Murray Church Notes

May 14, 2020

Volume 8,  Issue 40

In this Issue:


May 21:


There will be an Annual Meeting of all members of
Murray Unitarian Universalist Church
on Zoom on Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

Please note: This will be held on Zoom.

To vote at the annual meeting, members must have signed the membership book on or before 4/9/20 and have made a recorded financial contribution to the church during the 15 months preceding the meeting.

Urgent: We Need a New Treasurer!

Our annual meeting is next week on May 21st , and we are still in search of a new Treasurer for the next church program year July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021. 

This is a vital position on the Executive Board, and it must be filled so that we can start training with our outgoing Treasurer right away. Full training and support will be provided to make sure you are successful. 

Please contact the Nominating Committee as soon as possible!

Thank you, 

Jim Richardi, Melanie Jacobs, Sheila Jacobs, Gregg LaFlamme, Patrick Kenney 

IMPORTANT: Pictures Needed for Virtual Annual Meeting Slide Show 

Prior to the start of the Annual Meeting, there will be an entertaining slide show, using Murray pictures.  This will run in the “main meeting room” while people are being admitted from the “waiting room” (for voting purposes, rules require counting and certification of members).  The virtual Annual Meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening, May 21st.

We’d like the pictures to focus on events from this church year.  If you’ve taken any pictures at Murray this year that you are willing to share, please e-mail them as soon as possible, but no later than by Tuesday, May 19 to Peter Galvin. We can use anything done while at Murray – gardening, Clean Up Sundays, Holiday Fair, RE events, Fellowship Hall, Thrift Shop, kids (but only with their parents’ permission), candle lighting in the Sanctuary, etc.  

Thank you for your help!

Living a Faithful Life in the Time of COVID  

Rev. Gretchen Weis

What does it mean to be a person of faith?  To live a faithful life?  In some religions, faith involves a belief in God, or a belief and trust that God’s loving intention is at work behind the scenes in our lives, even as we can’t know or see it.  Faith calls us to believe that all will ultimately be well. 

Or this, excerpted from Buddhist meditation instructor and author Sharon Salzberg:  Faith does not require a belief system, and is not necessarily connected to a deity or God, though it doesn’t deny one.  Faith is not a commodity we either have or don’t have – it is an inner quality that unfolds as we learn to trust our own deepest experience.  No matter what we encounter in life, it is faith that enables us to try again, to trust again, to love again.  Even in times of immense suffering, it is faith that enables us to relate to the present moment in such a way that we can go on, we can move forward, instead of becoming lost in resignation or despair.    

So, what might it mean to have faith, to live a faithful life as a UU?  Ours is a liberal religious tradition with no established doctrines or beliefs.  We encourage each person to make up their own minds about ultimate truth and mystery, based on their personal experience of whatever they hold to be the sacred.  No belief in God required.     

Yet, where and in what, or whom, do we put our faith during these troubled times?  I couldn’t help but wonder, what does it mean to live a faithful life right now, in this time of COVID-19?

   Read More    
"Roots and Wings" 

Rev. Gretchen Weis,
Kavita Vansant, DLRE,
Ruth Debrot, Youth Group Leader

It is our annual bridging ceremony, where we bid an official goodbye to the three high school seniors who will be graduating this year and bless them as they move into the next chapter of their lives. We will also be symbolically welcoming our eighth grader as she bridges up to the senior high youth group for next year. 

Let’s all log on and turn out to celebrate these young people, especially because they will not be able to enjoy the normal pomp and circumstance of graduation rituals to celebrate the end of their high school careers.
"The Last Full Measure of Devotion" 

It’s Memorial Day Sunday, a time to pause and reflect on the sacrifices of those many man and women over the centuries who gave their lives in service to this country. Typically, we acknowledge the sacrifices of men and women in uniform.  This year, I’d also like us to lift up and commemorate the loss of the many doctors, nurses, health care techs and aids, nursing home workers, EMTs, firefighters, police and other first responders who fell victim to the COVID-19 virus.  Surely, they, too, deserve our gratitude as they gave the last full measure of devotion to our nation, in a different kind of war.

It’s Official:  The Church Building Will Remain Closed for the Rest of this Church Year

There are only 5 more weeks of the official church year left.  Even if the governor begins to reopen Massachusetts starting next week, it is unclear when, and under what circumstances churches will be allowed to open safely back up.  Your Board and staff were able to get our hands on and review the CDC recommendations for reopening houses of worship.  Given all the issues we need to think about and prepare before we would be able to resume worship and Sunday School onsite again safely, it was felt the Murray Church building should remain closed for the rest of this church year.  

Summer services will take place online using Zoom.  The Board and staff will continue to monitor CDC and state guidelines in the hopes of being able to open Murray back up again in September, at the start of the new church year.  Only time will tell.  Stay tuned, as you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe!

Creating Expanded Tech Task Force to Explore 
Continuing Online Worship Capabilities Even After We Resume Normal Church

Multiple people have been impressed with how our online Zoom worship services have been 
going since the stay at home advisory went into effect.  Even as restrictions begin to lift and the 
time is right to explore reconvening back at Murray, the CDC still recommends that churches 
continue offering online worship options for those more vulnerable members of a congregation 
who would not feel safe returning to the sanctuary.

If we’re going to keep on Zooming, we’ll have some barriers to overcome:  First is, we can’t 
“broadcast” Zoom from the sanctuary because we haven’t been able to get a strong enough wifi 
signal in there to date.  

Darcy Wilson has agreed to assemble and head up a new, short-term Task Force to explore what other barriers and challenges we need to overcome to be able to continue using Zoom, even as we are able to gather safely and attend in-person worship in our sanctuary once more. Charlie Adler, our current tech support lead volunteer, will support Darcy in this effort.

Religious Education Updates for Week of May 17, 2020
This Saturday, May 16 at 2:00 pm:

Hobby Time


Bring your favorite hobby and join Kavita in an hour of hobby sharing and camaraderie!  Work on your puzzle, keep knitting, enjoy scrapbooking -- whatever brings you enjoyment!    

Click here to join via Zoom.
This Saturday, May 16:

More Work on Fellowship Hall

There is an ongoing effort to refurbish Fellowship Hall.    Work will continue this Saturday, May 16th from 9 AM to noon.   All are welcome to come help.

We will wear masks and practice social distancing.  We have a limited number of masks, so please bring your own if you are able.

              Tom Stuart
               Property Chair

Some Help for Financial Distress

This current situation is going to be impacting all of us financially in the days weeks and months ahead. There are a lot of unknowns.  The government is moving forward to be able to offer various kinds of financial assistance to people, depending on their circumstances.  In addition, Rev. Gretchen has some limited funds available in the Minister’s Discretionary Fund that might be able to help out.  Please contact her for more information.

Food Pantry Donation Suggestions

The Food Pantry is in need of ground coffee, cereal, and shelf-stable milk

Thanks from the the Food Pantry Team

Coffee Hour Coordinator Needed!

Do you love coffee and meeting new people?  Please consider becoming our new Coffee 
Hour Coordinator.  The Coffee Hour Coordinator is supported by the Membership and 
Welcoming Committee.  They provide a wealth of knowledge, support, and ideas 
throughout the year.  The Coffee Hour Coordinator ensures that we have volunteers 
signed up on a weekly basis.  If you have any questions or would like to volunteer for this 
role, please reach out to Monica Weil or Sandy Stuart.

Summer Services: One Date Left Open

Do you have a message or something meaningful you would like to share with Murray members and friends? The Religious Services Committee is planning for the summer, either in person or via ZOOM. We have one date open: August 9th.

Contact David Calusdian, Monica Staaf or Sheila Jacobs to discuss and save your date.  We will handle the logistics. Thank you!

June 24 - 28:
General Assembly Goes Virtual!    

The UUA General Assembly, which was to be held in Providence, RI from June 24 - 28th, has now been re-imagined as a virtual conference.  Registration has been reduced significantly to $150 per person.  If you have never attended a General Assembly before, we encourage you to take advantage of all of the workshops, lectures, and assemblies, including wonderful worship services using online technology.

Virtual Registrants will be able to watch and ask questions in live sessions including workshops and business sessions (mini-assemblies, hearings, etc).  Murray Church’s four voting delegates will be able to propose amendments in the live business sessions, participate in debates, and vote in general sessions.

Virtual registration for General Assembly is $150 per person.

Register Now!

Events Streamed to Virtual GA Registrants
June 24-28, 2020

Major Events

Welcoming Celebration
GA officially begins with a joyful, worshipful opening celebration with inspirational music and speakers. The opening celebration sets the tone for the days ahead. The Opening Celebration will include a procession of banners from hundreds of UU congregations and organizations.

Ware Lecture
The UUA President, in consultation with the General Assembly Planning Committee, invites a distinguished guest each year to address the General Assembly as the Ware Lecture.

Closing Celebration

General Sessions (registration not required)
Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Co-Moderators Mr. Barb Greve and Elandria Williams preside over the general sessions in which the business of the Association is conducted.

Business Mini-Assemblies
All business of the General Assembly is conducted during General Sessions. Mini-Assemblies offer opportunities in small sessions for delegates to speak on issues, find out more about individual business items before voting, and propose amendments to the business item.

Synergy Bridging Worship (registration not required)
This is a transformative multigenerational worship. Come be inspired and illuminated at a celebration of treasured worship elements, rites of passage and brilliant contemporary musical performances.

Service of the Living Tradition (registration not required)
Led by the Ministries and Faith Development Staff Group, this service honors fellowshipped and credentialed religious leaders; remembering those who have died, recognizing those who have completed active service, and welcoming those who have received fellowship or credentialed status in the past year. The service includes a collection to benefit the Living Tradition Fund. Members of the public are welcome. 

Sunday Morning Worship (registration not required)
Join us for the largest annual gathering of UUs joining in worship. The worship service will include a collection for the Tomaquag Museum, an indigenous museum featuring an extensive collection and archive of Southern New England tribal communities. Members of the public are welcome. 

A variety of workshops and special events will provide registrants with tools to live into our mission and continue the work of our faith—both within UU congregations and in the greater world. GA Youth and YA@GA (Young Adults at GA) programming and events will be held virtually.

Our full schedule of virtual programming is in development. Please check back soon at for finalized information.

Newsletter Weekly Schedule

Please e-mail all newsletter submissions by Tuesday end of day for inclusion in the following Thursday's Murray Notes.  The next deadline is May 19th. 

Please include 'NEWSLETTER' in the subject line.  

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

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