Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
December 1, 2019

December’s theme: Awe

Awe: That Ache in the Heart

From Rev. Sandra’s Study:

Our expression “awe” is rooted in the Greek word
áchos which also gives us the word ache. That
vastness we experience in awe opens an ache in the
heart, and by doing so, expands it.

from the Dictionary

Awe opens that beautiful ache in the heart. It reminds us of the immensity of the universe. That realization can leave us feeling simultaneously small and large, insignificant and essential. The immensity of the universe certainly humbles us. It’s so vast and timeless compared to our short and relatively small existences. And yet, here we are part of this magnificence. That’s pretty astonishing! That’s why when I gaze up at the stars flecking the night sky or look down at the gold leaves scattered across my yard I have a religious experience, an experience of being awestruck.

It’s for this very reason that our UU faith encapsulates awe in the first source of our living tradition: “direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.”

This month we are exploring the places where we experience awe and the nature of those experiences. Join us as we search the heavens, our relationships, and day-to-day lives for the places that open our hearts.

Yours in love and faith,

Rev. Sandra

What gifts does Awe Bring?

From Your Director of Religious Education
Ebee Bromley


Citation: Huyck, David and Sarah Park Dahlen. (2019 June 19). Diversity in Children’s Books 2018. sarahpark.com blog. Created in consultation with Edith Campbell, Molly Beth Griffin, K. T. Horning, Debbie Reese, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Madeline Tyner, with statistics compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison: http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp. Retrieved from https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/picture-this-diversity-in-childrens-books-2018-infographic/

Awe is one of the greatest gifts I know.  Awe can be a wonderful thing. It can be the spark that helps us see the beauty of the world, the magnificence of an acorn or the wonder of a single snowflake.  It’s the thing that helps us revel in all that is known and unknown.

It can also be an “aha!” recognition of the sadness of the unfathomable – like how is it 2019 and we still are working on [insert something we think should be already accomplished].  How is it that we still don’t have a wealth of accurate and fair representation of underrepresented communities? Here are three sources to help us turn this unfair tide:

The link for the picture cited has a plethora of great articles from the past 5 years and two decades pointing to the whys and hows.

Center for Racial Justice: This organization “envisions a world where all young people learn and thrive in racially equitable, liberating, and empowering educational spaces” and they do the work to help us work towards that too!  It has a really great resources page for “A Racial Justice Guide to Winter Holiday Season for Educators and Families” The Mental health and the holidays section is pretty great. https://centerracialjustice.org/resources/racial-justice-guide-holidayseason/

*** there are articles in here for everyone
inSpirit Bookstore!  Is the UUA’s Bookstore.  They have great gift options for all your gift shopping this season.  I’m highlighting their Holiday Guide https://www.uuabookstore.org/Holiday-Guide-C1409.aspx   but they also have just great options thoughtfully curated to help increase not just more diverse books but more accurate  representations of our world.

The Awe of a Simple Melody

A Note From Your Director of Music
Ebee Bromley


In this month of Awe I share with you a lullaby from our hymnals – highlighted as the “Song of the Month” in our Soul Matters materials:

#230 “Duermete, Niño Lindo” is found in our grey hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition, published in 1993 (close to 30 years ago) and is a Mexican folk song.  It showed up more broadly in american pop culture in 1961 through American composer Norman Dello Joio’s song based on this lullaby called “The Holy Infant’s Lullaby” for the TV opera, “The Saintmaker’s Christmas Eve”.  Once again it showed up in a pop culture through an episode of “Touched By an Angel” in 1997 where this song saves lives.

When we sing lullabies, or “arrullos,” or “canciones de cuna,” or “nanas,” as a congregation I am  and you might be drawn into the tenderness of life that these songs bring forth.

What lullabies did you hear, do you hear today, or do you sing today?

As you go about your month, here is a playlist of songs capturing the euphoria of Awe in forms both quiet and loud.  shorturl.at/mrEIV

Here Duermete, Niño Lindo here:

 Mexican lullaby/folksong Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LrhKWgapHQ

From New Mexico Folk Recordings: https://econtent.unm.edu/digital/collection/RobbFieldRe/id/4251

the pause

From Your Spiritual Director:
Nadine Smet-Weiss

i pause to receive

life as it is


full breath



This Sunday:

Worship Service:

The Awe in Nature

Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

Nature fills us with awe. Standing beneath the stars or on the top of a mountain or both can leave us breathless and more alive than we ever imagined possible. Join us as we explore nature’s essential role in our lives and our spiritual community.

Children’s Programming:

RE Theme : For the month of December we’re translating “Awe” to the “gooseBumps we feel when…”

12/1 The GooseBumps that Arise from Looking at the Night Sky (Solstice, Stars and the Cosmos)

Seedlings (PreK): in Nursery

Sprouts (Gr 1-2) :Practice: The skill and practice of noticing the vastness of the night sky.
Session Goal: Explore the amazement we feel when we look at the stars.Calendar Connection: Winter Solstice (Dec. 21)

Saplings (Suggested Gr 3-6) :  Exploring the Universe and Making Galaxy Ornaments

Youth Group:  Voting on questions to ask during the field trip to St Peters and sharing breakfast. 11:45 we travel to St Peters, just a few blocks away to meet Sister Margret and attend the bilingual Mass. (Prior permission required.)


Usher(s):  Mike Szjana & Shelley Kauffman
Greeter(s):  Mona McCormick
Coffee Crew:  Group 6- Mike and Carla Mannix, Delite Hawk, Cathleen Brown, Joanne Koehler, and Cyndi Dimovitz
SJ Table: Pat Uribe-Lichty
A/V:Frank W. (Backup : Mike S.)

Have you seen our new website?
Check it out at UUBerks.org

Community Town Hall

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 last Town Hall will be this Sunday, Dec. 1 in the sanctuary at Noon.

Contemplative Companions – December 2019
Join us on Monday December 2nd, @ 7:00pm for a time of contemplation and creativity. Wilfriede Axsmith will lead us in an acrylic painting experience. Please RSVP so we are sure to have ample supplies, and wear clothing that can be paint splattered without regret. All are welcome. Contact Jane Rohrbach (windowsjmr@comcast.net) or Nadine Smet-Weiss (njw1258@hotmail.com) for further information.

Soul Matters Conversation

These once-a-month conversations facilitated by Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees focus on sharing experiences and deepening engagement with the monthly worship themes. This month’s theme is Awe. For the month of December the group will meet on December 3rd  from 7-8:30 pm.

Mark your calendars: Dec. 8 congregational meeting with a critical vote in our democratic growth process

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 a critical vote in our democratic growth process toward Shared Governance.Childcare will be available complete with pizza and games.
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.

UU History Film Series
Join us for the last installment of the UU Film series on January 12th following service.This video explores the century-long “courtship” between Unitarianism and Universalism, follows Unitarian Universalism through the 50 years of its existence, and ends with some personal comments on what its future might hold.
Save the Date

Save the date for our Annual Service Auction.It will be held on Saturday, April 25th at 6 pm.

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

For a full listing of events visit our calendar here
December 1, 2019

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Community Town Hall

December 2, 2019

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Contemplative Companions – December 2019

7:45 pm – 8:45 am

Guitar Rehearsal

December 3, 2019

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Soul Matters Conversation

December 4, 2019

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Choir Rehearsal

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