Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
November 10, 2019

November’s theme: Attention

What It Means To Pay Attention — From Rev. Sandra’s Study

To give one’s full attention is to look closely, to linger upon, to delve, to immerse oneself into something that at first seems “other” but soon seems “one with.” To give attention, in the end, is to be grasped.
~ David Seaburn

Lingering in nature is a sure way to be grasped. At least it is for me. The change of season this Autumn offers a particular opportunity to give my full attention–to give myself over to the beauty and mystery of it all. It’s hard to ignore the altered patterns of sunlight, turning colors of leaves, and shifting quality of the air. And who wants to ignore it, anyway? Why not delve in and go deeper? Because, as writer David Seaburn notes, when we immerse ourselves in something that is other, our devotion soon makes us one.

This too is true of our relationships with one another, with our call to be attentive to each other. As we move past the surface, lingering with patience and careful observance, a path unfolds toward greater intimacy, vulnerability, and connection.

This month as we explore together what it means to be people of attention, may we find ourselves in communion with beauty, mystery, our own hearts, and each other.

Yours in faith, love, and gratitude,

Rev. Sandra

Pay Attention To Your Breathing-A note from your Director of Music

When I breathe in,

I’ll breathe in peace.

When I breathe out,

I’ll breathe out love.

Breathe in, Breathe out,

Breathe in, Breathe out

  • Sarah Dan Jones

I’ve written about the hymn #1009 before and this month geared towards asking ‘what does it mean to be a people of attention?’ is calling me to write about “Meditation on Breathing” again.  For as the DRE for SoulMatters, Katie Covey, writes “We turn our attention to our breath to find our center. We turn our attention to our breath to find freedom from worry so that we may turn our attention to other people’s pain.”   This time I’ll share the composer’s own reflection on the song found on the blog “Notes from the Far Fringe” (link is external)

“The song has since taken on a life of its own…When folks talk to me about it (like when I sing it when visiting out), they range from parents using it to sing their kids to sleep, adults using it in meditation, hospice choirs. Once, a man told me about how he and his husband had purchased two pigmy goats – they were in the back seat being driven to their new home and making all kinds of noises. The men started singing the chant and the goats calmed down (I often tell that story and note how the chant is multi-species!!).” – Sarah Dan Jones

With full breath and full love,

Your Director of Music – Ebee Bromley

Attention At the Table-From the Desk of your Director of Religious Education

In this month where we will explore what it means to be a people of attention – when’s the last time you noticed who you were eating dinner with?  – when’s the last time you noticed what you were eating?  I mean really noticed.

Starting your dinner with a short meditation or prayer is something that some people and families do  to turn our attention to gratitude for what we have. Here are three examples:

Sent from the families of Boulder Valley UU Fellowship in Lafayette, CO:

“Here’s a grace that Natalie’s kids learned at the UU church in Memphis when they were little (early ‘70’s) and said at home:

May we have eyes that see,

Hearts that love,

And hands that are ready to serve.

Another family shared this grace from school:

The silver rain, the shining sun,

the fields where scarlet poppies run

and all the ripples of the wheat

are in the breads that we do eat.

So when we sit for every meal and

say our grace we always feel

that we are eating rain and sun

and fields where scarlet poppies run.

In our own church in class our young children say this prayer before lighting the chalice you could very well change the word church to home for table use:

This is the church of the open mind

This is the church of the helping hands

This is the church of the loving heart

I’d like to invite you this month, if you have a prayer or meditation you use to email it to director.religious.education@uuberks.org.

With Gratitude for each and everyone of you,

calling my attention

by nadine j. smet-weiss

spiritual director


by the demands

of the day

flooding forth

fracturing and


my ability

to focus

on anything

at all

i heave a heavy sigh

and that whisp

of breath

calling my attention

to this moment




my spiritual practice

This Sunday:

Worship Service:

Turbulence Is Coming

John PavlovitzRev. Dr. Sandra Fees

Individually and as a nation we are experiencing a shaking. We now have the opportunity to be peace givers and not fear bringers, and to learn, as did the followers of Jesus, how to endure the turbulence and how, at times, to become the turbulence and how, at times, to become the turbulence. How can we leverage our lives to bring peace to those who are shaking.

John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina. His blog, “Stuff That Needs To Be Said,” reaches a diverse worldwide audience. A 20-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry, John is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and outside faith communities. In 2017, he released his first book, A Bigger Table. His newest book is Hope and Other Superpowers.

Children’s Programming:

RE Theme This week:  Paying attention to all around us

Seedlings (PreK): Maria leads – a class using story Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry, illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld Stick and Stone are kind to each other and pay attention to how each other need help. We can do the same thing.

Sprouts (Gr 1-2) : This session introduces and encourages the virtue of courage, and defines it as the ability to stand up for what we believe is right despite our fears. It also relates to the sixth Unitarian Universalist Principle — the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all — as it calls the children to find the courage to work toward this goal.

Saplings (Suggested Gr 3-6) : Attention to the Needs of Others: The Practice of Helping – Focus Question: How can we pay attention to what other people need?
Practice: The skill of spreading kindness.
Session Goal: Understand that each of us can pay attention to how we can help others.

Youth Group (suggested 7th-12th) : Attending Worship – Using the worship focus worksheet teens will sit together and have the opportunity to hear John Pavlovitz’ message


Usher(s):Mike Szjana & Shelley Kauffman
Greeter(s):Sue Johnston
Coffee Crew: Group 3: Bonnie Sirott- Arleth, Paula and Joe Plageman, Brad Richardson and Lynn O’Brien

John Pavlovitz is coming to Reading!-Starts Tonight

John Pavlovitz, author, blogger, pastor, and social justice activist is coming to Reading for a series of events November 8 – 10, 2019.

His blog, “Stuff That Needs To Be Said” reaches a diverse, worldwide audience. Pavlovitz, who speaks to groups around the country regularly, has also written two books: of “A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community” and “Hope and Other Superpowers: A Life-Affirming, Love-Defending, Butt-Kicking, World-Saving Manifesto.”

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Living a Life of Social Justice Workshop

10 am – 2:00 pm, lunch is provided

Location: First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County, Reading PA

Cost is $25 per person, lunch is provided.

Scholarships are available. Please contact Rev. Fees to request a scholarship.

Link for registration:


During this workshop, John will work with us to identify how we can turn our passion for social justice into action. He’ll also address “social justice fatigue” and how we can take care of ourselves while speaking out and showing up.

Seating is Limited and this event is open to the public.

Terri Bridgwater will be available during coffee hour after church on Sunday, to assist with registrations.


Friday, November 8, 2019

An Evening with John Pavlovitz

This event, presented by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County, will be co-hosted by Calvary United Church of Christ in Reading.

After John’s presentation there will be a Q & A and book signing. His books and other merchantise will be available for purchase after the event.

Light refreshments will close the evening. This event, presented by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County, will be co-hosted by Calvary United Church of Christ in Reading.

Donations will be collected for a local social justice cause.

Pavlovitz info:This event is FREE, but an entry ticket / registration through EventBrite is required. Follow this link to register / get an entry ticket:

Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving
Join us for our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving service Wednesday November 27th at 7 p.m. This year it will be hosted by Immanuel UCC located at 99 S Waverly Street in Shillington.

Community Town Halls–Members Asked To Attend at Least One

The Board and Bylaws Committee will be hosting four Community Town Halls to discuss our new Shared Governance model and interim  changes to our bylaws. The congregation will be voting on these important interim bylaws changes at the Dec. 8 congregational meeting. The Town Hall dates are: Nov. 17, and 24, and Dec. 1 in the sanctuary at Noon. A sign up sheet is on the Gerber Room bulletin board.

From the Welcoming Congregation Committee of First UU Church:

Wednesday, November 20, marks the twentieth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). It was founded in 1999, by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman, to memorialize the murder of another Transgender woman named Rita Hester. Since its’ inception, the TDOR has grown into an annual international observance to remember transgender people who suffered violence and death for simply being who they are.

In 2018, there were 26 transgender people murdered in the USA, and thus far in 2019 there have been 22 transgender people murdered. The overwhelming majority of these victims are transgender women of color.

On Sunday, November 17, we will mark the TDOR with a reflection on the intersection of racism and transphobia. We hope that you are able to attend this service and observance.

Church Members: Mark your calendars for the Dec. 8 congregational meeting:

The meeting follows immediately after worship. Be part of choosing the next special plate collection recipients, deciding on whether to fly a rainbow flag outside our building, and voting on enhancements to our democratic approach to making decisions. And don’t forget to sign up for one of the four Town Halls leading up to the meeting. Questions: contact Art Arleth, board president, or Lynn O’Brien, board vice president.

General Assembly 2020

General Assembly 2020 is being held in Providence, RI, June 24-28. Members and youth are encouraged to attend. Anyone may attend. Our congregation will also have 4 assigned delegates, who will be authorized to vote on business matters and whose registration will be funded by the Orts UU Scholarship Fund.

General Assembly is the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists for conducting business of the Association, exploring the theological underpinnings of our faith, and leaning fully into our mission and principles. Please join us Wednesday, June 24 through Sunday, June 28, 2020 in Providence, Rhode Island for this 5-day immersive experience themed Rooted, Inspired & Ready! Join your faith family at inspirational worship services, informative workshops and a bustling exhibit hall. We anticipate that 4,500+ UUs will gather for this unforgettable experience and leave with renewed energy and innovative ideas for congregational and community engagement.
Registration is Now Open!
Registration is now open at uua.org/ga/registration. Full-time registration is $400 for adults, $250 for high school youth and retired and candidate ministers, $150 for off-site registrants. Early bird registration is now through March 15, 2020. Rates increase on March 16th.
NEW! Registration Payment Plan
Prefer smaller payments over a longer period of time? We’ve designed a payment plan just for you. When you register, simply click “payment plan” when prompted and, for as little as $50 down, you can spread out the balance of your registration over several months. Registration must be paid in full on or before February 29, 2020.
Register for General Assembly Now!

The UUA is committed to the goal of making GA accessible to as many attendees as possible. Go to uua.org/ga to learn about scholarships to support participation – particularly of those from marginalized groups – and volunteer opportunities (work in exchange for registration). The UUA is committed to addressing the inclusion of all people, whatever their abilities might be, in all GA activities. Beyond the physical accessibility of the facilities we use – ramps, captioning, seating cut-outs, etc.- we endeavor to take the next step: to truly welcome people with disabilities into every facet of GA.

Housing Opens March 2 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern
In addition to a variety of nearby hotels, attendees will also be able to book dormitory-style accommodations at two local universities. Also, UUs from local congregations will serve as host families for Home Hospitality, which is B&B style accommodations. Make your hotel reservation beginning March 2 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. For more information, visit uua.org/ga/travel.

You can learn more about GA here: https://www.uua.org/ga. If we have enough participation, we will look into vans and/or sharing rides. Meanwhile, if you are interested, please add your name to the bulletin board sign up sheet, or contact the church office at office@uuberks.org

Nov 8, 2019
7 pm- An Evening with John Pavlovitz at Calvary United Church of Christ, Reading PA

Nov 9, 2019
10 am- Living a Life of Social Justice -Workshop with John Pavlovitz

Nov 17th & 24th
12 pm -Community Town Halls

Nov 27, 2019
7 pm- Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving
Immanuel UCC, Shillington, PA

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