m. thru approximately 2:30 p.m.

If you can give us a couple of hours during some of those times, please contact Bev Hall.

 
April 13:

Potluck Dinner, Movie & Discussion


Save the Date!

"White Man's Burden"
Starring Harry Belafonte & John Travolta
Time: 6:00-9:00 PM
Location: Unity Room

April 21:

Egg Hunt

Join us on Easter Sunday, April 21 for the Annual Egg Hunt immediately following service. Children up to Kindergarten age will search in the Unity garden while our children grades 1-6 will be in the backyard area. After everyone has gathered in the 
Unity Room, look for the "Bunny helpers" who will facilitate each hunt.  Children are 
encouraged to bring a basket or bag to carry their eggs.  *New this year* - Take your 
eggs to the prize table located in the Spirit Space room to trade them in for candy and goodies. Questions/Concerns: Carol  or Kavita.
 
April 24:

Green Sanctuary Program


CONVERSATIONS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
WITH DR. NATHAN PHILLIPS
 
Dr. Phillips is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University. His research in climate science focuses on how trees, in forests and cities, respond to environmental change. He also studies natural gas and sustainable energy.
 
WED., APRIL 24th, 7 PM
ATTLEBORO PUBLIC LIBRARY
74 North Main St, Attleboro MA
call 508-222-0157 or visit attleborolibrary.org to reserve your seat
April 28:

Clean Up Sunday: This Is Our House!

Sunday, April 28th, the Property Committee will be leading Clean Up Sunday at Murray Church.  On this day, we will have a church-wide effort to clean, paint, organize and repair our spiritual home.  Over the next 2 weeks, the Property Committee will be assigning people to lead the various groups assigned to specific tasks within the church.  If you are interested in helping lead a group, or you have a section of the church that you would like to see worked on, this is your chance to volunteer.   Contact Tom Stuart or just talk to him when you see him.
                                                                                -- Property Committee

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 or write your name down on the clipboard at the table where coffee is served.
 
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 between 9:15 and 9:30 am to get the coffee going,  and setup/clean up takes about half an hour).  We really need volunteers! Let's keep Murray members and friends caffeinated and in the happy zone.
 
Questions?  Contact Monica Weil or Barbara Clark.      

Do you like Murray Church coffee hour?  
We are looking to expand the coordination team for next year. Please contact Monica Weil to learn more about this opportunity to serve and have more fun at Murray Church!                                                       

Food Pantry Donations Needed!            

Snacks        
  • Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Chips, pretzels, etc.

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 Tuesday, April 2nd.  Please include 'NEWSLETTER' in the subject line.

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

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