Murray Church Notes

September 20, 2018

Volume 7,  Issue 8

In this Issue:

Forgiving Seventy Times Seven Times
 By Rev. Gretchen Weis

This week, many Jews around the world were observing the High Holy Days of their faith, a 10-day period of personal reflection about wrongdoings in the past year, and seeking forgiveness from God, and from others who may have been wronged.  This period, known as the Days of Awe, concluded this week with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  For 25 hours, from sundown on Tuesday night until nightfall on Wednesday, many people fasted and attended all day prayer services at their local synagogue. 

According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes a person’s fate for the coming year into the Book of Life at the start of the new year on the Jewish calendar.  Over the next 10 days of the new year, people seek forgiveness for their past sins, including reaching out to reconcile with others, as needed.  Yom Kippur brings a close to this 10-day period, with fasting and prayer, as penitents hope God has forgiven them before the Book of Life is sealed once more, finalizing God’s judgment for the year ahead.

Our faith heritage evolved from both the Judeo-Christian tradition.  I have always admired the importance the Jewish faith puts on repentance and forgiveness.  In the Christian tradition, the book of Matthew tells a story of Peter, one of the disciples, coming to Jesus to ask how often he should forgive someone who has sinned against him.  Does forgiveness have its limits?

Here are the verses from Matthew 18: 21-22:  Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another sins against me, how often should I forgive?  As many as seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy times seven.”  In the ancient first century Mediterranean world, the number seven was considered a mystical number that represented wholeness and perfection.  (Think of the poetic origin metaphor from Genesis where the entire world is created in seven days.)  By answering that we must forgive seventy times seven, Jesus is saying we are called to countless, ongoing forgiveness.  Forgiveness has no limits.   

As our Jewish friends take time out this week to reflect on and make amends for the wrongs of the year just past, I invite us into the same spiritual exercise. If you are willing, I invite you to carve out some time to center yourself, and sit in stillness with the following questions:  Were there harmful behaviors in the past year, for which you need to acknowledge and take responsibility?   Perhaps there were disruptive or disrespectful behaviors you committed that harmed yourself?  Or harmed another person or persons?  Or perhaps there was a disruption or upset in your relationship with God, or whatever you experience as sacred that  something larger than yourself?  Do you need to make amends?  Is there a behavior you might wish to change in the year ahead?  Is there someone you need to reach out to and seek forgiveness for a past wrong?  Is there a relationship that might be ready for deeper mending and reconciliation?

Taking responsibility, and offering up a sincere apology for whatever we have done wrong is a powerful spiritual practice.  The power for each of us comes from doing our part in the dance of forgiveness: that act of taking ownership for our behavior, and reaching out to apologize.  We need to remember that just because we apologized doesn’t mean we will receive forgiveness in return from those we have harmed.  The person who has been wronged may or may not be ready to forgive us, or we may not be ready to forgive another – it remains a choice in the give and take of the spiritual practice of atonement and reconciliation.

All of us are perfectly imperfect, works in progress.  I wish you blessings for whatever reconciliations you find the courage to pursue, as you work to keep your key relationships open, clear and fresh for the year ahead.  And, as always, my door is open if you find yourself struggling with a particular situation around wrongdoing and forgiveness and would like some spiritual support and guidance.

Right relationship begins when we take responsibility for the path we cut through this world, when we own the harm we may have knowingly or unknowingly caused others, when we seek forgiveness for our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  It’s about living lives of integrity.   

All are invited to join us this Sunday, as we explore how personal integrity and character matters -- now more than ever -- as the edges of civility continue to fray in our nation’s public discourse, including social media.

In love and faith,
Rev. Gretchen
Thank you to Claire Kenney and Maddie Reinhagen for putting together the bulletin board.
Religious Education for Sunday, September 23
The RE program will be sending small care packages to our young adults who are
attending college. This is to remind them that we here at Murray Church are thinking of them and that we support them in their pursuits. Our goal is to send the packages twice a year, in the late fall and late spring, before final exams.
If you have a college student who would welcome a care package, please email Kavita at with your student's name and a recent photo, and the name of the student's college or university.
Children (Grades K-7):

We will begin in the service and then head to the Unity Room to focus on our 7th
Principle.  Our topic will be energy!
Youth Group (Grades 8-12):

We will begin at 10 am in the Purple Chat Room.  We will then begin our walk, eat breakfast, finish planning and play games.  Please dress appropriately for the weather. 

Religious Education is in need of lids!
- Plastic lids from Cool Whip containers and/or large yogurt containers.
-Empty spray bottles.
 Please make sure these items are thoroughly cleaned.  The items can be dropped off in Kavita’s office.  Thanks!
RE Underway this Week- Have you Registered?

Have you registered for the 2018-19 children's programming year? The process takes just a moment to complete. We kick off this week and we need to have everyone's children registered.

Here are the links:
       Child (Nursery-7th grade):
       Youth Group (8-12 grades)

PLEASE, also take the time to read the RE Safety Guidelines and Protocols we use for our children:

Our Shared Journey

Jessica (left) and Katia Toussaint celebrated the dedication of their six-month-old twins, Rumi (left) and Mahalia, during the September 16th service, while big brother Kai joined in the fun.

BLM Town Hall Meeting September 23

Unity Room

There will be a Town Hall meeting after church on Sunday, September 23 at 11:30 am (ending before 1 pm) to announce the results of the BLM survey and to continue our discussion on the proposal to hang a banner outside the church. Please note that child care will be available between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please contact Rev. Gretchen or Bruce Field, Chair of the Social Concerns committee.

Make your Voice Heard!
If you have not completed the Black Lives Matter banner survey, here is the link:

It is a brief, four-question survey, that you can complete in a few minutes.

Candlelight Vigil 

September 26, 2018
6:00 pm at Murray Church
Wednesday, September 26th

Remembering those our community has lost to Overdose and Suicide in the Past Year

Immediately following the vigil, the public is invited
to celebrate the one-year anniversary of
the You Are Not Alone Drop-In Center

Sponsored by the Greater Attleboro Recovery Network
Landscaping Postponed to September 29

The work session planned for Saturday, September 22nd, has been postponed one week to Saturday, September 29th.  The Property Committee needs some young (under 60) muscle to help us remove some of the many tree trunks that are around our property.  There will be a number of priorities, including grinding some stumps out of the ground, drilling some stumps so we can begin rotting them away, and chain sawing some stumps so they are level with the ground.

We will work in shifts, starting at 9 AM.  There will be lunch at noon, and beer, soda and snacks at 4:30.

Email Tom Stuart at to sign up.  There will also be signup sheets at coffee hour.


Clara Barton Guild Luncheon Meeting

Our next meeting is Monday, October 1, at 11:45 a.m. in the John Murray Room.  All interested women are welcome to join us for food and fellowship.  Bring your sandwich or salad.  Beverages and dessert are provided.  We will  be checking in after the summer and planning for our Rummage Sale.

Clara Barton Guild Fall Rummage Sale

OCTOBER 12 & 13, 2018

The Clara Barton Guild needs your gently used clothing, shoes, jewelry, toys, books and working household items for our Fall Rummage Sale to be held on Friday, October 12, and Saturday, October 13, both days from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Please bring your items to Fellowship Hall starting October 1, labeled for Clara Barton.  If you need help bringing items to church, please contact Bev Hall (508-222-9324).  Please note:  We appreciate receiving your items by Wednesday, October 10, so we have time to sort and display.  Proceeds from the Rummage Sale help support Murray Church and other charitable organizations.  

Sunday Book Group Meets October 7th 

THE SUNDAY BOOK GROUP meets the first Sunday of the month at 11:30 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 the group, of reasonable length, and library accessible.

For our October 7th meeting, the group will discuss any of the books we read over the summer, books we recommend, and books we want to read. We’ll then make our book group selection for our next meeting.

Have Your Photo Taken Free for the Murray Church Directory!

It’s time to update the church photo directory.  Come have your photo taken after worship in Harmony Hall, the first three Sundays in October.  We invite all Murray members and friends — especially our many newcomers — to have your photo taken.  There is no charge to have your photo taken for our church directory.  We encourage everyone — individuals, couples, families and even family pets to participate, as we update our directory for the 2018-2019 church year.  Once again, we are pleased to have the professional photography experience of church member Phil Frink behind the camera lens.

Photo shoot dates: October 7, 14 and 21

Halloween Carnival

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 Andrea Dion-Purdy at for additional guidelines and to obtain an application.
Donations Needed! 
  • Bathroom tissue
  • Feminine care products
  • Personal care items: soap, shampoos, deodorant, toothpaste, shaving cream, etc.

Cookies, cookies, cookies!!

The Holiday Fair Bakeshop is in full swing. Many thanks to all who have donated ingredients. It is helping to offset our costs. If you picked up a donation card, please bring your items to the kitchen by 9/23. We continue to need many pounds of butter and anise flavoring, and confectioners sugar. Workshops are Tuesday and Saturday morning and Sunday after services. See you in the kitchen!


Cookie Monster Kitchen Workshops

  • Tuesday mornings 9:00 am to noon from now through November 6.
  • Saturday mornings 9:00 am to noon from now through November 3.
  • Sunday morning workshops, 11:45 am following worship to early afternoon on September 16 and 23.
Newsletter weekly schedule!

Please email all newsletter submissions by Tuesday end of day for inclusion in the following Thursday's Murray Notes. Please note in the subject line: FOR NEWSLETTER. This will ensure your entry is not missed. The next deadline is September 25.

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

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