Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
January 5, 2020

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.

January’s theme: Integrity

What Does It Mean To Be a People of Integrity

January 2020

Loving inclusion has been an elusive goal within our congregations.

We are a covenantal people, and the promise of our faith, which was enough to bring us together, should have been enough to bind us together in love.

Many hearts have been, and often continue to be, broken, time and again.

We are a covenantal people, and the promise of our faith, which was enough to bring us together, should have been enough to bind us together in love.

“The Promise That Binds Litany” by Viola Abbitt

To be a people of integrity is to be a people of wholeness. It is to live into the promises of our faith. And this is exactly what we Unitarian Universalists are striving to be and do. Yet too often our high ideals have been but elusive goals. Too often, we have broken covenant. How can we hold ourselves accountable to our great promises?

Adopting The Eighth Principle will move us closer. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday we will explore how adding an eighth principle can help us recommit more fully to being anti-racist anti-oppression and multicultural. How can this principle contribute to the practice of our faith? At the end of the month, we will explore the need for both individual credos and collective covenants. As individuals we are asked to develop our spiritual beliefs, and, as a community, we seek to respect the bonds of love that bind us together. Being a people who hold ourselves and each other accountable will also move us closer to achieving the great promises of our faith.

Yours in faith and love,

Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

Calling Us To Integrity – Notes from Singing the Living Tradition

From You Director of Music:
Ebee Bromley

Songs can have the power to call us to the deepest part of ourselves.  To keep our integrity it’s so important to find and re-find that deepest part.  Rachel Naomi Remen from her book Kitchen Table Wisdom writes that “Integrity rarely means that we need to add something to ourselves: it is more an undoing than a doing, a freeing ourselves from beliefs we have about who we are and ways we have been persuaded to “fix” ourselves.”

I wonder what your song is that calls you to yourself? For me there are some great ones.  There’s one that has a history of finding and refinding that deepest part of Unitarian Universalism for many.  Singing the Living Tradition’s “We Would Be One” eventually found its way into our hymnal after it was written for the 1953-54 Continental Convention of Unitarian and Universalist youth by Unitarian minister Samuel Anthony Wright.  This was 10 years before the joining of Unitarians and Universalists into Unitarian Universalism but is sooooooooo a song about who we are together as Unitarian Universalists. This is a song that calls us to as Rev Kimberley Debus writes “to keep showing up.  A call to work, to learn, to listen, to pray, to sing.” for that high cause of greater understanding of who we are, and what in us is true.  May you know your truth, may we listen to each other’s truths. May we hold the truths of how we are together sacred and holy.

Making Integrity

From the Desk of Your Director of Religious Education:
Ebee Bromley

Have you ever played Jenga?  It’s one of my favorites. If you’ve never played you start with a sturdy tower of blocks and then turn by turn you remove one of those blocks from the lower levels and place that block on the top – trying to see just how tall you can get your block building before it falls.  Crash! Big Ba-da- BOOM.

And then we put the puzzle back together to play again or to put it away for another day.  Jenga isn’t about adding more blocks to the tower or taking them away without using them. It’s about using what’s there and exploring how to use it.  Our word of the month reminds me of Jenga. This month we’re asking what does it mean to be a people of integrity. It stems from the Latin word ‘interger’ which means whole and complete.  To be a people of integrity means we need to have wholeness. To be the solid Jenga form at the beginning and the end of the game. To have integrity is to watch how your actions affect you and those around you – is your jenga tower wobbling or is it solid?  When do you need to put a piece back? When do you need to pull a piece out and go out on a limb?

holy honest

From Your Spiritual Director:
Nadine Smet-Weiss

i depend upon you to remind me

who i am at heart and to hold me

accountable for my actions

accountable for my words

from a place in your heart

that recognizes


calls us to

truth in


This Sunday:

Worship Service:

The Paradox of Self-Interest

2020 will not be an easy year. We need to maintain our sanity, our courage, and our compassion, and we need to do so in a manner consistent with our moral principles. With integrity, in other words. Paradoxically, our strength lies in that most-maligned of all interests, self-interest. We are at our most powerful when we find our own stories in those of others and realize we have a stake in the game.

Children’s Programming: 

RE Theme this week:   1/5 Being True to Yourself by Walking the Talk (Emancipation Proclamation, Jan 1 & Justice)

Seedlings: in Nursery
Practice: The skill and practice of putting your beliefs into action.
Session Goal: Exploring Doing instead of just talking or thinking.
Calendar Connection: Emancipation Proclamation signed Jan. 1 by President Lincoln.

Saplings :  Teaching Tolerance: ““Just as portraits give us a window into how artists see their subjects and what messages they might be trying to send about a person or group of people, a self-portrait tells us a great deal about artists’ self concept, including how they see themselves in relation to society. Our self-image is important to our identities as activists! In this lesson, students will look at a few self-portraits of people of color and think about the role of art in struggles for racial justice.”

Youth Group:
Kick off 2020 with an in-class credo session and kickoff discussion for this year’s youth service. Come with whatever you need to be comfy while you reflect and write — headphones, pillows, preferred pens, water bottles, and snacks are all welcome! Don’t forget your notebook and any other materials you might need.


Ushers: Jeff and Laura Carson
Greeters: Jane Nase
Coffee Crew: Group 2: Sage Olnick, John and Mary Jo Weishampel,
Steph Carter and Janelle Bentz, Priya & Edwin Aitken.
SJ Table: Tonya Wenger
Audio/Visual: Frank W. (Backup : Richard B.)


Our church was re-keyed over the Holiday Break. If you previously had a key please exchange it with Melissa at coffee hour this Sunday.

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

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:

LGBTQ Caucus Meeting

There will be a meeting of the LGBTQ caucus at 12 PM on January 26th in the small meeting room off of the Gerber room. Childcare Provided

Trans Inclusion: Welcome as Spiritual Practice

The Welcoming Congregation team will host a workshop focusing on transgender inclusion in congregations entitled Introduction to a beloved Community: Welcome as a spiritual practice on Feb 2 2020 in the sanctuary at noon. It will run for 45 minutes with audience discussion Please sign up on the sheet on Gerber room bulletin board.

Indigenous Peoples’ Book Read and Workshop led by Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

Workshop: Sunday, March 29, Noon-1:30 pm (book reading period: mid-January-March 2020)

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).

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

Upcoming events:

Guitar Rehearsal

Mon, January 06, 7:45 PM

Choir Rehearsal

Wed, January 08, 7:00 PM

Food Pantry

Thu, January 09, 9:30 AM

Choir Rehearsal

Sun, January 12, 9:15 AM

UU History Film Series

Sun, January 12, 12:00 PM

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