Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
February 16, 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.

February’s theme: Resilience

What Does It Mean To Be a People of Resiliency

February 2020

Things seem like they’re spinning out of control. We can respond to this state of affairs with fear, aggression, and selfishness, or we can respond out of trust in our vast, open, basically good mind, which is timelessly aware, yet empty of imputed meanings. How we respond will determine the way the world will go. As citizens of our world, we can help things go in the direction of wisdom, caring, and compassion.

— Pema Chodron

I am finding the need for a lot of practices and resources to keep my spirit courageous, hopeful, and resilient. I mean, the world is on fire, isn’t it?! Spinning out of control! Rollbacks of environmental protections, the ongoing assaults on people of color, including travel bans, the continued erosion of reproductive rights, corruption. And then add to that the major and minor hurts and losses in one’s own life. It’s a lot to handle.

So I keep returning to basics–to what can help me hold onto my vision of wisdom, caring, and compassion for myself and others. For me, right now, these basics include 30 minutes of yoga every day, walking for 45 minutes 3-5 times a week, using nasal rinse daily, at least 8 hours of sleep every night, daily writing, regular meals and quality time with my partner, snuggling with my cat, staying connected to family and friends, and time to read just for fun. They also include limiting my exposure to Facebook and the 24/7 news cycle, limiting my sugar and caffeine intake, resisting the urge to overwork and overfunction. These are both partial lists, and some of these items sure don’t sound very glamorous. But what I do and what I don’t do (even some of those seemingly mundane habits) matter enormously to my spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being.

This month as we explore the theme of resiliency, I wonder, what is on your list of resiliency habits?

Yours in a spirit of resiliency and hope,

Rev. Sandra

There is a love

From Your Director of Music

In this month where we can be bombarded by conversation hearts and chocolates – I’m reminded that while valentines day can get stuck on one kind of love the ancient Greeks identified 8 different types of love.  I’m also reminded that unconditional love, affectionate love, love of self, familiar love, enduring love, and playful love can all help us strengthen our resiliency. For yes while I can tell myself “I can do it” I can also remind myself “I don’t have to do it alone.”

Rev. Dr.  Parker wrote “There is a love holding me/us.  There is a love holding all that I/we love. There is a love holding all. I/We rest in this love.”  One of the ways I find deeper love and I can say those “I/We can do it” affirmations a little stronger is to sing the song that Beth Norton wrote these words for.

6 Hymns that also strengthen and spring me back to life:

6 Just As Long As I Have Breath

123 Spirit Of Life

398 I Know This Rose Will Open

1002 Comfort Me

1013 Open My Heart

1009 Meditation On Breathing


How we hang in there

From Your Director of Religious Education

The word resilience is made from the Latin word re meaning “back” and saliens “the beginning, the starting point, the heart of the thing”.  So to be resilient is to return to the heart of ourselves. That returning?  It’s a journey, a motion. So how do we stay moving and come back to the heart of it all?  One way we can ask that is what do we hold onto in hard times? Another question would be how do we hold on, or move through or….. how do we hang in there in the hard times?

My UU colleague up in Montpelier Vermont,  Liza Earle-Centers, explains it this way:

 When we care for our body and spirit we can be resilient.  So let’s review for our bodies, on a daily basis we have to:

 1) Eat (mostly healthy) food 2) Drink water  3) Breathe fresh air 4) move 5) play 6) sleep

These are healthy body practices.

What are the things we can do for our spirit to keep our spirits strong on a daily basis?  We need healthy spiritual practices! What can those be? Well the difference between healthy body practices and spiritual practices are that while everyone eats, drinks, and sleeps, spiritual practices are more unique for each person.

Here are a few to try out.  Maybe try one everyday for a week, maybe keep it going for the month! Maybe if you have a regular spiritual practice try a short new one for a week and see what happens.  I would love to hear how we feel after our practice tryout:


  1. Hang on to time to sing
  2. Hang on to time to sit quietly
  3. Hang on to time to make some art
  4. Hang on to time to be thankful (gratitude jar is one way to do this)
  5. Hang on to time to look out your window and find one magnificent thing

Yours in Faith and in Hanging in there,

Ebee Bromley

Two resources to find what works best for you to hang onto: 

Faithful Practices: Everyday ways to feed your spirit   ed. By UU minister Rev Erik Wikstrom

Everyday Spiritual practices: Simple Pathways for enriching your life ed. By UU minister Scott Alexander.

Or videos from SacredSkills.org the Fulfilling Service: Resources to Create Sacred Spaces and Experiences

resilience embedded

by nadine j. smet-weiss

spiritual director

sitting here with my breath i am reminded

of the heart at the heart of each being

infinitesimal spark of light

hidden in each and every form

unfolding through the eons

becoming unending

appears to falter

mystery moves

 spark ignites



This Sunday:

Worship Service:

Resiliency Practices

What are the practices that can help us build resiliency in terms of personal struggle and national or global crisis? Today we’ll share and seek some practical guidance for developing resiliency practices in our daily lives.

Children’s Programming: 
RE Learning Structure this Week: Elementary age students are invited to attend Children’s chapel and prepare for coffee hour service. Youth Group will continue their exploration of Islam.

RE Theme this week:   This month we’re exploring the many ways our UU faith invites us to become “a people of Resilience.” To get at that, our sessions are each built around four key things we “hold on to” in order to make it through hard times. This week in children’s chapel we focus on the idea that in hard times we hold onto love.

Seedlings: in nursery

Sprouts and Saplings:  Using the Song “There is a Love” (words by Rev Parker & music by Elizabeth Norton) we’ll have a worshipful moment and hear LOVE by Matt de la Peña. Then we’ll practice love through service – getting ready to help in coffee hour.

Youth Group:  . This week we will look at the some of the great Contributions of Islam to the world. We will also dig deeper in learning more about the five pillars of Islam and what are the connections of Unitarian Universalism and Islam.


Ushers: Corrine or Dan Hauk and Shelley Kauffman
Greeters: Mona McCormick
Coffee Crew: Group 8- Nadine Smet-Weiss, Mike Szajna, Judy Aubrey, Dave and Wendy Wentzel
SJ Table: Dave S.
Audio/Visual: Mike S.

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

RE Fundraiser– This Sunday

On Sunday, February 16 after services we will have a sit-down fundraising coffee hour with children of the church helping to serve snacks and beverages. Any money donated by attendees will go to scholarships for church members to attend this year’s General Assembly. We hope to see you there!

Shut Down Berks Vigil-This Sunday

Shut Down Berks Interfaith Witness, the Shut Down Berks Coalition & Make the Road PA will host a vigil led by Sister Dottie Almoney and the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry/PA on Sunday, Feb 16th at 3:30pm at the Berks County Residential Center located at 1040 Berks Road Leesport, PA 19533.Parking is available at the buildings across the road from the center.


Visit the Shut Down Berks Interfaith Witness Facebook page-Facebook.com/shutdownberks/

Common Read Books Are In
 If you did not order a book but would still like to purchase one, there are a few copies still available. The cost of the books is $11. Please see Carol Orts at the welcome table during coffee hour,

UU 20’s/30’s Meeting

The 20s/30s Folx will be meeting on Thursday, February 20th, at 7 pm in the Gerber Room to make “decade collages” followed by a time of meditation. For more information and to RSVP, e-mail Nic at nic.stoltzfus@icloud.com.

“Building a Community of Communities” Workshop facilitated by Paula Cole Jones

Sunday, Feb. 23, Noon-2pm Paula Cole Jones will introduce the concept of a Community of Communities and guide us in looking at a new, collaborative way to engage with each other in discussion and decision-making. If we focus on the well-being of Communities, will we develop a more inclusive culture? Are there other ways to engage in democratic process? What might it look like for our Principles to be in action, while integrating the 8th Principle of building Beloved Community? Please join us on February 23rd as we explore these questions together.

Social Justice Coordinating Team Meeting

The Social Justice Coordinating Team Meeting will meet on Weds. February 26th at 7pm in the Gerber room.

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.

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).

UU College of Social Justice Summer Internship Applications Are Open!

More info can be found at www.UUCSJ.org/internships . Placements this year are:

  • Annunciation House – San Antonio, TX
  • Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network – Boston, MA
  • Engaging People in Change – Millbrook, NY
  • Rural & Migrant Ministry – throughout New York
  • UU Justice Florida – throughout Florida
  • UU United Nations Office – New York, NY

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:
Choir Rehearsal 
Sun, February 16, 9:30 AM

RE Coffee Hour Fundraiser
Sun, February 16, 11:30 AM

Shut Down Berks Vigil
Sun, February 16, 3:30 PM

Guitar Rehearsal 
Mon, February 17, 7:45 PM

Membership Committee
Tue, February 18, 7:00 PM

Choir Rehearsal 
Wed, February 19, 7:00 PM

UU 20’s/30’s Group
Thu, February 20, 6:45 PM

Workshop with Paula Cole-Jones
Sun, February 23, 12:00 PM

RE Committee Meeting
Sun, February 23, 12:00 PM

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