Murray UU Church | 505 North Main St | Attleboro, MA 02703
May 17, 2018


. . .

"Changes: Our Bridging Ceremony"

Rev. Gretchen Weis

It's that time of year when we pause to celebrate those high school seniors who will be graduating this spring, and to celebrate those junior high school students who will be bridging up into the high school youth group.  The service will be co-lead by Kavita Vansant, our Director of Lifespan Religious Education, and members of the youth group and their teachers, around the theme of changes.

. . .



"Living With Dementia"

Rev. Jane Dwinell
& Sky Yardley

Is it possible to meaningfully participate in life despite having a disability? The Rev. Jane Dwinell and Sky Yardley have been facing this challenge since Sky was diagnosed with probable early stage Alzheimer's disease nearly two years ago. Spouses Jane and Sky will discuss their personal experiences with dementia to help to erase the stigma around this condition and offer support to others. They believe that individuals with dementia or other disabilities are not to be pitied or ignored, but to be treated with the full respect accorded to anyone.They also share their experiences on a blog:

After the service, you are invited to join our presenters for a discussion starting at 11:30 am in the John Murray Room.


. . .
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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 Lighting Our Way Through
 Financial Challenges
  by Jim Richardi

  Board President

Happy Spring 2018! We are almost at another annual meeting (all voting members, be sure to join us on Thur. May 24th at 7:00 pm in the Unity Room) and it is time to do a "look in the rear view mirror" and see where we were and where we are now to document and acknowledge our journey and accomplishments. I am so proud of how much we do as a united church community and how well we do it. Our collective annual reports are merged into a cohesive single report that makes for a very good quality read and something we can all take credit for -- also knowing that it becomes part of our permanent archives. We celebrate together and learn from our past!

I am completing my third one-year term as President -- and have been asked to serve a fourth one-year term for the 2018-2019 fiscal/program year. The nominating committee was not able to recruit a new President to take my place. I feel very fortunate to be part of the best all church T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) here.

I am pleased and so proud of the integrity and stability of the leadership we have here on the Executive Board, Program Council, and all of our committees and ad hoc task forces. It makes a major impact on how well the church operates. We can consistently offer quality programs and services along with a safe and comfortable physical plant operation. Leaders do not usually just suddenly appear out of nowhere and assume leadership roles. We recognize that in order for the church to have the best leadership we need to be intentional and help grow our leaders from within so that they are nurtured properly. Take that leap and explore your leadership potential - be part of the next generation of leaders here! Please speak with me soon about the training opportunities we can offer here and other training opportunities that are available from the New England Region Office of the UUA.

In September 2017 the Executive Board, Program Council chairpersons, Shelley Stark and Louis Jackson met for a leadership retreat event. It was a great session and we all worked very hard at our tasks. Thanks so much to all who were able to participate. It was the right way to start off the new program year. We engaged in our first serious discussion of the Black Lives Matter movement and agreed that we needed to take the next steps and be actively engaged with this critical social justice work. You will hear more about this very soon. Please be prepared to attend our All-Church Town Hall in the Unity Room and the meeting on May 20th at 11:30 am.

Our 2017 Holiday Fair was again a very successful one and the revenue from it was very good. Is there any way we can make more revenue at this event each year? We need to be vigilant about controlling expenses. Can we get to a new level by trying some new things? Do you have any ideas to share -- please contact Greg Wehmeyer who was our Co-Chairperson for the 2017 Holiday Fair. Consider being a Co-Chairperson, and help to make it all happen!

We gathered at an open congregational meeting on January 21st, 2018 for a mid-year operational and financial review after coffee hour.

It was very well attended and well received -- you seemed appreciative of the sharing of good quality information and it gave us a chance to celebrate our success to that point and acknowledge the very real challenges ahead of us. The Board will most likely continue this practice of holding a mid-year review each January going forward. Many thanks to those who worked extra hard and made the great presentations possible! 



Murray Church Annual Meeting

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

7 pm in the Unity Room

Please plan to attend.

For Annual Meeting Warrant, click [HERE].


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 20th -- Multi-gen Bridging Ceremony. Come and watch the service that is planned by our Youth Group. We will wish our seniors the best of luck in their endeavors. Nursery will be available starting at 9:45 am. 

Please note that our nursery is only for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. The John Murray room is available for older children, who may need a break during our multi-gen service.
Youth Group (Grades 9 - 12):
Sunday, May 20th -- Multi-gen Bridging Ceremony. Come cheer on your friends as they bridge to the next exciting chapter in their lives!

Jun. 9:                     SAVE THE DATE!!!

Saturday, June 9th, 6:30 pm in Fellowship Hall
Join us in Fellowship Hall as we KICK-OFF the SUMMER with a dinner on Saturday evening, June 9th, 2018. The evening begins with a social hour followed by a catered dinner from Morin's Hometown Bar & Grille. Invite family and friends; all proceeds support Murray Church!

Tickets $25 per person
On sale through June 3rd at Coffee Hour
      • Inquire about vegetarian options and child care
      • Beer and wine will be available for a small donation
      • Try your luck at winning a raffle prize!

If you require childcare, please contact Kavita at
no later than May 20th.


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,
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 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 for additional guidelines and to obtain an application.
Murray RE
Left: Making gifts for mom. Right: Reading time in the nursery.
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 or call/text 401-441-8999

or Barbara Clark at

 Murray Food Pantry 
Donations Needed:
    • Feminine Care Products
    • Personal Care Items
    • Bathroom Tissue
Thank you for your continued support! 
Murray Church Food Pantry Team 
May 19:
Volunteers Needed THIS Saturday

If it's not raining, we are looking for people to assist in working on the back of the church this Saturday, May 19th starting at 9 am and ending at noon. We will be painting the shed and back fence, as well as fixing holes and touching up the back wall.


May 20:

Sunday, May 20th, 11:30 am in the Unity Room:  

All-Church Town Hall Meeting

We will discuss the proposal to hang a 

"Black Lives Matter, Join the Conversation" banner
on our church.

This is an opportunity to listen to our Murray friends and members about the potential benefits and challenges of hanging this banner. Of course, this is also an opportunity for you to contribute to the conversation, as well.

~ You are welcome to join the conversation. ~
The Black Lives Matter Banner Committee is a partner committee

with the Social Concerns Committee

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May 23:

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:
Roger Boucher at 508-838-8249, or email at
Thank you!
May 26:
Murray Hosts Food & Friends Soup Kitchen
Murray hosts the Food & 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

For more information, please contact Stephanie Paquette at 

or (call or text) 401-603-8386.

Feel free to share this info with anyone who might be interested in helping out!

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May 27: 

Volunteer for AHOPE

"Americans Helping Others ProspEr (AHOPE) is a volunteer based organization that was established to assist new Syrian and other refugees coming to Rhode Island with little to their name. We are dedicated to helping families integrate into American society. AHOPE is an entirely volunteer based organization. Our members range from students to professionals, all dedicated to helping develop prosperous Rhode Island communities.

While our current focus is on assisting Syrian and other refugee families coming in to Rhode Island, as our name states, we hope to expand our organizational efforts to help all those in need in the greater Rhode Island community."
Below is a list of volunteer opportunities:
  • Home setup
  • Furniture Collection
  • Community Outreach
  • Media Team
  • Social Support
On Sunday, May 27th, Amanda Aguiar will have a table set up during coffee hour to help people, who are interested in volunteering for AHOPE, with the process of getting set up to volunteer, as well as, answer any questions.
May 31:
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


This is a welcoming and affirming congregation, with membership open to all!

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
          • lamps
          • 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.

Jun. 3:
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.

For our June meeting, the group decided to participate in church-wide discussions on race, racism and white privilege. 

Therefore, on Sunday, June 3, we will discuss a classic article found [HERE]: "White Privilege, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," by Peggy McIntosh. This link also provides companion pieces, "I can fix it", by damali ayo, and "The Fears of White People", by Robert Jensen. If you prefer an audio/visual approach, you could check out Peggy's 6 minute YouTube video below, and you could pay attention to the accompanying comments on the range of reactions. Or you could watch a 3 minutes YouTube, featuring news reports utilizing these concepts below. There is much to discuss here.

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

White Priviledge: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Reactions to Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Jun. 8 & 9:
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 at or call 508-243-3011 for directions on where to leave items. Last day for donations is May 20th.
Our goal is 1500 lbs of clothing! 
We are also recruiting team members if any one is interested. 

We thank you kindly in advance. 
Jun. 9:
You're Invited!

Looking for some family and adult fun? 

You're invited to the Opening Celebration of the 

Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve 

Saturday, June 9th, 2018, 10 am -- 3 pm. 

There will be something there for everyone: gardeners, history-buffs, nature and music lovers; and nature scavenger hunts, geocaching and games for kids. Our latest addition is the bluegrass band, Neponset River Ramblers.

Charlie Adler, Roy Belcher and others have been working for several years on behalf of the Attleboro Land Trust to purchase and restore these beautiful woodlands, wetlands, and fields for preservation and public enjoyment.

A detailed schedule and description of activities can be found at

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Jun. 13:                    From Green Sanctuary

To register for event click [HERE].

Presented by the Attleboro Area Sustain-Ability Group.

Did you buy this at Murray Church Holiday Fair?

If you did purchase this item, please contact LaChelle at 508-222-0505 or 

email to schedule pick up.



If furniture is not picked up by Friday, May 18th, Murray Church will donate it 

to AHOPE for refugee families.

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continueLighting Our Way... (continued)

This a tough year of financial transition as we continue to feel the loss of Markman Daycare income. The good news:  We continue to attract young families with children and our Religious Education program continues to grow. The bad news: We are a beloved community who covenants to speak truth to one another, with respect and love. So, here is the hard truth - about $15,000 of the $36,000 hit to revenues from the Markman Daycare moving out two years ago is not quite behind us yet. We have done some amazing things in the two short years since they left, helping to fix up and reclaim the back half of our building and increasing pledges by more than $21,000 total since 2016. AND, we still are feeling the rest of Markman's $36,000 shortfall - currently a $15,000 hit -- both right now in our current year's cash flow crunch, and for next year's budget as well. Let's take a closer look.

As Markman moved out, church leadership put a three-point program in place to help us replace our $36,000 loss in income:  asking people to increase pledges, renting out the offices across the hall from the church office, and adding a new annual fundraising activity to the church calendar. And for two years, it worked. We received about $10,000 in revenues each year from our renter, Pinnacle Promotions. You increased your Stewardship pledges at heroic levels - about $21,000 over the past two years. And, we hosted two Services Auction fundraisers that contributed approximately $10,000 a year to our income over the past two years.

Unfortunately, this year, we had to ask our renter to leave mid-year to be in compliance with a recent change in tax laws and with zoning ordinances. And, a large annual fundraiser didn't materialize this year to support the $10,000 fundraising income the congregation had approved in the budget for the 2017-2018 current fiscal year. As a result of no renter for half of this year and no large fundraising event this spring, the church is "in the hole" at this point in the fiscal year by approximately $15,000.  And, with no spring fundraiser planned at this point for next year, the proposed budget that will be presented at this year's annual meeting will also reflect a deficit of between approximately $9,000 to $13,000 for the year ahead, depending on which version of the proposed budget is approved. 

So, about $15,000 of the Markman "hit" to income still impacts our ability to finance a "status quo" no-frills budget, let alone help to support an increased budget to reflect the growth needs of our congregation. It is a difficult, disappointing place to be, as, like you, I had hoped we had put the Markman revenue hit behind us.

Our Stewardship Campaign in March 2018 was led by Greg Wehmeyer (many thanks for taking the lead on this effort!) and the response so far has been very generous and encouraging -- if you have not made your Pledge yet, please do so as soon as possible. We need your support!

Looking ahead for 2018-2019 requires us to see as clearly as we can and determine the difference between "where we are headed if we keep doing what we are doing and expect different results" and "where we need to head if we know we can and must do better in order to get better results."

This is a critical part of the Executive Board responsibilities -- help initiate and provide the vision - see as clearly as we can and offer guidance and leadership towards the next level and future of Murray Church.

We must control our expenses very carefully and look for any opportunities to save money. We must look for opportunities to increase space rental revenue without giving up any space over the long term. 

Our largest source of income is our pledge base which covers the majority of our expenses but is still not enough to cover all of our expenses. We need everyone who comes here and uses our programs and services on a regular basis to make a generous pledge to the best of your ability. 

If you are not presently making a pledge for FY 2017-2018 and have not made one for FY 2018-2019, please contact me as soon as possible and I will help get you started in the pledge system. The theme for the Stewardship Campaign this year is "Lighting Our Way" because we need our combined giving as a congregation in order to "keep the fires of our faith burning and light our way" in the form of sustainable programs and services. We receive no outside funding and must rely on our Members and Friends to support the church financially.  

"Lighting Our Way" also means using our own personal light and helping somehow to make our church operations successful and be the best it can be for our Members, Friends and the surrounding communities. Volunteer, become a leader, and let your light shine as a beacon of hope and inspiration for others in service to Murray Church!

Come to the annual meeting on Thursday, 5/24 at 7:00 pm in the Unity Room -- we need your participation!

Thank you so much!
Jim Richardi
President of the Executive Board