Murray Church
Sermons 2017-2018

Murray-Unitarian-Universalist Church
505
-North Main St, Attleboro, MA 02703
 Phone: 508-222-0505
Email: 
office@murrayuuchurch.org   map/directions

 

 

Sermon Directory 

 


JulyAugust, 2018
July, 2018
June, 2018

May, 2018
April, 2018
March, 2018
February, 2018
January, 2018
December, 2017
November, 2017
October, 2017
September, 2017
Sermon Archive

 

 

Note: Some of the Summer Services in July & August of 2018 were not recorded.

August 26, 2018  "Finding That Something Larger Than Ourselves"  Rev. Gretchen E. Weis 

Psychologist Abraham Maslow coined the term “peak experiences” to describe times in our lives when we connect with something larger than ourselves.   Maslow also acknowledged the power of life’s plateau and valley experiences.  From the highest peaks of life to the plateaus and the lowest valleys, Maslow believed that these human experiences can often be profoundly religious in nature.  What are some of the peak experiences of your life?  And the agonies of your deepest valley experiences?  Come join me as I share stories about some of the peaks, plateaus and valleys of my own life with you. 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

August 19, 2018  "Lessons From a Hurricane" Liz Lamaroux

In September 2017, while vacationing on the island of Dominica, it was devastated by hurricane Maria. Stories and insights gained during and since that life-altering event will be shared. 

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

August 12, 2018  "Murray Mile"  Rachel Killion

No walking shoes needed! Travel through time on a virtual walking tour of Murray history. Starting at the center of town we will journey one mile down Main Street for over 140 years of Murray history while seated in the comfort of our pews. Note: This is an audio/visual presentation with a photo slideshow.

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

July 22, 2018  "Walk on the Wild Side: Sharing Stories of Experiences in Nature"  Judy DePue

The Green Sanctuary team and friends will share personal stories of being up close and personal with nature, drawing from adventures in the backyard and beyond.

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

July 15, 2018  "Meditation" Marguerite MacLean

Marguerite MacLean leads us on a meditative journey to peace and relaxation.



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

June 17, 2018  "Celebrating Fathers and Flowers"  Rev. Gretchen E. Weis 

It is the last Sunday of the official church year – a time to honor fathers and grandfathers, as well as celebrate Flower Communion.  Everyone is invited to bring a flower to add to the community-wide bouquet up front – your flower symbolizes the many gifts you bring to our beloved faith community.  During communion, each person will be invited forward to take a different flower from the bouquet to symbolized the many gifts you receive here at Murray Church.  This year’s service will feature the music of the Grateful Dead, courtesy of our Murray Church rock and roll band!

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

 

June 10, 2018  "How, Then Shall We Live?"  Rev. Gretchen E. 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.

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

June 3, 2018  "The Gifts of Adversity"  Rev. Gretchen E. 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.

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

May 27, 2018  "Living with Dementia" Rev. Jane Dwinell and Sky Yardley
 

Is it possible to meaningfully participate in life despite having a disability? The Rev. Jane Dwinell and Sky Yardley have been facing this challenge since Sky was diagnosed with probable early stage Alzheimer's disease nearly two years ago.Spouses Jane and Sky will discuss their personal experiences with dementia to help to erase the stigma around this condition and offer support to others. They believe that individuals with dementia or other disabilities are not to be pitied or ignored, but to be treated with the full respect accorded to anyone.They also share their experiences on their personal blog: www.alzheimerscanyon.blogspot.com.

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

May 20, 2018  "Changes: Bridging Ceremony Rev. Gretchen E. Weis and Kavita Vansant, Director of Lifespan Religious Education
 

It’s that time of year when we pause to celebrate those high school seniors who will be graduating this spring, and to celebrate those junior high school students who will be bridging up into the high school youth group.  The service will be co-lead by Kavita Vansant, our Director of Lifespan Religious Education, and members of the youth group and their teachers, around the theme of changes.

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

May 13, 2018  "This is to Mother You: Stories of Being Nurturing and Being Nurtured" Religious Services Committee
 

We are cared for, and care for others, in so many different ways. On this Mother's Day, members of the Murray community reflect on all of those who play the role of nurturer in various aspects of our lives.

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

April 29, 2018  "Change" Monica Staaf and the Murray Writers Group
 

We all experience change in our lives. Change - whether it involves aging, learning, nature politics, and more - can be positive, exciting, fun, powerful, frustrating or frightening. How do we cope with it? Join Murray writers, Barbara Clark, Kara Goldrick, Isabel Michaels, Donna Seagrave, and Ted Weil, who will share their perspective and original work about change.

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

April 22, 2018  "Earth Day: Reporting From the Front Lines of Climate Change"  Rev. Gretchen E. Weis & Dr. Casey Thornbrugh
 

Special guest, Dr. Casey Thornbrugh is a climate scientist based at the NE Climate Science Center in Amherst.  He is also a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, and serves as liaison for environmental impact issues with all Native American tribes along the Eastern seaboard and Gulf Coast.  He brings a first hand perspective on how climate change is impacting native peoples’ water, hunting, fishing and other environmental access rights. Come join us to learn more as we celebrate Earth Day Sunday.  

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

April 15, 2018  "Celebrating Religious Freedom" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
 

It was 450 years ago when the Unitarian Faith was declared a legitimate religion in Eastern Europe, thanks to the groundbreaking Edict of Torda.  Let’s take a look back at a pivotal moment in our faith history to celebrate this all-important milestone when religious freedom was declared the law of the land.  It’s also our annual Celebration Sunday when we announce the financial pledge results for our Stewardship Campaign for the 2018-2019 church year ahead. 

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

April 8, 2018  "Doubt: The Ants in the Pants of Faith" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
 

Doubt is an essential part of exploring and living our beliefs.  In the words of Frederick Buechner:  “…if you don’t have any doubts, you are either kidding yourself, or asleep."  Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith.  They keep it awake and moving.”  Let’s take a closer look at sacred skepticism and the importance of lifelong questioning as part of our faith journey to define our most important beliefs.   

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

April 1, 2018  "The Promise of Easter" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
 

Who is to say what Easter is?  And why we celebrate and sing a joyful Alleluia? Come join us as we explore the Easter promise that some things will never die. W. Edward Harris observes that the darkest times in the human spirit are always succeeded by the renewal of life. Just as there is loneliness, abandonment, brutality, cruelty, hate and fear, so, too are there values and principles that cannot be killed and buried. Justice, Truth, Beauty, Love, and Courage, will continue to rise up again, and again, throughout the ages providing hope to illuminate the human experience.  Alleluia!  

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

March 25, 2018  "Sneaking into Jerusalem by the Back Door" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
 

It’s Palm Sunday, which celebrates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem at the start of the Passover Celebration week — the final week of his life. Why did he choose to enter Jerusalem by a back gate, riding on a donkey?  And why did his followers salute him with palm leaves?  What statement was he trying to make, mocking the might and power of the Roman Empire?  

 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

March 18, 2018  "Keepers of the Flame" Stewardship Sunday Service by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
 

This is a healthy, thriving congregation, making a positive difference in people’s lives, and in the life of our larger community.  It’s Stewardship Sunday, where members and friends are asked to pledge their financial support for the 2018-2019 church year ahead.  This year’s theme is “Lighting Our Way,” as together, we help to create the larger burning light of religious freedom, of personal truth and moral values, of life-altering acceptance and loving kindness, and of a hope that heals and renews.  Our church receives no outside financial help.  We are supported solely through the generosity of our members and friends.  As we continue to attract new families and our children’s program continues to grow, we invite all to give generously to not only the church we are today, but the church we are becoming.  Can we count on you to be a Keeper of the Flame?.



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

March 11, 2018  "Our Own Glass House" with Rev. Gretchen E. Weis, Shelley Stark, Louis Jackson and Lucia Field
 

It was about a year ago when our denomination headquarters erupted amid accusations of racist hiring practices, as yet again, a white male minister was hired for a key leadership position over equally qualified people of color.  Within weeks, the UUA president, chief operating officer and congregational life director all resigned.  Murray member Lucia Santini Field serves on the national board of the UUA and has had a front row seat this past year to the angry confrontations, key learnings and painful transformation evolving from this controversy.  Lucia will share her story with us.  In addition, Murray members Shelley Stark and Louis Jackson will share their heartfelt concerns about why Murray Church remains a predominantly white congregation and what we might all do to help that change. We also welcome new members this Sunday, as well.



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

February 25, 2018  "Dare to Dream" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

There are an estimated 800,000 young adults who were brought illegally to America as infants or young children who are identified as Dreamers - covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that is set to expire. Who are these young people, who have grown up here, been educated here, who work or go to college, and pay taxes, and have never known another home country except America?  Let's hear from a few of these Dreamers who grew up in our area, as they share their stories and help to put a face on this all-important immigration issue.



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

February 18 2018  "Love the Hell Out of This World" Matt Meyer & The Religious Services Committee

Join the Religious Services Committee for a fun-filled Sunday morning service conducted by well-known GA drummer and spiritual leader Matt Meyer. Matt is a artist in percussion and experienced in a variety of styles. He is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music and has studied abroad in Cuba, Ghana and Central America. A love of music and a deep respect for its ability to stir and transform audiences is at the heart of Matt's continuing devotion to understand more of the world's cultures through the vocabulary of rhythm.



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

February 11 2018  "Love and Marriage: Sharing Our Stories" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Human marriage partnering is as old as time, and in many cultures, it was common for parents to arrange marriages for their children. The practice of people selecting their own partners based on romantic love is a relatively new concept in the human story. Yet, sadly, one in two marriages fail in today's world. What are the secrets to a happy marriage? On this Sunday closest to Valentine's Day, let's hear from a few Murray couples as they share their love stories.



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

February 4, 2018  "Digital Distraction: Who Are We Becoming" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Technology is certainly changing our lives. But how is it changing our bodies, our psychological health, our brain's ability to focus and make decisions? Entire new industries have sprung up dedicated to capturing and selling human distraction on digital devices. When recent studies reveal that the average American touches their cell phone 2,617 times a day, what does this mean to our long-term physical, mental and spiritual health?



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

 

January, 28, 2018  "Widening Our Hearts" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Compassion is at the core of every religious tradition, yet we don’t see enough empathy and loving kindness at work in the world.  How might we open our hearts up to embrace and embody greater compassion in our day to day living? Let’s explore thoughts from a number of spiritual leaders and religious scholars in our quest to help create a more loving and just world.



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

January, 21, 2018  "This I Believe - Continuing the Conversation" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Our religious freedom encourages the individual search for ultimate truth and meaning.   We are each called to be in relationship with whatever we deem to be most sacred.  Last month, we began a celebration of the diversity of beliefs found here at Murray Church.  Let us continue that celebration as we hear from three more of you to share your experiences and beliefs.



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

January, 14, 2018  "Bob Marley: One Love" by the Murray Musicians and the Choir

The Music Committee service is focused on the life and times of Bob Marley. Bob Marley rose from being an impoverished youth in Jamaica to being an international superstar in a very short period of time. His short life, religious beliefs and dedication to love, brotherhood and world peace will be presented. The  Murray Musicians and choir perform some of Bob Marley's most popular & memorable tunes.



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

January, 7, 2018  "New Starts, New Beginnings" By Rev. Gretchen E Weis

What stories have you outgrown, what habits, beliefs or behaviors no longer serve you?  Growth and deepening – letting go of the old to make room for a new, fresh start – is a natural cycle of life.  Join us for our annual Fire Communion, as we release the old in our burning bowl and welcome in new blessings for the New Year ahead.



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

December 31, 2017   "Reflecting on the Past: Wishes for the New Year" Ruth Dubrot & the Murray Youth

We invite you to spend a special New Year's Eve day service with us to celebrate what we are calling "Wishes for the World." This service will feature the Youth from Murray Church, led by Ruth Debrot, who will be singing, dancing, reading poetry and playing music. What a joyful way to end 2017 and welcome the New Year! Congregants will write their own "wishes," and the youth will read them to the congregation.



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

December 17, 2017   "The First Christmas" by Rev. Gretchen E Weis

The Bible tells several different stories about the birth of Jesus.  These stories are more than sentimental.  Scholars Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan examine these nativity parables and help us sift out the historic, political meanings behind these beloved tales of the First Century Mediterranean world.  What did these stories mean then, and what might they mean for us in the twenty-first century?



Download or Listen to this sermon

   

December 10, 2017   "This I Believe" by Rev. Gretchen E Weis

Ours is a “big tent” filled with differing personal beliefs.  This diversity is one of our greatest strengths, celebrated in the phrase: “many beliefs, one faith.”  Come celebrate the diversity of belief here at Murray Church, as we hear from some new voices sharing their personal statements of faith, modeled after the “This I Believe” format heard on National Public Radio.



Download or Listen to this sermon

   

December 3, 2017   "We Need a Little Christmas Now" by Rev. Gretchen E Weis

It's been a challenging year, filled with stories of pain, suffering, violence and hate. Our hearts might be feeling raw and tender. I don't know about you, but I could sure use a little of the Christmas spirit right about now. Come gather as we connect to the deeper values of the season - hope, love, peace and joy.



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

November 26, 2017   "Through the Valley" Guest Speaker David Egan

David will share some of his experiences from this past summer working as a hospital chaplin, and what it means to walk with people who are near death and the theologica and existential questions that arise.

David Egan is the ministerial intern at the Old Ship Church in Hingham. He is a Masters of Divinity student at Andover Newton Theological School and hopes to go into parish ministry after graduation. 



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

November 19, 2017   "The Power of Thanksgiving" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Join us for our traditional Thanksgiving service, where we explore the power of living in gratitude – Thanksliving – as we acknowledge the abundance and many blessings of our lives.  Our traditional cornbread and cider communion will be served for this all-important multigenerational family service. 



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

November 12, 2017   "Pilgrim's Progress" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

We talk about our lives as spiritual journeys, but what, exactly do we mean by that?  Some faiths provide a clear, set path of beliefs, that steer towards a specific spiritual goal.  Our faith encourages us to wonder, as we wander. We are invited to be our own trailblazers.  The way forward may be neither straightforward nor clear.  So, where are you in your setting out, your wondering, your wandering, and how does your path lead back home? 



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

November 5, 2017   "To Want What We Have" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

It’s human nature to notice the things others have and want the same things for ourselves.  When we see the world through the lens of scarcity, we play right into the hand of our consumer culture that pressures us to buy and own more, more, and more stuff. When we view our lives through the lens of abundance and gratitude, are we willing to let go of envy, let go of having what we want, perhaps even let go of some of our stuff, and open ourselves to wanting what we have? 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

October 29, 2017   "One Brave Whistle Blower" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Celebrating the 500th anniversary of a young monk named Martin Luther who nailed his criticisms and complaints against the all-powerful Catholic Church to the cathedral door in Wittenburg, Germany, on October 31, 1517, and gave birth to the Protestant Reformation. 



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

October 22, 2017   "Exploring Diwali: Let there be Light" with Kavita Vansant & Rev. Gretchen E. 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, our Director of Lifespan Religious Education, helps co-lead this multi-generational worship as we explore some spiritual and cultural diversity, together.  



Download or Listen to this sermon

   

October 15, 2017   "Living in Anxious Times" by Rev. Gretchen E. 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? 



Download or Listen to this sermon

   

October 8, 2017   "Columbus, Colonialism, and Compassion" by Guest Minister Rev. Ann Fox

Many Native Americans, who arrived in North America 13,000 years before Columbus, question why we bother to name a special day for him. They say it is an insult to them. After all, he mistreated and enslaved the inhabitants of all the lands he found. They say that we should rename the day Indigenous People's Day. What do you think? Let's explore.

Rev. Ann Fox is Minister Emerita of Unitarian Memorial Church, Fairhaven, MA. She retired from full-time ministry in 2014. 



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

October 1, 2017   "The Forgiveness Project" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Crime, violence and wartime horrors can shatter and change lives forever.  Journalist Marina Cantacuzino began to collect personal stories from around the world from people who have experienced unimaginable loss and pain, and their respective paths towards ultimate forgiveness and reconciliation. Exploring forgiveness as an alternative to resentment or revenge, Cantacuzino created The Forgiveness Project, a collection of testimonies that demonstrate the power and grace forgiveness can play, transforming both victims and perpetrators alike. Let's explore a few of these extraordinary stories, to see how they might speak to us. 



Download or Listen to this sermon

 

September, 24, 2017  "Come, Let us Be Faithful Fools, Together" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Ours is a faith built on doubting, questioning, passing beliefs through the fire of our own experience and reason before defining our deepest truths. While some doubts are healthy, other doubts can keep us small. What do you take on faith? What possibilities call to you? What edges do you find yourself perched upon, that invite you to step off, in the hopes that you may just sprout wings? What does it mean to live a faithful life? How does your faith call you to action, to help create a better world?  



Download or Listen to this sermon

   

September, 17, 2017  "Opening Our Doors, Wide" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Changes in technology and culture are opening up new opportunities for churches in the 21st Century.  What lessons can the online world teach today’s churches about reaching out, encouraging engagement and building community?  We are a thriving, vital beloved faith community.  And we have a lot to offer those who are seeking a kinder, gentler, more loving and just seeking place for themselves and for their children — especially for families of color, as the hate-filled voices of the KKK and other neo-hazi right wing groups are on the rise.  How can we help others discover our church and share in the spirit of love, acceptance and inclusion here?  Let us be intentional and swing our doors open wide to invite in the many seeking what we have to offer.  



Download or Listen to this sermon

  

September 10, 2017  "Ingathering. Water Communion" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

We gather once more to begin a new church year together. Please bring a water sample, a symbol of how you spent your summer, to add to our shared water communal bowl. It doesn't matter where your water sample comes from - half a world, or a state or two away, or from the kitchen sink, or the garden hose in your own back yard. As we gather, let us celebrate It is good to be together once again. nd, special thanks to the wonderful folks from the Religious Services Committee who provided such rich, thoughtful and inspiring Worship all summer long! 



Download or Listen to this sermon