Murray Church Notes

December 20, 2018

Volume 7,  Issue 20

In this Issue:

In Search of Kindness
Rev. Gretchen Weis

According to the Academy of American Poets, the poem “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye was the most popular poem online this year.  More people clicked on “Kindness” than any other poem in 2018.   Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me – that for those Americans who seek poetry online, a significant number of them would gravitate to a poem about kindness in a year when voices of disrespect, mockery and divisiveness continued to dominate our national conversation.

These words of Maria Popova underscore the background of this particular poem.  She writes, “The measure of true kindness — which is different from nicety, different from politeness — is often revealed in those challenging instances when we must rise above the impulse toward its opposite, ignited by fear and anger and despair.”   

You see, Nye was in despair when she wrote “Kindness.”  The poem was born from some brutal violence she experienced first hand.  Nye and her husband, traveling on their honeymoon throughout South America, were robbed of everything while riding a bus in Colombia.  A fellow passenger, a man she remembered as an “Indian in a white poncho” was murdered during the robbery.  

Read More  

"A Blue Christmas"
For some, Christmas may NOT be that most wonderful time of the year.  Holiday ads bombard us with images of merry and bright, beautiful people, surrounded by happy, smiling affectionate family and friends.  It’s hard to live up to all that idyllic holiday cheer.  Perhaps there are painful memories of disappointing Christmases past.  Or empty chairs around the tree or table that remind us of loved ones, gone too soon.  Or financial stresses, health challenges, job or relationship worries that prevent us from feeling fa-la-la-la-lah. Come, let’s slow down for a quiet, contemplative service that acknowledges all of the complexities of the season.
In the cold darkness of the Winter solstice, we welcome the warmth of a quilt, crackling fire, or a mug of hot chocolate.   As 2018 draws to a close, we also think of the warmth of community and caring for those who are in need.  At our lay-led service next week, Murray readers will share readings and stories relating to warmth written by themselves or others.    We invite you to wear fire colors of red, orange, or yellow if you are inspired.  Our service leader will be Monica Staaf.
Dec. 24:

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Prelude Concert: 6:30 PM
Service: 7:00 PM

Come join us on Monday evening for our traditional candlelight service.  Our Murray musicians have prepared a beautiful concert, which will begin at 6:30 PM, followed by our candlelight service at 7:00 PM.
Religious Education for Sunday, December 23

Nursery is available 9:45 -11 am.  Nursery is for our babies, toddlers and preschoolers only.
We will begin in the service and then head to Fellowship Hall for some fun and active games!
Youth Group:
We will begin in the service and then head to the Purple Chat Room for our Music Jam!  If you have an instrument that you play please bring it.      
Please Note: Next week, on Sunday, December 30, there will be NO RE classes or Nursery.  
Dec. 22:

Food & Friends Soup Kitchen

Murray Church volunteers are back in the Centenary Church kitchen this month, serving up soft tacos for lunch on Saturday, December 22, and we need you!

Please consider giving a half hour or more of your time this holiday to help our neediest neighbors.  Room set up and food prep happens between 8 am and 10 am, and serving and clean up from 10:45 am - 12:15 pm.

Click here to register! (Poll is confidential, your name will not be visible to others.)
                                                       "Chef Steph"                                        

Dec. 23:

Our December Dedicated Offering 

The International Rescue Committee, with a matching grant

As a result of war, the people of Yemen are experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.  Malnutrition is widespread, two-thirds of the country is at risk of starvation, and nearly half of the population of 26 million people is on the brink of famine.  A cholera outbreak threatens to kill more. 

The International Rescue Committee is providing emergency aid, clean water, and medical care to millions in need.  It is delivering drugs and medical supplies to hospitals, and training staff to provide cholera treatment.

We have chosen the IRC because it is one of the most effective, highest rated aid organizations in the world.  In addition, it has received a million dollar matching grant, so our donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar. 

We welcome your contribution to the Dedicated Offering.  If you write a check, please make it out to Murray Church, and we will combine our contributions into a single check.  Thank you for your generosity, as we work to put our faith into action.

                                             The Murray Social Concerns Committee

Jan. 6: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Stay and Play Playgroup

Calling all families for playgroup!  Join us in the Nursery and K-2 classroom after coffee for playtime and conversation.  Games and a craft will be provided in the K-2 room while younger children may play in the nursery. At least one parent must remain with children.  We look forward to seeing everyone.  Questions? Call Carol at 508-380-1025.
Jan. 12, 5-7 pm:

Potluck and Game Night!

The Religious Education Committee is hosting an all church Potluck and Game Night in the Unity Room!  Bring a dish and a fun game to share with everyone!  Together, as a community, we will eat, laugh and play!

Email Kavita at if you plan to attend. Come have fun! 

Town Hall Meeting on Child Safety

Sunday, January 13 from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm in Harmony Hall
The Religious Education Committee will discuss our new proposed Safety Guidelines.  We encourage everyone to attend and understand the new guidelines for keeping our children safe.  Childcare will be offered.

If you have any questions please email RE Chair Carol Connolly at or Kavita at

A Special Thanks!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Giving Tree!  

"For it is in giving that we receive."  

                   - St. Francis of Assisi

Feb 3: 
Murray Church-Wide Read

As part of our Black Lives Matter conversations, please join us as we read together, White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo.  Now #5 on the New York Times Bestseller’s list for paperbacks, this book asserts that the first step in dismantling systemic racism is to acknowledge our role in it. The book explores how our behaviors, sometimes unwittingly function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively. (156 pages)

On February 3rd, Rev. Gretchen will lead a service drawing from concepts in this book. Following that service, there will be a discussion in the John Murray Room.  You are welcome to join the discussion whether you have read the book or not.

Sorry, our book order has closed. Books that were ordered are expected to come in shortly after the New Year. 
                                                        ~ Judy DePue

Have a Green Holiday, part 2!

At coffee hour on Dec 16, we heard from many of you who shared what you are doing to make a Greener Holiday! We list these ideas here to inspire others. Thank you!! You can find these posted and you can add other ideas on our interactive bulletin board in the foyer near Fellowship Hall.
  • I stopped using plastic utensils at work and wash my own knife, fork and spoon.
  • No paper napkins. We will use red cloth napkins with green table cloth.
  • Save last year’s boxes, bags and paper to reuse this year for wrapping and décor.
  • Dig up volunteer evergreen and put in big pot to use for Christmas tree. Replant when done.
  • Combining trips—gifts, food, handyman stuff.
  • Put contributions to worthy organizations on your wish list.
  • Put consumables on your wish list.
  • Use re-usable grocery bags—leave them in your trunk.
  • Compost
  • Make one large online order rather than many small orders.
  • Artificial tree
  • Use gift bags and gift-wraps from recycled materials, which can be recycled again.
Also, for your inspiration, check out the 4-minute remarks at closing of the COP 24 UN Climate meeting in Poland last week from 15-year old Greta Thunberg, a climate activist from Sweden. She literally speaks truth to power to stop climate change.

Attention All Pledgers – Your Help is Needed!

We are fast approaching the end of the second quarter of our fiscal year 2018-2019, and our Pledge income is lagging behind expectations. We have many fixed and variable operating expenses that must be covered each month and we depend on your generous ongoing Pledge contributions to make that possible. If you are current on your Pledge payments, thank you very much! If you are behind on your Pledge payments and can catch up, please do so as soon as possible. 
Best Regards and Have a Happy and Safe Winter Season!

                                                                ~ Jim Richardi and The Executive Board  

Shopping Online?  
You Can Help Murray Church with 

As we head into the busiest time of year for online shopping, you can benefit Murray Church by using  

To sign up, go to the login page here.

Select Murray UU Church as your charity, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to  Murray Church.

Office Space for Rent

Our church has office space for rent (four rooms in the office wing) that are ideal for a small non-profit or human services organization or educational based business. 

The total space for these four rooms is approximately 983 square feet. We really need the rental revenue.  We can use all the help we can get in finding suitable renters. Please mention it while you are networking with family and friends and listen/look for opportunities to promote this available space wherever and whenever possible.

Ask interested parties to contact the church office as soon as possible and myself or Bertha Young will get back to them as soon as possible. 

Thank you, 
                              ~ Jim Richardi, Executive Board President                                     

Lost & Found

A lost and found display has been created in one section of the coat rack in the hall beside the sanctuary. Above are some of the items.  Items can be claimed before or immediately following Sunday Service, or by dropping by the Murray Church office during business hours, Tuesday - Thursday, 8:30 AM - 3 PM or Friday, 8:30 AM - Noon.

Many thanks to Barbara Clark for making everything easy to find!

Donations Needed! 

Items needed:
  • Fruit juices, all kinds
  • Personal care items (deodorant, shampoo soap, etc)
  • Bathroom tissue
Newsletter weekly schedule!
Please email all newsletter submissions by Tuesday end of day  for inclusion in the following Thursday's Murray Notes. Please note that there will be no newsletter during Christmas week.   Due to the holiday, the next deadline is Noon on Wednesday, January 2nd.
If the weather outside is frightful, the minister and board president will confer to determine if worship services must be cancelled by 6:30 am on a Sunday morning. WBZ-TV, WCVB-TV5, FOX25 and WPRI-12, FOX Providence will air any Sunday Service cancellations during the morning news.

Websites for cancellations:,,
Cancellations will also be posted on our website and Facebook page: 
Be sure to "Like" us to see updates in your news feed. 

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

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