Murray UU Church | 505 North Main St | Attleboro, MA 02703
April 20, 2017
. . .

"The Gift & Glory

of Trees"

Rev. Gretchen Weis

This Earth Day Sunday, we celebrate the wonder and beauty of trees, essential life-sustaining partners in the interconnected web of life. Our multi-generational service will also be co-led by Judy DePue, Chair of the Green Sanctuary Task Force, Kavita Vansant, our Director of Lifespan Religious Education, and high school senior Kenny Laferriere, as well as other children, youth and teens.

. . .



"What You Need to Know About Addiction"

Rev. Gretchen Weis
When a dose of heroin costs less than a pack of cigarettes, is it any wonder that we find ourselves in the middle of an opiate addiction epidemic? Our hearts break, as we have seen at least five drug overdoses touch the lives of people in this congregation over the past several years.  As people of love and faith, what do we need to know, and what can we do to help stem the tide of addiction? The service will include words from Jeremiah Falvey, Donna Palmer and Joel Piggott. Jazz will be featured by the Murray house band.

. . .
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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April 29th

May 7th

May 20th

June 21st -- 25th

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
Dismantling racism is the work of our lifetime - painful, profoundly uncomfortable, but essential work. We are challenged to understand our part in the problem, no matter what our race or ethic background. We are also challenged to become aware of the long-standing systemic bias built into virtually every human institution and organization in our nation - bias that often extends advantages to members of dominant culture, and at the same time discriminates, either intentionally or unconsciously, against people of color.

Our church remains in the thick of this work, to fight against hate and discrimination and to help to build a community of love and inclusion here in the greater Attleboro area. For instance, Murray Church is an active founding member of the Greater Attleboro Interfaith Network (GAIN). GAIN is a multi-faith organization formed by clergy and a handful of lay leaders from 15 Attleboro area congregations, in the wake of the tragedies of Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago and so many other US cities, where unarmed black men were killed at the hands of police officers. GAIN has met monthly with the Mayor and Police Chief for two years now to help build bridges between the Attleboro Police Department and, all members of the community, in the hopes that we might prevent such tragedies from happening here in our area.


The work has been rich and rewarding. Last year, GAIN hosted a first-ever town hall meeting between the police and the community, attended by nearly 70 people of all faiths. GAIN will be hosting a second town hall community meeting on Wednesday evening, May 10th, from 7 pm to 9 pm at St. John the Evangelist Church, and all are invited and encouraged to attend. This year's meeting will be facilitated a little differently, with members of the community invited to break into small groups to share thoughts and concerns about special "hot button" issues important to our community.


In addition, we are pleased to announce that over the next few weeks, all officers in the Attleboro Police Department are receiving unconscious bias training, which will help officers become more aware of the unconscious assumptions they make about pulling someone over, and how they treat whomever is behind the wheel, or whomever is at the scene where they have been called.


Attleboro is offering this training not only for patrol officers, but also for all personnel who work in dispatch and other desk jobs, as these employees also interact with the public. Thanks to the work of GAIN, who helped to fundraise towards providing seed money for this training, the Attleboro Police Department will be among the first in the state to provide this anti-racism, anti-bias training for their personnel. 


This is important progress by any measure, in the fight to help dismantle bias around the corner or around the world. Our church has also been active over the past year in holding locally elected officials accountable when a few officials posted racist or Islamaphobic messages on social media. Thanks to members of this congregation, the town council is working to create a responsible social media policy for elected officials. We also continue to build meaningful partnerships with our area Muslim neighbors and friends. Murray Church is invited to our second annual multi-faith Taste of Faith potluck dinner will be held at the Islamic School of Rhode Island from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Saturday, May 20th. See the newsletter for more information! 
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, April 23rd - is a multi-generational Earth Day Service.
Friday, April 21st - UUnited in Taunton, from 7 pm -- 9 pm.
Sunday, April 23rd - This is a multi-generational Earth Day Service.
Thursday, April 20th -  Soul Matters at 7:15 pm in John Murray Room.
A Happy Easter...

Our Youth Group hosted coffee hour plus helped hide Easter eggs for our children to find.

Murray's 2nd Annual
Auction Fundraiser
Saturday, April 29th


The time is short to sign up for our Murray Auction .

We have a great event planned and an excellent lineup of items, but we really need your support to make this a success !!

Tickets are on sale this Sunday at coffee hour!!! We will accept credit cards.

Who doesn't love a Murray Gala event... Wine, a great meal, lots of entertainment, and socializing with new and old friends!

The date is Saturday, April 29th. The time will be 5:30 pm to about 10 pm. The auction will consist of a silent auction, a dinner buffet, and a live auction. We are planning to offer some amazing items. The ticket price of $25 per person is the entrance fee to the auction. The fee includes the dinner buffet. Come and invite your family and friends.


Last year we raised over $11,000 for our church including Sunday School furniture for our children. This year you can bid on and win 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; Outdoor Oasis (your donation for this item will help Murray convert the outdoor space behind the church that can be used for quiet reflection, play, large group activities, by members of all ages); books for Murray Library (give the gift of learning by making a bid to purchase books that reflect on our UU heritage and beliefs).


****** Please Note for drop off items ******

 Drop off auction items during the week of April 23rd. 

All items must be dropped off by Friday, April 28th.

Church Office:  during office hours
Library: Sunday, April 23rd from 11:30 am -- 3:30 pm

Monday, April 24th from 4 pm -- 7 pm

Wednesday, April 26th from 10:30 am -- 2 pm

A fully catered buffet is planned. Do you have any talents or treasures that you would like to donate? To check out the NEW auction catalog, click [HERE]. For donation forms, click [HERE], or pick-up form at coffee hour. The catalog will be updated weekly as we receive new donations. For auction schedule of events and bidding instructions, click [HERE].


If you have an idea but are not sure how to price or describe it, we can help!
 Please contact: 

Sheila Jacobs at 508-345-9758 or email or 

Monica Staaf at 508-698-6931 or



  • URGENT NEED for Feminine Care Products

  • Bath & Hand Soap
  • Dental Care Items, i.e., toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
All donations are greatly appreciated, but, our clients are particularly grateful
for the feminine care & personal care items.

Thank you for your continued support!
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 Young people are encouraged to help out over the summer for community service hours.

Apr. 21:
Anxiety & Depression Support Group
  If you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, no need to suffer alone. The Anxiety and Depression Support Group is a safe space to share with others who understand and won't judge you because you are or have been anxious and/or depressed. We also celebrate our successes, share resources and laugh together as we offer mutual support in developing strategies to overcome mental health challenges. Please be advised that this is not a therapy group. If you are interested in attending a meeting to see if it's a good fit, please contact Barbara Clark at 508-222-6164, or email at We meet the first and third Friday of each month from 7 pm -- 8:30 pm in the John Murray Room.
Apr. 22:
Murray Hosts Food 'n' Friends Soup Kitchen

Murray Serves the Food 'n' 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 
Feel free to share this info with anyone who might be interested in helping out! 

Please add your name to the schedule by clicking [HERE].

Contact Stephanie Paquette at or 
(call or text) 

Apr. 23:

Green Reel Film Series 

at Boyden Library 

in Foxboro, 

 Sunday, April 23rd 

at 2 pm

Apr. 23:
Outside Brush Removal
Please join Bill & Rusty Morrow this coming Sunday, April 23rd, to start the clearing of some of the bushes and trees in the front of the property. We'll be cutting back the big ewes in front of the sanctuary, clearing some of the scrubby small trees at the front corners of the lot, and pruning some of the larger trees. Bring your saws and clippers. We'll get started at 11:30 am or so and close up about 3 pm.


This is a separate effort than clean up Saturday, May 20th. If you can only make one or the other, please join us on clean up Saturday.

Apr. 25:
Come to an Evening of Dialogue 
with our Muslim Neighbors
Imam Abdul Rehman of the Islamic Center in Sharon, MA will speak about Muslim culture and religion, challenging common misconceptions. Dr. Umer Akbar will speak about how AHOPE-RI assists with the resettlement of refugees in the greater Providence area, and how we can help welcome refugees from areas of conflict.
Program will begin at 7 pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Welcome Center at the National Shrine of Our Lady of LaSalette

located at 947 Park Street, Attleboro, MA 02703

Apr. 26:
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

Image from
Thank you!
Apr. 26:
Candle Light Vigil for Opioid Overdose Deaths
To Raise Awareness of this Current Crisis

Norton Opioid Prevention Education [N.O.P.E.] and the Bristol Norfolk Medical Reserve Corps, Inc. are hosting a Candlelight Vigil for Opioid Overdose Deaths on Wednesday, April 26th, at 7 pm at the Yelle School located at 64 West Main Street, Norton, MA 02766. Please join us at this vigil which is being held to raise awareness of the nationwide opiate crisis. The names of loved ones lost to opioid addiction will be read during the vigil.

If you have a loved one or friend  whose name you would like to have acknowledged, please forward their name to the Norton Board of Health Office at 508-285-0263 or email If there is inclement weather, the vigil will be moved to the Yelle School Cafeteria.

Apr. 26:
"We Welcome You to Our Community"
At this time of year, on YomHaShoah we remember the Holocaust, and on Passover we remember the Exodus from Egypt when we are encouraged to "welcome the stranger" by offering them places at our Seder tables. Throughout history, there are parallels with today's refugee crisis.
On April 26th from 6 pm -- 7 pm Congregation Agudas Achim in Attleboro will be hosting a presentation on refugees.
The featured speaker, Brandon Lozeau, is the Community Relations Manager at Dorcas International Institute in Providence, RI.

Dorcas is committed to welcoming all those who are working to overcome cultural, educational, economic and language barriers and to empower clients to achieve self-sufficiency and to participate actively in their communities. Dorcas provides client-centered services, advocacy, and opportunities based on our expertise in family literacy and adult education, employment services, refugee resettlement, translation, interpretation, U.S. citizenship and immigration services. All are welcome at this free presentation.

Congregation Agudas Achim

901 North Main Street, Attleboro, MA 02703

508-222-2243 |

Apr. 29:
Multi-Faith Project Peacework
Please bring a vegetarian dish to share along with your crochet/knit squares. Please note that no alcohol can be used in the preparation of the snack. We will be joining the squares to form beautiful blankets to gift our resettled friends in Rhode Island.


 When:  Saturday, April 29th at 2:00 pm
Where:  Quaker Meetinghouse 

              located at 99 Morris Avenue,

              Providence, RI 02906

If you are interested in attending, 

please contact Amanda Aguiar at

Volunteer for Coffee Hour
April 30th -- 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.

Questions? Contact

Barbara Clark at

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 May 31, 2017. For application form click [HERE].

Reminder:  Murray UU Church Scholarship Funds
Limited funds are available from the scholarship funds for this church year. The Scholarship Fund is administered by the Board of Deacons & Deaconesses. It is used to award scholarships to any member in good standing, following one full year of membership, for purposes of attending educational courses or training programs approved by this Board. 

For example, it could be applied toward registration fees for the New England Regional Conference in Woburn on April 21st, or for attending the UU General Assembly in New Orleans, June 21st - 25th. Applications should be submitted to the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses for approval. 

Please contact Donna Cooke at for additional guidelines and to obtain an application.
Murray Men's UU Senior Events
In recent years I have been scheduling one-on-one activities with fellow friends of retirement age. I have also been attending the monthly noon lunches at Morin's restaurant with the Murray Men's Lunch Bunch. I decided to combine the idea behind these two activities. I am going to organize some trips and activities for the Lunch Bunch and other Murray Senior Men. In order to get this program off to a good start I am doing several things:

  • First I will ask the Murray office to post my program idea in the Murray Notes Newsletter asking for those senior men of Murray Church that are interested to contact me by phone, mail or email.
  • Second, I will ask the interested men to let me know what types of events or activities they would like to do together as men and elders. Please click [HERE] to print out the survey form. You can respond verbally or by email. 
  • Third I will plan the first MUUSE (Men's UU Senior Event) and let the interested men know via the Murray Notes Newsletter.

We will plan on choosing various activities that will appeal to the numerous interests of our fellow "Murrayites." Some might be physically stimulating such as hikes or walks. Others will stimulate our minds, esthetics and values. As one example I visited the Charles River Museum of Industry in Waltham this week and found a real jewel as a possible activity. It has a variety of exhibits covering the early American industrial development in Waltham and Massachusetts including textiles, bicycles, automobiles, watchmaking and more. The museum is handicap accessible expect for a smaller 2nd floor exhibit.


Please contact me if you are interested in participating:

Richard Plumb at

Home: 508-285-8590,  Cell: 508-4502485

9 Mayflower Road, Norton, MA 02766

May 6:
Potluck Dinner & Movie Night

Potluck Dinner & Movie NIght 

5:30 pm -- 9:00 pm 

in the Unity Room

Featuring the film
"The Way"
Come join us on Saturday night, May 6th for our next potluck dinner and a movie discussion night. We will be showing "The Way," a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends and the challenges we face while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son's desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn't plan on is the profound impact the journey will have on him and his "California Bubble Life." On his journey, Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, each with their own issues and looking for greater meaning in their lives. Through Tom's unresolved relationship with his son, he discovers the difference between "the life we live and the life we choose."


Please bring a dish to share with others. We will set up and serve ourselves and begin eating when we start the movie at 6 pm, to give us plenty of time to view the film and discuss it afterwards.

May 6: 
Family Craft Day
Saturday, May 6th, 1 pm -- 3 pm

Murray Church in Fellowship Hall

All families are welcome to Murray Church's 1st Multi-Faith Family Craft Day. All arts and crafts will be supplied by Murray Church's Religious Education Department.

Please bring a snack to share with your Murray Church friends and our guests from aHOPE, Pawtucket Mosque, and North Smithfield Mosque.

Please bring a non-perishable item for the Murray Church Food Pantry.

Please RSVP by Wednesday, May 3rd

If you have any questions, please contact 

Amanda Aguiar at or 508-212-2950, or

Kavita Vansant at

May 7:   
Sunday Book Group
On Sunday, May 7th, 
we will discuss the novel: 
The Zookeeper's Wife 

by Diane Ackerman

  The Zookeeper's Wife is a strange, but historically true   story of WWII. It reveals the extraordinary efforts of Jan and Antonina Zabinski, Christian zookeepers horrified by Nazi racism, who capitalized on the Nazis' obsession
  with pure-blood animals in order to save over 300 doomed people by hiding them in the bombed-out cages at the Warsaw Zoo. A tale of people, animals, and   subversive acts of compassion.


After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these "guests," and human names for the animals, it's no wonder that the zoo's code name became "The House Under a Crazy Star." Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story - sharing Antonina's life as "the zookeeper's wife," while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism. Winner of the 2008 Orion Award.

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.
May 7: 

Chaminade Music Club's

Showcase Concert 
featuring pianist Ann Sears

The Chaminade Music Club will present the 

last concert of the 2016-2017 season, its 

Artist's Showcase, featuring the pianist, Ann Sears.  

The concert will be on May 7th, Sunday at 2 pm at Murray Unitarian Universalist Church located at 505 North Main Street in Attleboro.

Program on May 7 includes:  

Transcriptions of Bach by Busoni and others, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy.



 The Chaminade Music Club, named after the French composer,
  Cécile Chaminade, and established in Attleboro in 1912, welcomes
  non-members at the concerts. Admission is FREE (donations are
  appreciated) and a reception follows the performance.

May 20:
Murray Clean-Up & Barbeque
Saturday, May 20th

Due to a number of activities already scheduled at the same time as our 

Clean-Up Saturday, it was decided to postpone this event until Saturday, 

May 20th. We will have many different projects for both youth and adults. 

We will start at 8:30 am, and in the afternoon, we will have an 

all-church picnic between 12 pm -- 1  pm. 

More detailed information will be provided in early May.

May 20:
2nd Annual Taste of Faith Potluck

A group from several area mosques and Muslim organizations, three area UU churches, neighboring synagogue Agudas Achim and the Attleboro Area Interfaith Collaborative have planned our second annual Taste of Faith potluck dinner on Saturday, May 20th from 6 pm to 9 pm at the same place as last year - the Islamic School of Rhode Island, 840 Providence Street in West Warwick, RI.  


Folks are invited to bring a dish that serves 6-8 to share, representing their own ethnic or cultural heritage. Our Muslim hosts request that no pork of alcohol be served or used as an ingredient in any dish served. Please bring your own serving utensils, and an index card or piece of paper describing the ingredients in your dish, to help those with food allergies.


All members of Murray Church are invited to join in this evening of food, fun, fellowship and continued community building. Children of all ages are welcome with planned activities for the youngest ones.  


Parking lot spaces are limited, so let's meet in the Murray parking lot and carpool!

Image from Metropolitan Museum of Art.

continueTwo Steps Forward... (continued)

Our Social Concerns team has also begun to partner with the local community-based Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). As a result, the documentary "13th" was shown here at Murray last weekend. The film, which explores racial problems and our prison system, drew nearly 50 people, including many folks from the community. All of these activities, are also progress in the larger work, by any measure.


Yet even as our church and our community takes multiple steps forward in the fight against racism, we find ourselves stumbling, denominationally speaking, as the recent new hire announcement of a white male in a leadership role at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has opened up painful accusations of institutional racism. As a result, we've seen multiple resignations of top leadership at the UUA over the past few weeks, including UUA President Peter Morales. The Board has invited the Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt, the Rev. William G. Sinkford, and Dr. Leon Spencer to serve as interim co-presidents of the Association until June 24, 2017 when a new president will be elected at the Association's annual General Assembly in New Orleans.


For those attending the New England Regional conference in Woburn this weekend, programming has been shuffled to offer an opportunity for those who would like to engage deeper about the events of the past few weeks at the UUA and what we, as a people of faith, might do if we are to build the more loving, racially just and inclusive world we dream about.


There will be plenty of ways for all of us to be part of the larger conversation around race. Expect these conversations, this work, to be uncomfortable for many of us, because the conversation must include how current social, cultural and institutional systems favor people of one race over others. As a white person, I know I must be willing to be uncomfortable, and to listen to difficult, painful truths about other people's experiences, if I hope to make a meaningful dent in helping to dismantle systemic discrimination. It's a problem, and a solution, that belongs to all of us.


Our faith forebear, Unitarian minister Theodore Parker, who fought long and hard to abolish slavery, had this to say (later paraphrased by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement of the 1960s):


        I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye
        reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by
        the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am
        sure it bends towards justice.


A few steps forward, a few steps back. Such is the nature of this work. We must have lions' hearts to stay the course in these all-important conversations around race, no matter how clumsy and awkward they may be. Because participation in these crucial multicultural conversations is a form of progress -- a step forward in bending the arc of the universe ultimately towards justice.


I hope to see you in church on this Earth Day Sunday, where we will celebrate the gift and glory of trees, an essential partner in the interconnected web of life here on Planet Earth.


In love and faith,

Rev. Gretchen