"The Gifts of
Rev. Gretchen Weis
Most of us struggle in the pain of major life losses - from the death of a loved one, to the loss of a relationship, or the loss of health, or our physical abilities. Then there's unexpected life changes like the loss of a job, or a home, or a move to a new community. It is difficult living through the most challenging times in our lives. Yet, when we look back, many of us find that adverse experiences helped to stretch us in unexpected ways, and may have led us to new ways of understanding ourselves and the world. How did the most challenging times of your life help you become the person you are today? This sermon topic was selected by the services auction winner last spring.
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"How, Then Shall We Live"
Rev. Gretchen Weis
Who am I? What do I love? How shall I live, knowing I will die? What is my gift to the family of the Earth? These four questions invite us into shaping the deeper meaning and purpose of our lives. Together, we will explore these four questions
that inspired me in a book by minister and therapist Wayne Muller, as we consider how these questions might open
us to greater transformation and wholeness.
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
Town Hall Meeting Sparks Rich, Meaningful Conversation
by Rev. Gretchen Weis
Hanging a Black Lives Matter banner would be taking a public moral stand - choosing not to be silent in the face of ongoing racial discrimination and systemic injustice.
It may trigger the haters. The banner and the church building might be subject to vandalism.
We would be making a theological statement - our belief in the inherent worth and dignity of all people, regardless of race, creed, socio-economic background or national origin.
The Black Lives Matter movement has been polarizing. Many people may not understand, or may misinterpret our intentions. It may divide our congregation and the community.
We would be affirming and celebrating the people of color within our church community. We would hope to welcome in greater diversity here at Murray. It would send a message that all people are truly welcome here.
We value our partnership with the police. Some of them may see the banner as an anti-police statement. What might happen to the valuable work we do with the police through the Greater Attleboro Interfaith Network (GAIN) and the Greater Attleboro Recovery Network (GARN) opioid addiction community drop in center we host here at Murray?
If we hang a banner that states "Black Lives Matter. Join the Conversation," we are inviting people within our church and our community into the larger shared discussion about the problems of race in our own denomination, in our predominantly white churches, in our local community, in our nation.
Hanging a banner is just the beginning - not the end of the conversation. We need to make it clear when and how people can come be part of the larger conversation and the ongoing work.
* * * * *
These were just a few of the benefits and challenges of hanging a Black Lives Matter banner outside the church that more than 50 of you identified and discussed at our first banner town hall meeting on May 20th. Together, you created brave space to hear people's passionate feelings and deepest concerns about making such a public declaration. Click [HERE] to see a list of the many issues identified and discussed at the town hall.
At Murray, rich, meaningful conversations around race have been taking place all year, within our board and leadership team, our Social Concerns committee and the white privilege study group that met monthly to discuss Debbie Irving's book "Waking Up White." Perhaps most powerful of all have been the discussions from the pulpit, including long time Murray members Shelley Stark and Louis Jackson, whose insights challenged us to become more truly welcoming to people of color, including choosing to take a stand and hang a Black Lives Matter banner.
The Black Lives Matter banner task force was created and includes about 25 people from throughout the congregation. The task force identified a number of internal communication activities and conversation opportunities that need to happen as we consider among ourselves the proposal to hang a banner. The team also identified external activities and crucial conversations with key community stakeholders in the weeks and months ahead before the decision to hang a banner would take place.
The task force also defined a process for deciding. As the official church year reconvenes in the fall, the Social Concerns team intends to put a proposal before the Executive Board to hang a banner outside the church that would read: "Black Lives Matter. Join the Conversation." The Board will consider the proposal, and, if they approve, they will move to call a congregational meeting for all eligible church-voting members to decide. To be eligible to vote at a congregational meeting, a person must be at least 16 years of age, have been a member of the church for at least 45 days, and must have made a recorded financial contribution to the Church during the 15 months prior to the meeting.
Our first town hall meeting was a huge success, with a good turnout and honest, heartfelt conversation. More conversations are planned. If a larger town hall setting isn't your style, we are offering smaller one-on-one or small group discussions during coffee hour in the Woodland Room starting this Sunday, June 3rd and next Sunday, June 10th. A member of the Black Lives Matter banner task force will be available to answer questions and to hear your input. Please grab a cup of coffee and head to the Woodland Room to be a part of this vital ongoing conversation on a smaller scale.
Or, perhaps you might consider coming to Book Group this Sunday in the John Murray Room following worship. The Book Group will be discussing Dr. Peggy McIntosh's work, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack." To access that short, powerful and informative essay, please click [HERE].
Talking about race isn't easy - it makes many of us uncomfortable. As it should. It is a difficult, painful topic. Our willingness to be uncomfortable is a blessing. It is the root of positive transformation, if we are to build a better world of love, justice and equality for all people. Our discomfort allows us to grow, to understanding how we might be unwittingly contributing to the problem. Conversations around race invite us outside our comfort zone, beyond safe space, into brave space. Here, in brave space, we are offered opportunities to see ourselves in the interdependent story of race. It's not just a black problem, it's an "all of us" problem. And, we are offered an opportunity to shift from being part of the problem to becoming part of the long-term solution.
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, June 3rd -- Spirit Group for the 7th Principle! We will begin in the service and then head to the Unity Room. Later we will go outside to explore nature. Please dress your child for the outdoors which includes sunscreen and bug spray.
Youth Group (Grades 9 - 12):
Sunday, June 3rd -- We will begin in the service and then head to the Purple Chat Room. Monica Staaf and Heidi Ferreira will lead a class on nature journaling. Please bring your journals from the last class you had on journaling. Please dress appropriately for the outside which includes sunscreen and bug spray.
New Member Orientation Classes -- TONIGHT! --
in Harmony Hall
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
Harmony Hall at 7 pm, and the second class will be on
Sunday, June 3rd, following worship in Harmony Hall.
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
This is a welcoming and affirming congregation,
with membership open to all!
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!
THIS Sunday's Dedicated Offering:
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)
This Sunday, our Dedicated Offering will support the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Recently, we have done so through the Guest at Your Table boxes, with our children and youth. This Sunday, we will do so through the Dedicated Offering.
The UUSC is a tireless, effective organization that impressively uses our donations very efficiently to address a variety of issues in our nation and around the world. When faced with a problem, it finds existing organizations who are doing the best work, and establishes a partnership with them - to provide resources to even more good work. Unlike some other organizations, it works to help the most marginalized peoples in an affected location, for instance: in Burma/Myanmar, it is working to relieve the conditions of the Rohinga people; in Haiti, it has partnered with those displaced by earthquakes to build selfsufficient
villages; in the farmlands of California, it has helped to provide clean water for drinking, washing and bathing for farm workers.
It is doing so much in so many places, so we refer you to the UUSC website: www.uusc.org
We welcome your contribution to the Dedicated Offering. If you write a check, please make it out to Murray Church, write the name of the organization on the memo line, and we will combine our contributions into a single check. Thank you for your generosity, as we work to put our faith into action.
| Jun. 3 & 10:
Come Join the Conversation during Coffee Hour!
We Want to Hear from You!
Want to discuss the proposed Black Lives Matter banner, but were not able to come to the town hall meeting? Or, perhaps you'd feel more comfortable expressing your thoughts and concerns in a small group setting.
Then plan to join us in the Woodland Room this Sunday June 3rd, during coffee hour, to ask questions and share your thoughts in a quiet, smaller group setting. We'll be offering another small group session during coffee hour in the Woodland Room on Sunday June 10th, as well.
We want to hear from you. Come join the conversation.
Let us be brave, together.
A Summer Service Preview...
Barbara Clark will be doing a lay-led service July 1st titled "Saving Our Democracy." Because signatures are due June 19th on a Massachusetts initiative petition related to the service, she will have petitions available at coffee hour for signing this Sunday, June 3rd.
The goal of People Govern Not Money is an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to overturn Citizens United v. FEC.
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
Jun. 3: THIS SUNDAY!!!
"Choral Settings of Folk Songs"
Presented by The Prolatio Singers
Don't miss "Choral Settings of Folk Songs" presented by the Prolatio Singers, conducted by Dennis Ferguson. The concert will be presented in the format of a lecture-recital, begins at 3 pm.
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.
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.
Murray Food Pantry
- Feminine Care Products
- Personal Care Items
- Spring & Summer Clothing: gently used and clean
Thank you for your continued support!
Murray Church Food Pantry Team
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-minute YouTube video, featuring news reports utilizing these concepts below. There is much to discuss here.
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Reactions to Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Clara Barton Guild
At Lafayette House in Foxboro
Monday, June 4th at 11:30 am
The Clara Barton Guild will hold their spring luncheon on Monday, June 4th, at the Lafayette House on Route 1 in Foxboro. Reservations are for 11:30 am.
If anyone would like to carpool to Foxboro, we will meet at Murray Church at 11:00 am and depart the church by 11:15 am. If you would like to have a ride from the church to the luncheon, please call Bev Hall.
We welcome new people to join us. If you have any
questions, please call Bev at 508-222-9324.
Support the Rainbow Chasers!
Relay for Life at Norton High School on June 8th & 9th.
We are also recruiting team members.
If you are interested, please contact Laurie Lawes
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-243-3011.
We thank you kindly in advance.
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.
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There will be something there for everyone: gardeners, history-buffs, nature and music lovers; as well as, 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.
"God Save the QUEENS" at Greenwich Odeum Theater
Providence Gay Men's Chorus (PGMC) has gotten rave reviews from our Murray members. Membership & Welcoming is carpooling at 3:00 pm from Murray Church down to the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich, RI on Sunday, June 10th.
You'll buy your own $25 ticket by going to the PGMC website www.provgmc.org, for the June 10th performance of "God Save the Queens."
RSVP to Sandy Stuart at email@example.com. This has been called a "positive" and "uplifting" musical event, something we can all certainly use!
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, June 12th 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:
Jun. 13: From Green Sanctuary
To register for event click [HERE].
Presented by the Attleboro Area Sustain-Ability Group.
Save the Date!
Saturday Night, June 16th Providence Pride Parade
Come join in the fun of the 43rd Illuminated Night Pride Parade in Providence on Saturday evening, June 16th. The parade steps off at 8:15 pm, but we will need to gather and meet up with folks from other area UU Churches in parade formation usually around 7:00 pm. Those interested in having dinner together first may meet up at Morin's around 5:00 pm before we head to Providence. If you are interested in carpooling, plan to meet at the Murray parking lot by no later than 6:15 pm. All are encouraged to wear UU related T-shirts or gear and consider Mardi-Gras beads or other fun items that glow in the dark! We typically have 25 or more folks come from Murray and all ages are welcome! For more information, please see Rev. Gretchen.
Photo from Boston Globe.
Town Hall Meeting (continued)
All are invited to join the conversation. As a people of faith, how can we remain silent? White silence in this issue allows the status quo to continue, unchallenged. In the past six weeks alone, we have seen the status quo consciously or unconsciously at work. Consider these recent events:
- Two young black men are arrested for creating a public disturbance at a Philadelphia Starbucks. Their crime? They were sitting at a table waiting for a third business associate to meet them. They hadn't ordered anything yet. So the white manager called the police to get them out of the store.
- At a dorm in Yale, a white student finds a black woman asleep on the couch in the common room in the wee hours and calls the police to get her out. The black woman is also a student who happens to live in the same dorm. She just fell asleep while working all night on a paper.
- Three black people check out of an Airbnb in California and are loading luggage into their car. A white neighbor calls the police, on the suspicion that the two black women and one black man must be stealing something. Eight police cars screech up to the scene and ask the black people to freeze and put their hands up. The police officers questioning the travelers have never heard of Airbnb. Fortunately, the homeowner's name and phone number are printed on the paperwork. Yet it takes 45 minutes for the police to reach the homeowner and clear up the misunderstanding.
- And then there is television actress Roseanne Barr and her racist tweet earlier this week insulting Valerie Jarrett, a black woman, who served as a high level advisor to President Obama during his administration. ABC immediately cancelled her show going forward, no matter how successful the first season reboot had been.
These are just a few of the countless aggressions and micro-aggressions that people of color experience in everyday life in white-dominated America -- messages that say, you are not welcome in my world. You must be up to no good sitting in my coffee shop, sleeping in my dorm, loading a car with luggage in my neighborhood. Beyond these cultural aggressions, there are the disproportionate number of unarmed young black men killed in interactions with police, and the significant majority of people of color occupying America's jails.
Ours is a broken system and it is time for our nation to wake up and begin to unravel the white supremacy culture that treats one group of people in so many countless ways as "less than." In a broken world that tells people of color, in so many ways, "you are not welcome here," how might Murray Church, and we, as a people of faith, extend a bold message that says to all people of color: "You are, indeed, welcome here, valued here, respected here, included here, loved here." If you haven't done so yet, please join the conversation.
And, please plan to join us this Sunday as we explore how the most difficult, painful and challenging times of our lives might just be opportunities that stretch us into living more fully? Murray member Christine Terrault purchased this sermon topic at last spring's Services Auction.
In love and faith,