Murray Church Notes

April 18, 2019

Volume 7,  Issue 36

In this Issue:


A Tale of Four Churches 

Rev. Gretchen Weis 

I am drawn to the beauty of sacred space.  I love to sit in the quiet of a sanctuary, especially when no one else is there.  I listen to the quiet, watch the sun scatter light patterns from stained glass windows, feel the history, imagine the people who gathered over the years to worship, to sing, to pray, to celebrate or to comfort one another.  From cathedrals to mosques to churches to temples – human-made sacred space is as deeply meaningful to me as the sacred spaces I experience outside in nature, too.

Like so many around the world, I was heartbroken Monday evening to see images of Notre Dame Cathedral burning in Paris.  Beloved around the globe, this unique architectural wonder has housed sacred space of deep religious, historic, artistic and cultural significance for more than 800 years.  My thoughts turned to the time I was privileged to spend at Notre Dame, as I sat and listened for quite some time to someone playing the organ, the music reverberating off the ancient stone.  It was so painful to watch images of the central spire collapsing, and to imagine what religious, artistic and historic treasures were being lost to the growing flames.

After more than 9 hours, the fire was extinguished, and much was destroyed.  But there was much to celebrate – all people had been safely evacuated from the church.  There were no fatalities, although one firefighter and two policemen were injured.  The two bell towers are still standing, the 8000-pipe organ remains intact, historic stained glass windows survived.  Some statuary and art pieces had been removed from the Cathedral for refurbishing, so were not in the fire.  Other artwork and religious artifacts had been removed as soon as the fire started and taken to safety.  

French leaders have vowed to repair, refurbish and rebuild.  Expressions of sympathy, as well as donations both large and small, have poured in from around the world.  In the first two days since the fire, more than $1 billion has been raised to repair the beloved World Heritage Site. 
Yet, as a world of sympathy has focused on Notre Dame over the past few days, I couldn’t help but think about those three historic black churches that were also destroyed by fire, set ablaze by a hate-filled white supremacist just a few weeks earlier in Louisiana.   St. Mary Baptist Church was the first to burn to the ground on March 26th.  Within days, the Greater Union Baptist Church and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church were also destroyed. Each church was more than 100 years old.   

These small community churches in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, may not have been world famous architectural icons, but they were each sacred space, holy ground to people who worshipped together, celebrated life milestones together, grieved deep loss together and raised their children together for generations.  A local sheriff’s son, Holden Matthews, was arrested last week and charged with arson and hate crimes.

Both President Trump and Vice President Pence have tweeted concern about the fire at Notre Dame and have vowed American support to help the French rebuild the Cathedral.  However, according to stories in both the Washington Post and the UK Daily Mail, neither Trump nor Pence have said a word yet about the three black churches burned down by hate in Louisiana.
A GoFundMe called “Seventh District Baptist Church Fires St. Landry” was created last week.  According to an online story in Wednesday’s Washington Post, a fundraiser was held on Sunday to help the three black churches rebuild.  A little less than $50,000 was raised.  By Wednesday, that total skyrocketed to more than $1 million.  As the world watched in anguish as Notre Dame burned on Monday, many activists, journalists and celebrities rallied on social media on Tuesday to promote the GoFundMe campaign to help out the three small black churches in Louisiana.  

While I would not normally encourage people to donate online, given the number of scams on fundraising sites, this feels legitimate to me, given the coverage in the Washington Post and other media. I went online to and found the Seventh District Baptist Church Fires St. Landry's and made a donation. The Seventh District Baptist Association, sponsor of the GoFundMe campaign, estimates that it will take approximately $1.8 million to rebuild the three historic black churches.  I am hopeful they will raise the needed funds, and work can begin as soon as possible to restore these beloved houses of worship to the faith families they serve.  

I also hope more of our public officials begin to speak up and out against hate crimes, condemning acts of violence, arson or vandalism that violate the safety and sanctity of all sacred spaces, of all faiths, everywhere.   

Please plan to join us this Sunday to celebrate “The Promise of Easter.”  We have an Easter Egg Hunt planned for the children following worship – outdoors if weather permits, or an indoor egg hunt if it’s raining.  

May you and your loved ones be blessed in this season of resurrection of new life all around us.  Let the sunshine and warmer breezes renew your spirit.  The greening, the blooming has begun!

In love and faith,

Rev. Gretchen  

"The Promise of Easter"
Who is to say what Easter is?  W. Edward Harris observes that the darkest times in the human spirit are succeeded by the renewal of life.  Just as there is loneliness, abandonment, brutality, cruelty, hate and fear, so, too are there values and principles that cannot be killed.  Justice, Truth, Beauty, Love, and Courage, will continue to rise up again, and again throughout the ages of human experience.   Alleluia, indeed!

"Our House"
It’s clean up Sunday!  Time for all ages to pitch in and help take care of our church building and grounds. Clean up activities will begin at 8:30 a.m. There will be tasks available for all ages and physical abilities.   Everyone is encouraged to wear appropriate work clothes.

We will hold a brief half-hour worship in Fellowship Hall at 10:00 a.m.  Afterwards, everyone will be encouraged to head back to the various work areas to continue clean up till noon, when lunch will be served for all the volunteer helpers!  


Religious Education for Sunday, April 21

Nursery is available 9:45-11:00 am.  Nursery is for our babies, toddlers and preschoolers only. 
Grades K-7:
We will begin in the service and then head to the Unity Room for an Easter Spirit Group.  

Youth Group:

Class begins at 10am!  We will plan the Bridging Ceremony which is scheduled for May 19 and also finish our hygiene collection project by sorting and packing all the donations.
Our Youth Group made peace flags!
The Food Pantry sends out a special thanks to Donna Palmer for donating Easter Baskets this week to serve our Food Pantry clients.
April 21

Easter Sunrise Service

April 21:

Egg Hunt

Gather in the Unity Room 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. ALL children must be accompanied by a parent.   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, call Carol.or Kavita.  

Please note that in the case of inclement weather, this event will be held inside.

Youth Service Project Extended to this Sunday, 
April 21

For AHOPE ( and NuDay Syria (
Objective: Donations to help refugees that came to Rhode Island from war-torn areas of the world and to help them 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 products
-    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
May 18

Rock 'n Roll Fundraiser

Update on Murray Church Facebook Pages

The Religious Education Facebook page and the Youth Group Facebook page have been taken down.  As a community, we would like to have one Facebook page that unites us and lets us know all that is happening at our church.  Please join the Murray Church Facebook page so you can be kept in the loop! If you have any questions please contact Kavita.

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 or by clicking here and must be returned by April 30, 2019.
April 22:

Blood Drive

April 24:   

Last Meditation Class

The final "Let’s Meditate Together" class will be "Musical and Moving Meditation"

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. 

Time: 7:15-8:15 pm. Arrive at 7 pm. 
Room: John Murray Room 

RSVP to Sheila Jacobs. 

Please note
that the May 22 class has been cancelled.
April 24:

Green Sanctuary Program

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
74 North Main St, Attleboro MA
Call 508-222-0157 or visit to reserve your seat
April 27:

Volunteer for Food n' Friends 

The Social Concerns Committee needs volunteers to help host the Food’n’Friends Soup Kitchen on Saturday, April 27 from 8 am to about noon. There are many jobs to do for set-up, food prep, cooking, clean-up and break-down. Please contact Stephanie Paquette to sign up. 
April 28:

Clean Up Sunday: This Is Our House!

On the morning of Sunday, April 28th, the Property Committee will be leading a church wide effort to clean and repair our church.    Work Crew Leaders for this effort are listed below.   See the Team Leader if you wish to volunteer for a specific task. They are currently recruiting church members to help in specific tasks, so be prepared.  Coffee will be available at 8:30 and lunch will be served at noon.   Free tee shirts to all people who sign up by Sunday, April 21.   

Window Cleaning Crew – Greg Wehmeyer, Stephanie Paquette, Diane Jones
Red Paint Crew – Roy Belcher, Bruce Field, Bill Jones
White Paint Crew – Rachel Killion, Adam Zysk
Backyard Crew – Carla Rissmeyer, Peter Galvin
Front Yard Crew – Bill and Russet Morrow
Inside Crew – Tom Stuart, Mary Whelan, Rich Cannon, Laurie Lawes

Help for an hour or help for the entire morning.  Any participation is greatly appreciated.   All 
ages are welcome to help.   We encourage members to team up with their families.    

If there is a task in the church you would like to see done, contact Tom Stuart.

                                                                                -- The Murray Property Committee

April 28:

Chaminade Concert

April 28, 2019 at 2 PM
Murray Church Sanctuary

​505 North Main Street
Attleboro, MA 


Featuring the music of
Johannes Brahms
Clara & Robert Schumann

               Vocalist:  William Hite, tenor  

Musicians: Rachel Childers, horn; Nathan Johnson, piano; 
Ann Sears, piano; ​Sheila Falls, violin

Free admission ~ Donations appreciated ~ Reception following concert

Click here for more details.

Summer Services

Summer services begin June 23 and continue every Sunday from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. through Labor Day weekend.  Our committee is planning a great line up of presenters and topics. We have a few dates and openings, so if you are interested in presenting during the summer about a favorite subject, passion, UU principle or adventure, please speak with one of the RSC members soon! Ruth Debrot leads our music during the summer to everyone’s delight. We help you with all elements of the service, so you are not on your own.  We even provide an opportunity for you to do a run through. New voices and topics are welcomed.

Please contact Sheila Jacobs..

Your RS Committee:
David Calusdian, Sheila Jacobs, Monica Staaf, Marguerite MacLean, Liz Kenyon, 
Allison MacDonald, Dede MacDonald, and Ruth Debrot
May 3:

UUA Field Trip 

Would you like to visit the UUA in Boston?  On Friday, May 3 at 10 am the UUA will give you a guided tour and what’s happening in our faith.  This field trip is for high schoolers and adults.  You are welcome to travel by train (leave from Attleboro train station) or drive if you wish.  Please RSVP to Kavita by Monday, April 29 if you would like to go.  Please pack a bagged lunch and water.  
May 5

A Pete Seeger 100th Birthday Songfest

With Singer-Songwriter Jim Scott

May 5, 2019 at 1 pm
Foxborough Universalist Church

60 Bird Street, Foxborough, MA 02035
Suggested donation: $15, Kids under 12 free with parents
June 1:

 Potluck Dinner, 
Movie & Discussion

Save the Date!

"I Am Not Your Negro"
A Documentary Narrated by Samuel Jackson 
Time: 6:00-9:00 PM
Location: Unity Room

We look forward to a fun potluck, an interesting movie, and a lively post-movie conversation.  Please join us!

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!               

  • Bar soap
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste

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 23rd.  Please include 'NEWSLETTER' in the subject line.  

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

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