Murray Church
Sermons 2018-2019

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

 

 

Sermon Directory 

 


July, 2019
June, 2019

May. 2019
Apr. 2019
Mar. 2019
Feb. 2019
Jan. 2019
Dec. 2018

Nov. 2018
Oct. 2018
Sept. 2018
Sermon Archive

 

July 14, 2019 "What's New at the UUA?" presented by Bruce Field

This year’s General Assembly (our annual UU national convention) has a new plan and new goals:  conversation replaces debate, and our UU Principles guide the agenda and the way people interact.  Come hear how old ways, including white supremacy, are being replaced by new opportunities for people of color, and more.  This Sunday service is an invitation to hear about UUA’s new “Brave Space,” and can be an inspiration for us here at Murray.



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June 30, 2019 "Our Vital Church Organ" presented by Mary Whelan and Claudia Binns

Learn 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!

Click here for more information about the history of our wonderful Hook & Hastings organ.

To view musical concerts with this fine instrument, click here!



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June 16, 2019 "Flower Communion"  Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

It’s 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 ages!

The Murray Church Rock & Roll House Band provided the music today with selected tunes from the Beatles songbook.



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June 9, 2019 "Stonewall: 50 Years Later"  Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

It was 50 years ago this month.  A riot started at the Stonewall Inn bar in Greenwich Village in the wee hours of June 28, 1969 and continued for two days. The gay community in New York City rose up and fought back against the late night routine police raids rounding up and arresting gay men to charge them with with the crime of homosexuality.  The Stonewall riots are honored as the birth of the gay rights movement.  Pride Parades are celebrated around the world in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots.  Given the current political climate, LGBTQ rights continue to be under fire.  Now more than ever, it’s important for us to speak up, speak out and march at Providence Pride on Saturday night.



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June 2, 2019 "Sharing Your Dream" Rev. Gretchen E. Weis & Janet Richardi

This 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 Circles feedback.



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May 26, 2019 "Building Bridges on Star Island"  McKayla Hoffman

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 our area.



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May 19, 2019 "Bridging Ceremony: Changes" Rev. Gretchen E. Weis & The Religious Education Committee

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, Ruth Debrot, youth group leader, and some of our teens.



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May 12, 2019 "Care for the Care Givers" Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

It’s 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 love.



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May 5, 2019 "Climate Change: Let's Talk About Hope" led by Judy Depue, Chair of the Green Sanctuary Committee

Climate 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 and nationally.



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April 21, 2019 "The Promise of Easter"  Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

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!



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April 14, 2019 "The Radical Table of Equals"  Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

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.



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April 7, 2019 "When Was the Last Time You Felt Clueless?" with Guest Minister, Rev. Nicholas Boke

Guest Minister, 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.



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March 31, 2019 "Racisim Interrupted"" presented by the Religious Services Committee

Two members 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 actions. This service will help us be more aware of racism and how to be good allies to those who are victims of it.

Please note: this sermon includes the graphic description of real life events, the use of profanity and language that may be offensive.



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March 24, 2019 "The Trancendentalists" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Ralph Waldo 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 Unitarianism.



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March 17, 2019 "Life Saving Generosity" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

His kidneys 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.



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March 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 from exploitation and violence.   Our dedicated offering this Sunday will help support New Hope’s construction of a new shelter here in Attleboro.

Note: Our guest speakers  were unable to attend due to the inclement weather. We will reschedule their visit for another time.



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March 3, 2019 "Ask Curious Questions, Part 2" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis  

Back in December, we held a “Question Box Worship,” where people wrote down a question they would like the minister to answer during the service.  We explored a number of questions together during that first service, but we still have quite a pile of questions left over.  Let us continue our Question Box Worship experience this Sunday as we celebrate this faith, which encourages questioning at the deepest levels on our respective spiritual journeys.



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February 24, 2019 "Empathy, Sympathy, Compassion" Rev. Gretchen E. Weis  

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.  



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February 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.



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February 10, 2019 "Reuniting With Awe" with Rev. Joanna Lubkin

How 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.

Rev. 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.



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February 3, 2019 "Why is it so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Robin 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 the Unity Room.     



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January 27, 2019 "The Mystery of Grace" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Grace.  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 found us.



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January 20, 2019 "I am Light and I WILL Shine" by the Music Committee

In this 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.



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January 13, 2019 "Stop Spinning Your Wheels" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

We 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?   



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January 6, 2019 "Candles of Hope in the New Year" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

The New 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.   



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December 30, 2018  "Warmth" a Religious Services Committee service led by Monica Staaf

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.  



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December 23, 2018  "A Blue Christmas" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

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 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.  



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December 16, 2018  "Following the Star" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Who 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 the extraordinary?  



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December 9, 2018  "Finding the Holy Land" by Rev. Jim Robinson

This 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 and footstep.  



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December 2, 2018  "Ask Curious Questions" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

This 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.  



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November 25, 2018  "Lucky Mud" by Rev.Richard Trudeau, Guest Minister

This 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?” 



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November 18, 2018  "Oh, We Give Thanks" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Come, 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 another!



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November 11, 2018  "Saluting Our Gay Vererans" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

For more 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.



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November 4, 2018  "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.



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October 28, 2018  "Celebrating Diwali"  Rev. Gretchen E. Weis and Kavita Vansant

Let's 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.



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October 21, 2018  "To Welcome the Stranger"  Rev. Charles Ortman

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 area. 



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October 7, 2018  "13 Thanksgivings"  presented by Loren Spears, Exec. Director of the Tomaquag Museum

On a 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.



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September, 30, 2018  "John Murray's Wife Judith: A Feminist Firebrand"  by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

It's 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.



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September, 23, 2018  "Civility Matters, Character Counts" Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

Social 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.



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September, 16, 2018  "This is Us: The Murray Church Story" Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

As we 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 wonderful community.



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September 9, 2018  "Ingathering, Water Communion" by Rev. Gretchen E. Weis

We gather 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 once again!   



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