Murray UU Church | 505 North Main St | Attleboro, MA 02703
October 12, 2017
. . .

"Living In Anxious Times"

Rev. Gretchen Weis

Life is full of uncertainty. The rate of change in our digital world continues to increase. 

Today's news can feel overwhelming. Life often feels beyond our control. We are living in anxious times. 

What can we do in the face of today's challenges, to take good care of ourselves, and of our children -- to find our way back to center when life feels chaotic?

. . .



"Exploring Diwali:  Let there Be Light"

Rev. Gretchen Weis

Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere. It is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, and includes millions of lights and lamps shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings. Diwali spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Kavita Vansant helps co-lead this multi-generational worship as we explore some spiritual and cultural diversity, together.


. . .
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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Bless the Space Between Us
  by Rev. Gretchen Weis
I marvel at the power relationships have to open us, sometimes to break  us wide open, sometimes to simply break us, as they invite us into the  possibility of deeper learning, invite us to cross cultural and racial  divides, invites us into transformation.  

  I also marvel at the power of random chance that brings people into one another's lives. It is these chance happenings that set lives into motion, open up new worlds of possibility. Think of your own relationship stories, perhaps with a partner, or a close friend, or the chance meeting between your parents, or your grandparents. 

 About 100 years ago, a young lady named Helen was enjoying a Sunday afternoon outing in the Cincinnati harbor on the paddleboat, the Ohio Riverboat Queen. Given that it was a Sunday, I imagine she would have been dressed up for church in her Sunday best, from her button up shoes to a long dress, her white gloves and a hat.  

A young steelworker, rough around the edges, named George, also happened to be on that paddleboat. Perhaps he might have been wearing his Sunday best, too. "When I get married," George bragged to the factory buddies standing around him, "I'm going to marry a real lady, someone with class. A real lady, like that one over there," he said, pointing to Helen. And, so George Weis found the courage to go up and introduce himself to my grandmother, Helen Ledman, and the rest, as they say, was history... 

Victoria Safford observes: If I were asked to confess my faith or my beliefs out loud, I would say first of all and ultimately, we are alone. ...and because we are alone it is the chance connections, both chosen and involuntary, that matter most of all and ultimately help and heal and hold us. These bonds ...are the strands of a theology, the seeds of faith, the beginning of re-ligion, of binding all things.

 We are defined, refined, and, yes, sometimes confined by the binding up of our various relationship connections. Let's acknowledge up front that not all relationships are loving or supportive. Life teaches us we are powerless over other people. We have no control how others choose to show up -- how they behave towards us or towards other people. We can only control how we choose to respond to how someone treats us -- we can choose to ask to be treated with greater respect and kindness. And, in some cases, there might some relationships that are simply unhealthy, toxic. If so, we are invited to consider -- did we do everything we could to try to restore healthy, respectful boundaries? If all efforts at reconciliation fail, we might consider simply letting go of a harmful relationship, to leave it behind as a way to honor our own inherent worth and preciousness.

 How we treat one another matters. We must be gentle with one another, Dick Gilbert advises: Our lives are like fragile eggs. They crack and the substance escapes. Handle with care! Handle with exceedingly tender care, for there are human beings within, human beings as vulnerable as we are, who feel as we feel, who hurt as we hurt. Life is too transient to be cruel with one another. It is too short for thoughtlessness, too brief for hurting. Life is long enough for caring, it is lasting enough for sharing, precious enough for love.


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, October 15th

- We will begin in the service and then head to our classes for RE. For the next 5 weeks we will be learning about UU'ism.

PLEASE NOTE: We will be having a practice fire drill during RE time.
Youth (Grades 9 - 12):
Sunday, October 15th

 - We will start in service then head to the Purple Chat Room for class. 

Friday, October  20th - UUnited in Taunton from 7 pm -- 9 pm.

PLEASE NOTE: We will be having a practice fire drill during RE time.
Oct. 21:
Donations & Volunteers Needed for Murray's 5th Annual Halloween Carnival
The haunting season is upon us and the 5th Annual Murray Church Community Halloween Carnival is scheduled for October 21st from 5:30 pm -- 7 pm.
If you are able to donate candy or dollar store gift cards to this event, it is most appreciated! Candy will be used for the 50 or so children in attendance for prizes as they play games. Please drop off all candy in Kavita's office and we thank you in advance for making this a great year! 
Also, if you are able to spare two hours for setup from 2 pm -- 4 pm on October 21st, or from 5 pm -- 7 pm for the event itself, please contact Amy Craig, we promise it is not scary to help out!
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Getting on board...

Our wonderful RE teachers write on the board what happened in class. Check it out!

Heart Saver CPR Training or

Health Provider Training and

Basic First Aid Training 
Saturday, October 14, 2017
CPR 9:00 am -- 12:30 pm 

First Aid 12:30 pm -- 2 pm  

CPR           $32.00               

First Aid      $24.00

Both            $52.00

Maximum class size: 24 individuals  --  Minimum class size:  6 individuals                              

Please RSVP to Kavita Vansant

 Anyone wishing to have the health provider certification will take a written exam in addition to the class. This will be administered at the end of the class. 

Care Packages for Our College Bound Youth

Please come to coffee hour

and sign the cards for our college youth. 

The Care packages will

go out next week!


"Thinking of you" graphic from pinterest
For the Love of Coffee!
Calling All Coffee Hour Volunteers...

If you like coffee, yummy snacks or just enjoy meeting new people, please consider volunteering for coffee hour. To sign-up, please click [HERE].

This year we will not have a separate adult and children's snack table; we will all be enjoying the same goodies, and have eliminated the juice to simplify our gathering. 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 after the Sunday service.
Contact Monica Weil, Sheila Jacobs, or Barbara Clark
Oct. 13:
at Morin's Hometown Bar & Grille

The Membership & Welcoming Committee invites you to Oktoberfest at Morin's Restaurant in Attleboro at 6 pm on Friday, October 13th. Morin's has a special German menu and German beers. You may win a little prize if you can answer our questions on German history and culture. Everyone is invited. Hope you can come for lots of talking and getting to know each other. English language preferred; speak German if you want to show off. 

RSVP (oops, that's French) to Sandy Stuart or Judy Lewis
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Oct. 13 & 14:
Friday & Saturday, October 13th & 14th

9 am -- 1 pm

Oct. 14:
Next Dinner & a Movie Night

5:30 pm to 9:00 pm in the Unity Room

featuring science fiction adventure:


Please join us for a potluck dinner and a movie discussion on Saturday night, October 14th, beginning at 5:30 pm in the Unity Room. We will show I, ROBOT, a sci-fi adventure thriller that can help spark an interesting discussion about artificial intelligence and the increased use of automated technology taking over more and more functions previously done by human beings. Is technology here to serve humankind, or might there come a time when those tables might turn? Hope to see you there. Youth and teens are certainly welcome to join in, with parental permission. Please bring a dish to share.   
Rev. Gretchen & Len Yutkins will lead our discussion.
Oct. 15:
This Sunday's Dedicated Offering: 

UNIDOS Disaster Relief and Recovery 

for Puerto Rico

On September 20th, Hurricane Maria arrived in Puerto Rico, destroying nearly all parts of the island. The majority of the citizens of this American territory are struggling to restore power, access to food, water, and communications. In anticipation of the hurricane, the Hispanic Federation established the UNIDOS fund to provide immediate relief and long-term rebuilding for our American sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico. This once-green, now-brown, island has been stripped of much of its life. Recovery will take months and years to complete. The need is extremely large, and "donor fatigue" appears to have set in:  $350 million has been raised for Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas, $45 million for Irma relief in Florida, and $9 million for Hurricane Maria relief in Puerto Rico. This is an important opportunity for us to help those who have almost nothing.


If you choose to write a check,

please make it out to Murray Church.

In the memo line, write Hispanic Federation, Hurricane Relief Fund.  

As always, the committee has carefully researched this month's charity. UNIDOS is a program of the Hispanic Federation, which has earned the highest, 4 star rating from Charity Navigator.
The Murray Social Concerns Committee
Oct. 15:
Have Your Photo Taken 

for the Murray Directory! 

It's time to update our directory. The photo shoots will begin at 11:15 am following the church service in Harmony Hall. 
We invite all Murray members & friends -- especially our newcomers -- to have their photos taken. There is no cost to you to have your photo taken for our directory. We encourage everyone - individuals, couples, families and even family pets to participate!
This is our last scheduled photo session!
Image from pinterest.
Oct. 15:
Waking Up White Book Discussion Group
Sunday, October 15th following Worship
11:30 am in the John Murray Room
This summer's church read was Waking Up White by Debby Irving, to explore the ideas of dominant culture and white privilege. Our book discussion group will be held on Sunday, October 15th following worship in the John Murray Room. Please grab a cup of coffee at coffee hour and head to the John Murray Room to begin our exploration of the next section, pp. 27- 60. Rev. Gretchen will be facilitating our discussion.
Donations for Holiday Fair Raffle Needed
The annual Holiday Fair, November 10th & 11th, is fast approaching. Our annual raffle will include a variety of special items for 20+ winners and the raffle organizers are looking for donations of new or very gently used items. Please let Bertha Young and Roy Belcher know if you have items to donate.
Thank you!

Calling All Cookie Monsters!
The next Holiday Fair Cookie Workshop is at

9 am on Tuesday, October 17th. 

Cookie Workshops are on Saturday mornings at 9 am, and Tuesday mornings at 10 am, and will culminate in the cookie bake-off sessions that begins on November 6th. 

No workshop scheduled for Saturday, October 14th - support the Clara Barton Rummage Sale!

All ages are invited to volunteer, 

help out and have fun! Interested? 

Please see Tom or Sandy Stuart, Laurie Lawes,
                  Donna Seagrave or Ron Lefebvre.
We have a great need for the following items:
                         - Personal Care Items
                            i.e., shampoo, bath & hand soap, lotion, deodorant, etc.
                         - Dental Care Items,
                            i.e., toothbrushes, floss, mouthwash, toothpaste

                         - Paper & Plastic Grocery Bags


Thank you for your continued support!

Murray Church Food Pantry Team 
Oct. 25:

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.
Thank you!
Image from
Do Not Leave Holiday Fair Donations 
In Fellowship Hall
Please don't leave Holiday Fair donations in Fellowship Hall. We have very limited storage, so it's best to hold onto your items until the Fair is closer. If you have donations that can't wait, please contact Greg Wehmeyer to coordinate a time to put the items in one of our storage containers.
Oct. 22:
Calling All Writers --
Join the Writers' Circle
Whether you've been writing for a while, or you have a writer in you that has just started making an appearance, you are welcome! If you are a free-thinking writer, a meticulous writer, a clumsy writer, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer, an intentional writer, a thoughtful writer, a spontaneous writer, you are welcome! Whether you love to share your work or you're a bit shyer and selective about sharing, you are welcome!  

Please join us for our monthly Writer's Circle on Sunday, October 22nd from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm in Harmony Hall. We invite you to bring one or two of your favorite quotes to share in our October circle. If you are interested and/or you have any questions about our circle, please contact Heidi Ferreira.

Oct. 22:
As we are hosting our guests from Agudas Achim for Food and Fellowship before the forum, we would welcome any donations of food! Light lunch options would be appreciated, for example quiche, finger food, fruit salad. Please avoid pork and ham. Non-meat options are best. 
Murray Church & Agudas Achim Joint Event
What Is Community Solar?

Is It for Us?

Sunday, October 22nd
11:45 am - 12:30 pm:  Food & Fellowship
12:30 - 1:30 pm:  Forum                                            in Harmony Hall at Murray Church located at 505 N. Main Street in Attleboro
  Learn about Community Solar
  Drawing from area solar farms, this can be a solution for our church and  synagogue and households (including apartments and condos) that  cannot use rooftop solar. Leasing option (no upfront cost) available.
  Solstice Initiative  *
Oct. 28:
Murray Hosts Food 'n' Friends Soup Kitchen

Murray hosts the Food 'n' 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 
Feel free to share this info with anyone who might be interested in helping out! 

Contact Stephanie Paquette

Oct. 29:
Interested in Becoming A Member?
Rev. Gretchen and the Membership Committee will be hosting a new member orientation class beginning Sunday, October 29th immediately following worship, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm in the John Murray Room. Lunch/snacks will be provided. The second class will be held from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Thursday, November 2nd in Harmony Hall. 

Anyone interested in finding out more about what becoming a member of Murray Church means, is invited to attend. No obligation to join, required.

 Please let Rev. Gretchen know if you are interested in attending.  508-222-0505.  


If you need childcare for either or both classes, please contact 

Kavita Vansant by Friday, October 20th

to give her time to arrange for the childcare.

Oct. 29:
Mark Your Calendars
Murray Church will be having the Fall Clean up on October 29th, starting at 8 am.  

All ages are welcome. This is our church and we want to put our best foot forward for the upcoming holiday fair. Please consider putting in some time to help prepare the outside of our church for the holiday fair and the winter to come. There is no shortage of work. This is also a great time for new members to get acquainted with Murray Church.


Wear appropriate clothes for outdoor work.
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Attention Shaw's Supermarket Shoppers!
Here's an easy way to do some good. Donate your Rachael Raye Bakeware Saver Stamps to our Social Concerns Committee. We will put them to good use. We'll try to earn a set of new bakeware for these possible recipients:  A-HOPE, a homeless family shelter, New Hope program for teen moms, our food pantry clients. Your Saver Stamps can be dropped into containers at the rear of the sanctuary, in Fellowship Hall foyer, or in the Unity Room. We can make a difference!
Nov. 12:
Sunday Book Group
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 consensus, of reasonable length, and library accessible.
On Sunday, November 12th, we will discuss, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot. Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer and viruses; helped lead to in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks is buried in an unmarked grave. Her family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. The story of the Lacks family is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of--From publisher description.


Note that the movie version is now available, with Oprah Winfrey. So you can choose to read the book or see the movie. Both book and movie are available at area libraries.

Fixing Up Fellowship Hall
The Property Committee is still looking for people to assist in the planning of refurbishing Fellowship Hall. Activities will include selection of lighting, color coordination, and technical help in power and air conditioning. If you are interested in helping with this effort, contact Tom Stuart or Rob Hasselbaum.
Please contact Tom Stuart or Rob Hasselbaum if you are interested in participating with this team.
Request from the Caring Circle
We accept donations of unused greeting cards, including those received in unsolicited mailings from charitable organizations. 

Please leave any cards you'd like to donate in Food Pantry collection basket in the sanctuary foyer or in the box outside the Food Pantry door. 

Thank you.
Planning and practicing for the Music Committee's service in January is getting under way. If you play an instrument and/or sing and would like to get involved in presenting some reggae music at the January 14th, 2018 Music Service, please join us. We plan to rehearse on Sundays after church, with the possibility of additional practices on Tuesday evenings. If you can commit to performing at the service and to most of the practices, please contact Melanie Hitchen - or reach out to her with any questions you may have.
Blessed the Space... (continued)

Now and then, the quality of our connections can get lost in the shuffle of the ordinary, in the busyness of the day. Sometimes, the people we love the most - our closest family and friends - can get short shrift when it comes to our time and attention. We can take one another for granted. 

How are we called to create, nurture and strengthen the ties that bind us one to another - both in our beloved family settings, and here, as we engage with one another in a covenanted beloved community?   

Poet Virginia Satir offers this wisdom, from her poem "Making Contact." She writes: I believe the greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen by them, heard by them, to be understood and touched by them. The greatest gift I can give is to see, hear, understand and to touch another person. When this is done, I feel contact has been made. 

Buddhist poet and philosopher Mark Nepo recalls that ever since his experience with cancer, his encounters with others have totally shifted. He observes: I find I come upon others now as if I have just crossed a desert and each of them is an oasis. If I only have this time on Earth with this person, if I may never see them again, what is it I want or need to ask, to know? What is it I want or need to say? We can help each other thrive when we ground our encounters in the roots of inner kindness -- How are you today? Do you need any affirmations? Clarity? Support?  Understanding? Each living spirit we encounter is a depth to gently swim in, a miracle that can quench our deepest thirst. 

Each of us is the result of a long line of random connections between people, and the genetic codes they each brought to the dance of human reproduction, to create the unique and precious miracle of living tissue known as you. Handle with care, indeed. We are each of us born into this world alone, and we will each die alone. In between, we yearn for belonging for meaningful connection. Our lives will intersect in interesting and often unexpected ways with any number of people who will inspire us, comfort us, challenge us, love and cherish us, or perhaps disappoint us, and quite possibly break our hearts. Yet it is entirely possible that our lives will be transformed, one way or the other, by the power and happenstance each of these random chance connections brings. 

The sacred might just be found in the space between us that invites authentic interconnection. Victoria Safford agrees: When I say "God," - and sometimes I do, because sometimes there is no other metaphor, no other symbol, no other poetry, no other offering - when I say "God," I mean that place of meeting, that place where solitudes join. God is the space in between, the bridge between solitudes, the ground where we meet, you and I, or any two, by grace. If I were asked, I'd say that all of us, together, are alone, and the emptiness between us is waiting to be filled. 

Church is the place where we are called to see one another, to hear one another, to help understand one another, to touch one another's lives. We are called to help fill up the emptiness of loneliness between us, with respect, loving kindness, and tender care. The world can be a beautiful, yet harsh and brutal place. Our time together is, in truth, very brief. And, we are each of us fragile in differing ways. Let us then be good to one another, let us recognize the inherent worth and dignity of all. Let our loving kindness extend not only to those at home, but also to those sitting near us, in the pews. For our search for the sacred, our experience of divine living, might just be found in that relational space between us. 

What an action-packed, vital church we are! All are invited to come shop the Clara Barton Rummage Sale this Friday and Saturday. I look forward to seeing all who signed up to attend the Oktoberfest celebration at Morin's on Friday night. All are also invited to attend the "Dinner and a Movie" discussion group on Saturday night, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Unity Room. The potluck begins at 5:30 pm and we will enjoy the sci-fi thriller "I, Robot," including an interesting discussion afterwards on the ethical and social implications of our dependence on Artificial Intelligence and the digital tools that are becoming essential to our lives.   

Sunday morning worship will explore "Living in Anxious Times." We will dedicate and bless our Religions Education teachers and volunteers, as Sunday School classes are in full swing. And immediately following worship, we will host our second session of the "Waking Up White" book discussion group as we dive deeper into the notion of white privilege.

What an abundance of ways to engage and grow!
In love and faith,
Rev. Gretchen