" The Promise and the Practice of Our Faith"
Rev. Gretchen Weis
& the Social Concerns Committee
Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) was recently formed to give voice and expand opportunities to people of color in our association of churches. This worship service was designed by BLUU to feature the words and music of people of color. Murray will be one of hundreds of churches throughout the denomination doing this special service. This BLUU worship experience is a part of our ongoing work to honor and expand the inherent worth and dignity, as well as, the lived experience of every person.
"This is to Mother You: Stories of Nurturing and Being Nurtured"
Religious Services Committee
We are cared for, and care for others, in so many different ways. On this Mother's Day, members of the Murray community reflect on all of those who play the role of nurturer in various aspects of our lives.
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
Three weeks ago, two men arrived 10 minutes early for a business meeting at a Starbucks in Philadelphia. Upon arriving, one man asked to use the restroom. He was told it was for paying customers only. The two then sat down to wait for their business associate. The manager walked over to the two men to ask if she could help get them drinks or water. They politely declined. Two minutes later, she called the police to report "two gentlemen in my café are refusing to make a purchase or leave." The police arrived, the two men were handcuffed and arrested, charged with trespassing and creating a disturbance.
The two young men were black. The Starbucks manager was white. This is just one more of countless examples of how differently people are treated across America based on the color of their skin. In my experience, many people walk into a Starbucks, and sit at tables, sometimes for hours with a computer, or talking with other people. Some order drinks, some don't. Imagine two white women coming into Starbucks to sit and wait for another person. Do you think the manager would have called the police, and the police would have handcuffed and hauled away two white women because they were sitting at a table and hadn't ordered yet?
Ours is a faith that believes in the inherent worth and dignity of all people. Doesn't that mean people of color deserve the same benefit of the doubt, the same respect, the same treatment as most white people receive in our culture? Instead, thanks to generations of systemic racism and unconscious bias, many blacks, especially young black men, are often assumed to be up to no good, trailed in department stores assuming they are there to steal something, arrested for sitting at a table in a public restaurant waiting for a friend without ordering something. Worse yet, our nation has seen the horrors of young black men, so many of them unarmed, killed in confrontations with police.
This ongoing cultural assault against the dignity of people of color has to stop. It begins with awareness. Nearly 20 people gathered last night as part of Social Concern's first Black Lives Matter banner task force, to talk about hanging a Black Lives Matter banner here at Murray Church. People felt passionate about this as a moral imperative, a justice-based response to the racism we see over and over again in our larger culture -- an expression of our most deeply held ethical, and religious values.
A Black Lives Matter banner sparks the crucial conversation about race that people in our nation must begin to have, if we are to dismantle systems that support the dominance of one race over all others - white supremacy - in our nation. The conversation has been going on for awhile here at Murray, and was most recently re-ignited when Lucia Field, Shelley Stark and Louis Jackson, three Murray church members, shared their stories and first hand experiences of racism from the pulpit earlier this spring. The momentum to hang a Black Lives Matter banner was born from that worship service.
The banner task force is fully aware that a Black Lives Matter banner is not without controversy. The Black Lives Matter movement was born on social media five years ago in the wake of George Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting death of black teen Trayvon Martin in Florida. The movement gained momentum the following year during street demonstrations following the deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers: Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City. Black Lives Matter has grown to become an internationally recognized symbol of the fight against racial profiling, police brutality and racial inequality in the U.S. criminal justice system.
There is no question the Black Lives Matter message can be controversial, sometimes even polarizing. The phrase "All Lives Matter" has sprang up in response. Unfortunately, "All Lives Matter" dismisses or misunderstands the message of "Black Lives Matter." In his book, Democracy in Black, Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., head of African American Studies at Princeton, describes a "value gap" in American life -- an underlying perception that white lives are valued more than other peoples lives, especially people of color. Glaude claims this value gap is baked into the DNA of our culture. While that can result in overt discrimination, Glaude believes it also contributes to more insidious unconscious habits of racial preference, privilege and discrimination. Glaude would say to those people who respond with "All Lives Matter," that they are missing the point. Black Lives Matter is not proclaiming that black lives matter more than white lives. It is a statement declaring that black lives matter as much as white lives in our value gap culture.
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.
Children (Grades K - 8):
Sunday, May 6th -- Spirit Group. We will begin in the service and then head to the Unity Room to learn more about our 7th principle. We will study soil and how it affects the web of life. PLEASE DRESS YOUR CHILD FOR THE OUTDOORS.
Youth Group (Grades 9 - 12):
Friday, May 4th
-- UUnited in Taunton from 7 pm -- 9 pm.
Sunday, May 6th -- We will begin in service then head to the Purple Chat Room to plan the Bridging Ceremony, which is scheduled for Sunday, May 20th.
Our children learned how to reduce waste during their Earth Day Spirit Group.
Jun. 9: SAVE THE DATE!!!
Spring Into Summer Fundraising Dinner
Saturday, June 9th 6:30 PM
Murray Church Fellowship Hall
Come join Murray Church as we KICK-OFF the SUMMER with a dinner on Saturday evening, June 9th, 2018. The evening will begin with a social hour and a catered dinner by Morin's Hometown Bar & Grille. Tickets are $25 per person. Beer and wine will also be sold.
Tickets go on sale at coffee hour on Sunday, April 29th, 2018.
From the Caring Circle
Caring by Cooking: We Need Frozen Meals
Inviting all cooks to consider making a larger quantity of soup or complete meal and packaging it for Mrs. Murray's freezer. Freezer meals are available for Murray members and friends who find themselves in difficult and challenging life situations and for whom a break from cooking would be a big help. Diabetic-friendly and low sodium meals are especially appreciated at this time. Washable disposable deli and take-out containers make perfect receptacles. Please label your donation with contents, date, your name if you wish, and Caring Circle and put them in the upright freezer in Fellowship Hall. For questions and to have your donation added to our inventory, please contact Barbara Clark
, 508-222-6164, firstname.lastname@example.org
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].
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 at 9 am to get the coffee going and setup, clean up takes about 1/2 an hour) and we really need volunteers! Let's keep Murray members and friends caffeinated and in the happy zone.
Contact Monica Weil at
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 31st, 2018. For an application, please click [HERE].
Murray UU Church Scholarships Available
Limited funds are available from the scholarship funds for this church year. The Scholarship Fund is administered by the Board of Deacons and 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 attending UU General Assembly in June. Applications should be submitted to the Board of Deacons and Deaconesses for approval. Please contact Donna Cooke at email@example.com for additional guidelines and to obtain an application.
| Murray Food Pantry
- Feminine Care Products
- Personal Care Items
- Toilet Paper
Thank you for your continued support!
Murray Church Food Pantry Team
| Jun. 13:
From Green Sanctuary
Can We Talk About Climate Change?
Wednesday, June 13th, 2018 from 6:30 -- 8:00 pm
Attleboro Public Library, Balfour Room
Join in on the conversation!
Presented by the Attleboro Area Sustain-Ability Group, this event will showcase a TEDTalk and brief video on Climate Change, followed by a discussion with:
Environmental Science Department
Bristol Community College
We'll present hopeful messages on how to talk about
what has become a difficult and polarizing topic.
To register for this event, please click [HERE].
Questions? Contact the Attleboro Area Sustain-Ability Group at:
The BCD Board invites you to the
Ballou Channing District Annual Meeting
Saturday, May 5th, 9 am -- 12:30 pm
at Murray Church in Attleboro, MA
Come worship, deliberate, learn and network with your fellow UUs. Featured speaker Nadiya Brock of Essential Partners, will lead a workshop on the challenge and art of having difficult conversations. Continental breakfast and abundant snacks provided. See the BCD website at www.uua.org/new-england/districts/ballou-channing-district for the Call to Meeting and other information. To register, click [HERE].
Sunday Book Group
THE SUNDAY BOOK GROUP 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 open-minded 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 accessible.
On Sunday, May 6th, we will discuss,
Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the
Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, she intertwines these modes of awareness, the analytic and the emotional, the scientific and the cultural, to ultimately reveal a path toward healing the rift that grows between people and nature.
Murray Men's Lunch Bunch
Inviting all Murray men to join us for lunch, the second Tuesday of each month, at Morin's Diner in downtown Attleboro. This is a very informal gathering for conversation and fellowship. No reservation required, just come as you are. If you need a ride, please call Rob Hasselbaum at 774-282-0818, a few days in advance, and transportation will be arranged.
The next luncheon is on Tuesday, May 8th at noon.
Look for us in the back room of Morin's, if you don't see us -- just ask!
WE COULD REALLY USE YOUR HELP
to Unload Food Delivery Trucks
The Food Pantry receives 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.
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 on those days, who would like a light workout, please contact:
Looking for Furniture Donations
Our friends at AHOPE (Americans Helping Others ProsPEr) have been resettling a number of new families into our area and are in need of the following:
- chairs for tables
- coffee and end tables
- kitchen tables and chairs
- bureaus / dressers
- pots & pans
- small appliances
These new families include quite a number from Puerto Rico -- people whose homes have been totally destroyed or for whom electricity has not yet been restored.
The good news is that AHOPE will come to you to pick up any furniture you have to donate.
Please contact Mayss Bajbouj at 508-496-7733 to schedule a furniture pick-up.
All Church Discussion: Black Lives Matter banner
Sunday, May 20th in Harmony Hall, following worship
The Social Concerns Black Lives Matter banner task force is considering hanging a Black Lives Matter banner at Murray Church and invites every one to come to a town hall meeting to discuss this possibility. We encourage all to grab a cup of coffee and come to Harmony Hall to share your thoughts, feelings and concerns. This is an important conversation and we hope to have as many church members participate.
For more information, please see Rev. Gretchen's column in today's newsletter for more background information about this activity, or contact Social Concerns Chair Bruce Field at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-930-6865.
New Member Orientation Classes
Are you interested in joining Murray Church?
Come learn more about Unitarian Universalism,
about Murray Church, and about the benefits of
belonging to this faith community.
Our first class will be held on Thursday, May 31st
in the John Murray Room at 7 pm, and the second
class will be on Sunday, June 3rd, following
worship in the John Murray Room.
New Member Sunday will be on June 10th.
Please let Rev. Gretchen or LaChelle know if you
are interested in participating and joining,
508-222-0505 or email@example.com
Childcare can be arranged by contacting Kavita Vansant at firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than Wednesday, May 16th.
This is a welcoming and affirming congregation, with membership open to all!
Seeking Donations for Relay for Life / Savers Event
The Rainbow Chasers are getting ready for Relay for Life at Norton High School on June 8th & 9th. We are collecting clothes and small household items. If you have items you want to donate, please contact Laurie Lawes
or call 508-243-3011 for directions on where to leave items.
Our goal is 1500 lbs of clothing!
We are also recruiting team members if any one is interested.
We thank you kindly in advance.
Did you buy this at Murray Church Holiday Fair?
If you did purchase this item, please contact LaChelle at 508-222-0505 or
email email@example.com to schedule pick up.
If furniture is not picked up by Friday, May 11th, Murray Church will donate it
to AHOPE for refugee families.
|...Join the Conversation (continued)
Rev. Gretchen Still others have perceived "Black Lives Matter" as a statement against police, prompting some to post "Blue Lives Matter" banners. Clearly there is education work needed if people are to understand that justice requires us to call out and change the horrific, violent, discriminatory police practices. It is not a condemnation of all police. This church can certainly be proud of and value the anti-racism work, anti-police brutality work we have built through forming the Greater Attleboro Interfaith Network (GAIN) in partnership with local government leaders, including our local police department to help prevent the kinds of tragic deaths of people of color that have happened in Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, Minneapolis and so many other cities in the U.S. Thanks to this all-important work, the Attleboro Police Department voluntarily provided unconscious bias training for all of its officers who interact with the public, including those who manage the front desk and phones. It is a good start in helping to create a safer, more loving and just world, beginning in our own back yard.
But, what would hanging a Black Lives Matter banner here at Murray Church mean to us, as a justice-seeking people? What would it mean to you, personally? What crucial conversations, what issues and concerns might we need to explore both within and beyond our church walls to prepare to make such a bold and courageous statement by hanging a banner?
Many at last night's task force meeting loved the banners our friends in faith at the First Parish Church of Concord, MA, posted outside their church: Black Lives Matter. Join the Conversation.
Black Lives Matter. Join the Conversation. If we believe in liberty, equality, justice and opportunity for all people, isn't this THE conversation of our lives? And certainly in these times, when the voices of racial intolerance and hate have been on the rise?
We recognize it is not an easy conversation to have. Conversations about racial justice, white privilege and long-standing systemic oppression often make some people uncomfortable. But it invites us to move past our discomfort, to move from safe space into brave space, together.
The Black Lives Matter banner task force is inviting all of us to continue this conversation at deeper, richer, respectful levels starting first, among ourselves at Murray Church. Black Lives Matter. What does that phrase mean to you? How do you feel about hanging a banner that says "Black Lives Matter: Join the Conversation" at Murray Church? What excites you about hanging such a banner? What frightens you? What might anger and upset you? What would such a public statement be teaching our youth and children? How might it impact our relationship with the larger community? These are some questions, and there are so many more. What are your burning questions? We want to hear from any and everyone who wishes to share their thoughts and concerns.
Please plan to join the banner task force at a town hall meeting following worship on Sunday, May 20th in Harmony Hall. Grab your coffee and come be part of this
all-important, all-inclusive conversation!
Let these words from colleague Gil Rendle guide us: Conversation is the currency of change. What we invite people to talk about, to think about, to pray about, determines the path that we will follow into the future.
And, please plan to join us this Sunday, as we offer a unique worship experience designed by the Black Lives of UU movement. "The Promise and Practice of our Faith" service has been presented in churches throughout the nation. All elements of the service were written by people of color in our faith. The intent of the service is to use these materials, as is, read as they were written, no matter what the race of the person presenting them. This will bring voices more traditionally from the margin to be heard front and center throughout our sanctuaries coast to coast. I will co-lead this service along with many members of the Social Concerns team. It promises to be an uplifting, provocative and important service in our faith movement. I look forward to seeing you there!
In love and faith,
And in a deep, abiding belief
In the inherent worth and dignity
Of all peoples,
And in the work of building
The world we dream of,