18, 2019 "The
Evolution of Prayer" presented
by Liz Kenyon
of humans praying dates back
to the third century B.C. in
the form of a statue of a holy
Hindu man holding prayer beads.
Over the following centuries,
prayer beads have been used
by Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims,
Roman Catholics, and Eastern
Orthodox Christians. We will
touch upon these prayer rituals
before focusing on the evolution
of prayer in the Christian tradition,
including our UU faith.
11, 2019 "Concrete
Actions You Can Take Against
the Climate Crisis" presented
by Carolyn and
These days, people are inundated with so much overwhelming information, it can be empowering to be focused and specific in our actions. Come learn what you can do and walk away with a to-do list! Carolyn and Rand Barthel are members of First Universalist Society in Franklin and 350 Massachusetts, a network of volunteer climate activists across the state.
14, 2019 "What's
New at the UUA?" presented
by Bruce Field
30, 2019 "Our
Vital Church Organ" presented
by Mary Whelan and Claudia Binns
the history and background of
Murray’s beautiful organ, moved
and installed in a year by a
team of Murray-ites! Come enjoy
a special duet for piano and
organ by Mary and Claudia and
several pieces by Joan Bennett,
and Dennis, too!
here for more information
about the history of our wonderful
Hook & Hastings organ.
To view musical
concerts with this fine instrument,
16, 2019 "Flower
the last official Sunday of
the church year — a time when
we celebrate Flower Communion.
It’s also Father’s Day, a time
to honor the fathers, stepfathers,
grandfathers and other men who
love and nurture the children
in their lives. Everyone if
all ages is invited to bring
a flower to add to the community-wide
bouquet we build together at
the front of the sanctuary.
Your individual flower symbolizes
the many gifts you bring to
our shared life together here
at Murray Church. After we bless
our gathered bouquet, everyone
is invited forward to take a
different flower home with them,
to symbolize the many gifts
you receive here. Flower
Communion is a service for all
Church Rock & Roll House
Band provided the music today
tunes from the Beatles songbook.
9, 2019 "Stonewall:
2, 2019 "Sharing
Your Dream" Rev. Gretchen
E. Weis & Janet Richardi
spring, we held a series of
Listening Circles to learn what
people appreciated most about
Murray Church, and what dreams
you held for an even better
church experience. Please
join us this Sunday as Rev.
Gretchen and Janet Richardi,
who organized the Listening
Circles, share the Listening
26, 2019 "Building
Bridges on Star Island" McKayla
Hoffman speaks today on building bridges between
the UU communities in our area.
McKayla will discuss an innovative
week-long camp experience this
July on Star Island (off the
coast of NH) where SE Mass UUs
will gather to build new relationships
with each other so that we can
collectively build a stronger,
more vibrant UU community in
19, 2019 "Bridging
Ceremony: Changes" Rev.
& The Religious Education
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,
Ruth Debrot, youth group leader,
and some of our teens.
12, 2019 "Care
for the Care Givers" Rev.
Mother’s Day, a time to pause
and celebrate those women (and
men) who nurtured, parented
and loved us into being who
we are. And, for all the
caregivers among us, whether
parents, or those caring for
someone in need, we encourage
care for the caregivers – essential
self-care that refreshes and
recharges you, so you may continue
to care and nurture those you
5, 2019 "Climate
Change: Let's Talk About Hope"
led by Judy Depue, Chair of
the Green Sanctuary
change sometimes seems too depressing,
or it stirs angst about the
politics. But we need to talk!
Our earth day service will focus
on how we can we talk with family
and friends without stirring
a political debate, also how
to maintain hope during these
challenging times. Both are
necessary if we are to find
solutions and be part of the
democratic process in our communities
April 21, 2019 "The
of Easter" Rev.
Who is to say what Easter is? W. Edward Harris observes that the darkest times in the human spirit are
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. Justice, Truth, Beauty, Love, and
Courage, will continue to rise up again, and again throughout the ages of human
experience. Alleluia, indeed!
April 14, 2019 "The
Table of Equals" Rev.
Jesus of Nazareth lived in a world where purity was politics. Society was structured around a rigid set of purity laws, designed to maintain a separate boundary between what was considered "pure and clean" verses "impure and untouchable." The purity system ensured social discrimination and injustice. Think rich vs. poor, men vs. women, those healthy vs. those who were sick. On this Palm Sunday, let's revisit the Radical Rabbi who dared to invite impure outcasts to share a meal as equals. Jesus fought for a world where compassion for all trumped the politics of purity. And Jewish authorities were not amused.
7, 2019 "When
Was the Last Time You Felt Clueless?"
with Guest Minister, Rev. Nicholas
Rev. Nicholas Boke
bases his sermon today on an
idea that he saw on another
church's bulletin board, and
he began to think about the
concept of cluelessness and
its place in Unitarian Universalism.
31, 2019 "Racisim
by the Religious Services Committee
of our congregation, one, the
daughter of Indian parents,
and the other, a mother of two
children of color, share personal
incidents of racist slurs and
service will help us be more
aware of racism and how to be
good allies to those who are
victims of it.
note: this sermon includes the graphic
description of real life events,
the use of profanity and language
that may be offensive.
24, 2019 "The
Rev. Gretchen E.
Emerson, Henry David Thoreau,
Walt Whitman, Margaret Fuller.
These are just a few of our
Unitarian faith ancestors who
created the transcendentalist
movement in the early 1800s.
The transcendentalists were
not content with the calm rationalism
of Unitarianism. Instead, they
longed for a more intense spiritual
experience, based on individual
subjective intuition. Come learn
more about this movement, which
celebrated the power and creative
expression of the individual.
Special thanks to the individual
who submitted a Question Box
worship question asking to know
more about this offshoot of
17, 2019 "Life
Saving Generosity" by
Rev. Gretchen E.
failed. He was on dialysis.
Ten years ago, this Murray
member was a candidate for a
kidney transplant, but needed
to find a donor. He reached
out to family and friends, including
his church family here. Five
people at Murray volunteered
to give him one of their kidneys.
One person was a perfect
match. Come hear Roger Boucher
and Linda Miller share their
amazing story of profound, life-saving
generosity, rooted in this community
of love, hope and friendship.
10, 2019 "The
Right to Live Free from Violence" by
Rev. Gretchen E.
Weis & Gabby
Alan from New Hope, Attleboro
Domestic and sexual violence continues to
be a huge problem
around the world. And, it is also
a huge, yet largely silent problem right here, in our own
area. What can we do to help break the cycle
of violence in the home? A domestic
abuse survivor will join us. As
will Gabby Alan, VP of Development and Communication at New
Hope, to share
insights into the work needed to help build communities free
and violence. Our dedicated
offering this Sunday will help support New Hope’s construction
of a new shelter
here in Attleboro.
guest speakers were
unable to attend due to the
inclement weather. We will reschedule
their visit for another time.
3, 2019 "Ask
Curious Questions, Part 2" by
Rev. Gretchen E.
February 24, 2019 "Empathy,
Sympathy, Compassion" Rev. Gretchen E.
In a dog eat
dog world, how is it that some people are
able to place themselves in another’s
situation, to imagine another’s thoughts, or
feel another’s pain, while other people
could simply care less. Let’s explore
the gifts of empathy, sympathy, and
compassion, and the deep human connection
they provide in caring for one another.
17, 2019 "The Five Love
Languages" Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
What happens to love after
the wedding? Is there a secret to
keeping love alive long after the
honeymoon is over? Marriage
counselor Gary Chapman offers
interesting insight in his book “The
Five Love Languages.” Chapman
believes all marriages can grow
stronger, if you learn to express
affection and appreciation in the
emotional language your partner
understands best. In this season
of Valentine’s celebration, this is a
fascinating way to think about making
deeper connections with those we love.
10, 2019 "Reuniting With
Awe" with Rev. Joanna Lubkin
might our day, our interactions with
others, and our work in the world be
different if we start with awe and wonder?
Together, we'll explore the practice of
radical amazement as a way to make it
through even the toughest times.
Joanna Lubkin is the Unitarian
Universalist Chaplain at Wellesley
College,the Program Assistant for the UU
Ministers Association, and is an
affiliated community minister at Arlington
Street Church in Boston. She studied at
Hebrew College Rabbinical School before
finishing her Masters of Divinity at
Andover Newton Theological School. Joanna
sings in the Arlington Street Church choir
and at The Sanctuary Boston.
3, 2019 "Why is it so Hard
for White People to Talk About Racism" by
Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
DiAngelo was a diversity trainer for years.
In her work, she began to notice
consistent behaviors coming from white
people when asked to talk about racism,
including angry pushback, denial or stony
silence that served to shut meaningful
cross-cultural dialogue down cold. Why
does this happen? And what might white
folks do to become more effective allies in
the fight against racism?
Insights will be shared from
DiAngelo’s book, White Fragility. All
are invited to a discussion afterwards in
27, 2019 "The Mystery of
Grace" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
Have you ever experienced a
serendipitous moment or a chance
happenstance that brought something good
into your life unexpectedly? A benefit
unasked for, an unearned blessing? Grace may
come into our lives in ways both large and
small, if we pay attention and open
ourselves to these mysterious gifts.
Consider these words from author Anne
Lamott, “I do not at all understand the
mystery of grace – only that it meets us
where we are but does not leave us where it
20, 2019 "I am Light and I
WILL Shine" by the Music Committee
special service hosted by the Music
Committee, we recognize the power of the
collective voices of women and their allies
and shining a light on the changes they have
created and continue to create. We want to
hear our voices raised together in song, as
we celebrate some of the music that has
empowered us and helps to heal us.
13, 2019 "Stop Spinning Your
Wheels" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
resolve to make better choices, healthier
changes in the year ahead. Yet how
often, despite our best intentions, do we
find ourselves spinning our wheels, unable
to follow through on the changes we hope
for, the better choices that might make a
positive difference in our lives? What
gets in our way? Where might we find
the courage and motivation to get up and
truly get going? To tackle the
unfinished business of our lives?
6, 2019 "Candles of Hope in
the New Year" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
Year represents a time for fresh starts and
new possibilities. As we gather to welcome
in 2019, let us share our brightest hopes
for the coming year, hopes for ourselves,
hopes for those we love, hopes for our
nation, and hopes for the needs of the
larger world. We will come forward to light
candles of new possibility on our shared
altar of love, service and hope.
"Warmth" a Religious Services
Committee service led by Monica Staaf
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.
"A Blue Christmas" by Rev. Gretchen
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.
there are painful memories of disappointing
Christmas’s 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.
"Following the Star" by Rev.
Gretchen E. Weis
were these three astronomers, these magic
men from Persia? Were they wise men,
or fools? According to the ancient
holiday story, they looked up in the sky
and saw something that made them drop
everything, and saddle up their camels to
set out in search of something sacred.
The poetry of the story invites us
to consider – is there a star of wonder
beckoning to you? Calling you to
follow a path towards relationship with
"Finding the Holy Land" by Rev. Jim
Sunday, we welcome Rev. Jim Robinson from
the Foxboro UU church. Rev, Jim will speak
about leading a group of UU's to the "Holy
Land" (Israel and Palestine),
including an attempt to discover the
historical Jesus, only to find that the
"Holy Land" is here and now in each breath
"Ask Curious Questions" by Rev.
Gretchen E. Weis
Sunday, let's explore a "Question Box
Worship" where you will be invited to
write down a question you would like to
have the minister answer or discuss during
the service. There might be something
about our faith that puzzles you, or you
have a burning theological question, or a
question about Murray Church. Or
perhaps you might like to ask the minister
a personal question. The purpose
isn’t to try to “stump the minister,” it
is about celebrating our faith, which
encourages questioning at the deepest
levels and lifelong learning on our
respective spiritual journeys.
"Lucky Mud" by Rev.Richard Trudeau,
Sunday's sermon addresses the question,
“Who are we humans, really, when you get
down to it? When you get way, way, way
down to it?”
"Oh, We Give Thanks" by Rev.
Gretchen E. Weis
join us for our traditional cornbread and
cider communion Thanksgiving service, a time
for all ages to celebrate the many blessings
in our lives, including the blessings of one
"Saluting Our Gay Vererans" by Rev.
Gretchen E. Weis
than 17 years, “don’t ask, don’t tell” was
the policy that barred fully qualified gays
and lesbians from serving in the open in any
branch of the U.S. military.
Fortunately, the policy was repealed
in 2011, allowing gay, lesbian and bisexual
people to serve openly in the armed forces.
On this Veteran’s Day Sunday, Thom
Belt and Tovah Snyder will share their
miliraty service experiences. David
Calusdian leads today's service.
"UUs and the Right to Vote" Rev.
Gretchen E. Weis
Unitarian Universalists have been at the
forefront in the struggle for voting rights,
from Susan B. Anthony and her fight to give
the right to vote to women, to Rev. James
Reeb and Viola Luzzo, who were both murdered
in the fight for black voting rights in
Selma, Alabama, more than 50 years ago.
As the mid-term elections are upon us
this week, let us celebrate democracy and
the right to vote.
"Celebrating Diwali" Rev. Gretchen
E. Weis and Kavita Vansant
explore the Hindu celebration of Diwali, the
annual festival of lights that celebrates
the triumph of light over darkness, good
over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
Kavita Vansant, our Director of
Lifespan Religious Education, will co-lead
this multicultural service, which will
feature a performance by a traditional Hindu
dance troupe. This is a multigen
service for all ages.
"To Welcome the Stranger" Rev.
Charles Ortman, former interim minister of
the First Unitarian Church in Providence,
RI will be our guest minister. He will be
sharing his experiences of working with
the immigrant community in the Providence
"13 Thanksgivings" presented by Loren
Spears, Exec. Director of the Tomaquag
weekend where the nation officially
recognizes a 15th century explorer, we honor
the continent's Indigenous Peoples. Loren
Spears, Executive Director of the Tomaquag
Museum, will deliver the homily. Located in
Exeter, RI, the mission of the Tomaquag
Museum is to educate the public and promote
thoughtful dialogue regarding Indigenous
history, culture, arts and Mother Earth, and
connect to Native issues of today.
"John Murray's Wife Judith: A Feminist
Firebrand" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
John Murray Sunday. For it was on
September 30, 1770 that John Murray first
brought the message of universal salvation
- that there was no hell or eternal
damnation - to America. As we pause to
celebrate the man for whom our church is
named, let's turn some attention to his
wife, Judith Sargent Murray. Like most
women of her time, she was shut out of a
formal education. Yet she became a
self-taught playright, poet, and an
essayist. As one of America's first
feminists, she advocated that women were
also capable of intellectual
accomplishment and should have the right
to achieve economic independence. May we
lift up and celebrate how outspoken and
ahead of her times she was for 1790.
"Civility Matters, Character
Counts" Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
media turns 15 this year, which means our
teens can't remember a world that didn't
include the likes and dislikes of Facebook.
It also means many of of our young people
have grown up experiencing nasty,
disrespectful and outright cruel
communication as the new normal in the
public sphere. Between social media and our
current national leadership, I mourn the
loss of civility, don't you? Our faith calls
us to right relationship with ourselves,
with one another, and with our larger
community - to treat others, as well as
ourselves with respect in honor of the
inherent worth and dignity of al all people.
Civility matters, kindness and respect
matter, being of good character counts, now
more than ever.
"This is Us: The Murray Church
Story" Rev. Gretchen E. Weis
start our new church year, we reach back
across the generations to celebrate the
story of us -- to recognize the rich threads
of innovation, generosity and tradition that
have woven together throughout the years to
create the beautiful fabric of our shared
church life, together. This won’t be a
recitation of names and dates, but rather a
collection of amusing stories that reveal a
lot about the character and culture of this
"Ingathering, Water Communion" by Rev.
Gretchen E. Weis
once more to begin a new church year together.
All are invited to bring water
samples, symbols of how we spent our summer,
to add to our shared 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. All water samples
are welcome. It is good to be together