When it is determined that worship services should be canceled by the President of the Board and Rev. Fees, notification will be made on the church voice mail recording and on the church website (www.uuberks.org) and facebook page facebook.com/fuubc/ by 8:00AM on the affected Sunday morning.
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,
What gifts does Awe Bring?
From Your Director of Religious Education Ebee Bromley
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.
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
As we find ourselves amidst the Winter holiday season, we are reminded of the radically transient nature of our existence by the coming to an end of the year and the decade. As we also start to look forward, this morning’s service will explore how a skillful relationship to impermanence can allow us to not only avoid the suffering caused by unreasonable expectations but also to appreciate the miraculous nature of the present moment, something which the world’s many wisdom traditions point towards at this time of year.
RE Theme this week: 12/29 Being True to Yourself by Finding Deep Joy
Seedlings, Sprouts & Saplings are combined: Hearing the story of “The Wise Master” and retelling it together Practice: The skill and practice of listening to your inner voice. Session Goal: Experience their conscience, or inner voice.
Youth Group: Exercise your creative spirit and enjoy the holiday downtime as we work on our credos and look toward 2020. Make sure to bring your notebooks if you took them home!”
Ushers: Brian Kammerer & Carol Gonzalez Greeters: Mona McCormick Coffee Crew: Group 1-Greg Burdan, Joan & Richard Bromley, Audio/Visual: Richard B. (Backup : Adam 0)
Have you seen our new website? Check it out at UUBerks.org
Rev. Sandra will be on study leave/vacation from Dec. 26 through Jan. 13. She will respond to pastoral emergencies during that time. For all other concerns, please contact the church office, a member of the Caring Circle, or a member of the Board.
Contemplative companions will meet on January 6th at 7pm. All are welcome.
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.
Are you looking for a way to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call for a Beloved Community? Here is one way to serve your neighbors in need. From Jan 19 – Feb 2, 2020, we will host Helena’s and Kilsey’s families in our church as they emerge from their housing crisis. Since they stayed with us in October, Kilsey’s sons have had birthdays, and Helena gave birth to baby Lennon in early November. They look forward to our hospitality again. There are 44 opportunities to volunteer and 4 ways to sign up:
Join in reading and reflecting on the award-winning book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. This narrative upends myths and misinformation, reconsiders the U.S. origin story taught in most schools, and presents US history through the experiences and perspectives of indigenous peoples. The church will be making a group book purchase with an exact cost per book TBD. Adult and young peoples’ versions available. Read more here.
Sign up for the workshop on the church bulletin board or by contacting the church office. This program is being hosted by UU Berks ADORE (A Dialogue on Race & Ethnicity, formerly the Racial Justice Education Team).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org