Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
April 26, 2020

This Sunday:

The work of liberation is just that, work. Right? Yes, and no. Sometimes learning to let go – of a bad mood, a grudge, an addiction – can be just the thing we need to realize justice, truth, and freedom.

For Sunday’s worship, we are using the Zoom conferencing platform. It is easy to Zoom from a computer, tablet, or phone! Here is how you do it:

  • With a computer, smartphone or tablet, click on this link to participate: https://zoom.us/j/562036166. (If it’s the first time you’re using zoom you may be prompted to download a launcher app.)
  • With a land-line, cell phone, or smartphone (audio only)
    • dial this number to participate: 1-646-558-8656.
    • When prompted, enter the Meeting ID: 562 036 166.

Please plan to log on by 10:20 or 10:25 am so that you can establish a connection before worship is scheduled to begin. Please note that your mic will be muted and will remain muted for the service. Our service concludes with “virtual coffee hour” when members and friends are unmuted.

***This week during coffee hour, we will break into small groups for 15-20 minutes of focused conversation***

Missed Last Week’s Service?
If you missed last weeks service you can view the recording here

Are you having trouble connecting to Zoom services?

We have established a Zoom service tech line if you are having trouble logging into our Sunday service. If you do not get an immediate answer, leave a message and your call will be returned momentarily.Dial 484-925-1684.

This Week in RE:
All ages worship
For All: This week we come together to celebrate our bridging seniors  and the ways we can all embrace metamorphoses. Attached you will find a coloring sheet for our earth and an activity to do with items around your house
Pupa to Butterfly, what colors do you gravitate to when coloring this week’s sheet as you listen to the worship service? 
Activity – Cat’s Cradle, Our seventh principle reminds us that we are all connected and our changes affect more than just us so why not play some “web” games while listening to worship? Use a ball of yarn or cut a strip of an old worn out t-shirt for the physical material.  Here are some more web games you can play.

Seeds, Sprouts and Saplings: From 12-12:30 zoom time with Ms Jayné and Erin. We will get to check in and play.  One way we’ll play is to explore a “big idea” from An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States – the UUA’s common read.  More info on Children’s theater, this week’s activities, and this week’s caretaker’s corner found here.
Zoom Link to be sent via Remind. Contact director.religious.education@uuberks.org if you need the info resent.

Youth Group: From 11:45 – 12:30(ish) Youth Group will be having a time to hang out and focus our continued planning for our worship planning for May.
Info for signing on and getting a good connection sent via g.youth.group email. Contact director.religious.education@uuberks.org if you need the info resent.

Check out this fun video to learn
how you can participate in the
newest trend sweeping the world
of UUs – #chaliceChallege 

Ritual is important for faith formation – Wednesday evening let’s light a chalice.  Here’s our chalice lighting that might work well for you:
“To this quiet place of beauty, we come from busy things Pausing for a moment for the thoughts that quiet brings.” 
“We light this chalice for the warmth of love, the light of truth and the energy of action.” – Mary Ann Moore

speak the words, take one large breath in and out and then extinguish the flame.

What moments of ritual do you have in your home already? 

– Bedtime Yoga with Ms Cookie & Erin starts at 7:45 (20 min) 
– email director.religious.education@uuberks.org for password

Board Q&A Session-This Sunday

Dear Members, A lot has happened in a short period of time recently, due to the Covid-19 crisis. This has had a significant impact on all of us with no clear end in sight. And though participation in our online Sunday services and ‘coffee hour’ discussions has been robust, it’s not the same as being in each other’s physical presence and communing face to face. And many of you may be wondering what is going on with certain church functions and activities.

So, the Board would like to invite you to participate in a Q&A session to ask/learn about decisions that the church leadership and others have been making to adjust to these uncertain times. These topics include decisions made about the budget setting process, the pledge drive, the annual auction, the May 17th Spring Congregational Meeting , and what we are doing to ensure the church’s financial well-being.

This Q&A session will take place this Sunday, April 26th at noon. Below is the information to join the Zoom meeting….

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 947 5189 0713
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,94751890713#,,#,121562# US

Please sign this petition to free the families endangered by Covid-19 from the Berks Detention Center!

The Berks Family Detention Center is not protecting detained immigrant families from the coronavirus and is not testing families or staff for COVID-19. As documented in a new lawsuit filed against the state, the family prison is not providing adequate personal protective equipment, or sanitizing surfaces in common areas. Most importantly, social distancing under CDC guidelines is impossible for families detained in an enclosed congregate setting with shared bathrooms and communal eating and sleeping areas.

A documented history of medical neglect at the family prison heightens the risk that children and parents who fall ill will not receive life saving medical treatment. Families typically have sponsors they can stay with instead. #ShutDownBerks#FreeThemAll

Please sign this petition to

Contact Tonya Wenger tlwenger73@gmail.com if you have questions or if you want to get involved in FUUBC s’ immigration/detention center work.

Giving Options in a time of coronavirus
We know that these are uncertain times and that some of our members and friends are being impacted financially as well as in so many other ways. For those who are able to make a gift or continue to contribute to their pledge, we have added some options. In addition to accepting checks and signing up for electronic giving, you can also now make your gifts from the website and via text. Here are the details:

  • You can now give online on our website UUberks.org by clicking on the online giving tab or clicking  here
  • You can also give by downloading the GivePlus app on google play and the App store below. You can easily locate our church by zip code 19602

Midweek Mindfulness: Last week

This week will be your last chance to join Rev. Sandra Fees for 30 minutes of midweek centering, guided reflection, visual and musical meditation, and quiet. The last midweek mindfulness group will be held on. April 29th at 7:30 pm. Registration is not required but it is encouraged. You may contact Rev. Sandra at minister@uuberks.org to indicate your interest.

To participate:

By computer: https://uuma.zoom.us/j/887301181

By phone: 646-876-9923

Meeting ID: 887 301 181

Covid-19 UU Berks Community Response Fund

April 8, 2020 • 

In response to Covid-19, UU Berks is establishing a “Covid-19 community response fund” as a sub-category of the existing Minister’s Discretionary Fund (MDF). Donations to the “Covid-19 community response fund” will be used to fill critical gaps in the lives of individuals and families in Reading and Berks County that are the result of Covid-19.

Assistance may include one-time payments of phone, gas, electric, rent, or mortgage expenses resulting from lost wages or other Covid-19 related impacts. Recipients will be church members and friends or individuals and families referred by church members. Contributions may be made by check to First UU Church of Berks County (FUUBC). Write “Covid-19 MDF” on the memo line.

You may also make a contribution to the Minister’s Discretionary Fund for the ongoing hardships affecting church members and friends by sending a check to FUUBC and writing “MDF” on the memo line. Contact Melissa Medina, office administrator, at office@uuberks.org or Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees at minister@uuberks.org if you have questions.

An Update From the UUA on General Assembly

General Assembly, the annual conference that gathers thousands of Unitarian Universalists, is a tradition beloved by many. It is a time of celebratory reunion, participatory governance, and leadership development.

The UUA Office of General Assembly and Conference Services (GACS), along with a group of dedicated volunteers who form the General Assembly Planning Committee, scout cities, make commitments, and execute contracts years in advance to plan each conference.In February, GA 2020 planning was off to a remarkable start. Almost 2,000 people registered early and the number of program proposals and guest speakers broke recent records. Then COVID-19 became a national pandemic and a state of emergency was declared. Everyone—including Unitarian Universalists and those of us planning GA—had to quickly assess how to stay socially and spiritually connected despite being physically distant. I am proud of our creativity and flexibility during this time of hard choices and difficult transitions.

As Director of GACS for the UUA, the safety and well-being of all GA participants was my paramount concern as I monitored federal and state regulations, meeting and convention industry predictions, and the status of other faith-based assemblies. The decision of what to do about GA was complex, with a variety of scenarios to consider and much collaboration between the Planning Committee, UUA staff, and UU identity and affiliate groups. A thorough analysis of our contracts was also necessary to determine our legal and financial obligations, and what penalties we would incur should we breach the contracts.

Everyone involved in GA in some way, from presenters to exhibitors to speakers and staff, were feeling the anxiety that comes with uncertainty. Thankfully, the investment of time and effort on the front end paved the way for us to come to a mutually agreeable resolution with our partners in Providence. Then, the UUA Board passed a resolution authorizing a 100% virtual GA for 2020. The Board’s decision alleviated much of the anxiety and gave the UUA’s Internet Technology Services team and program presenters time to plan a more robust and rewarding virtual experience.

With so many UUs already online, this year’s GA could well be our highest-attended Unitarian Universalist gathering in history.
A 100% virtual GA comes at a time when many UU congregations have embraced virtual meetings and virtual Sunday services. Although this pandemic has been challenging for many, a silver lining is that UUs are adapting to and seeing the value of incorporating technology into their religious lives. With so many UUs already online, this year’s GA could well be our highest-attended Unitarian Universalist gathering in history! It will be accessible to a more diverse and global audience. It will also help reduce our carbon footprint, which aligns with our commitment to care for the earth and environment.

Join us as we experiment in previously unimaginable ways! If you are already registered for GA, your registration has been converted to virtual and you will receive a survey regarding the options for applying your refund. If you have not registered for GA, please click here to do so now.

May we be ROOTED in our revolutionary and living faith tradition, INSPIRED by this opportunity to live our mission in innovative ways, and READY to celebrate in June…virtually!

Yours in love,


The 8th Principle of UU

In May, our congregation will be voting on whether to adopt the 8th Principle to ground and guide our work toward building the Beloved Community. You can learn more here

Are You in Need of Resources?

Are you experiencing financial or grocery needs? The church community can provide a box of dry-goods groceries on a Thursday for pick up at the church or grocery cards to shop at Giant or Weis. For assistance with these or other needs, please contact by email Rev.Dr. Sandra Fees or the church office. You may call the church office at 610-372-0928 or email office@uuberks.org

UU the Vote: Apply for a PA Mail In or Absentee Ballot

Let’s ensure that we can all vote during the Pennsylvania primary on April 28 by applying now for a mail in or absentee ballot. You can check your voter registration status and apply for a mail in or absentee ballot here

Liberation: Our Collective Longing

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. ~ Lila Watson

Dear Members and Friends,

Liberation seemed at first to be an ironic and unlikely theme to be exploring in the month of April. So many of us have been sheltering in or in lockdown across the nation and world. So many are feeling anything but free. But liberation is our collective longing now–liberation from this pandemic, from the deaths and suffering, from the fear, from unemployment and economic struggles, from isolation. And along with the challenges the coronavirus has brought are the injustices and oppressions that were already imprisoning people. We see now, perhaps clearer than ever, that “your liberation is bound up with mine.”

So this month, I invite you to join in reflection and conversation about what liberation means to us in this time. How have our understandings of freedom been evolving? What would it mean to live every day knowing that “my liberation is bound up with yours”? What if liberation means letting go–letting go of what we think is “normal,” of bad habits, of consumer culture, of our over-insistence on individualism?

As the month of April unfolds and the natural world continues to bless us with its splendor, I wonder, in what ways are we learning to liberate ourselves and each other. I look forward to reflecting on these questions in community.

Yours in faith, love, and hope,

Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

Practices for Liberation through Song

From your Director of Music  

  1. Try Mindfulness by listening to the world around you – take 2 min or even 30 seconds to disengage from what you’re doing and notice what’s around you.
  2. Try Mindfulness by listening to yourself – What is the ear worm in your head connecting you to and telling you about the moment?
  3. Try Mindfulness by doing – we are embodied beings.  This time in our lives, many of us are being called to use our bodies less or use them in different ways than usual by distancing.  Music is the way that we can have an embodied connection across distance!
    • So use your bodies the way you do best, maybe that’s singing, maybe that’s playing an instrument, maybe that’s turning your stereo up real loud and dancing your hearts out – maybe it’s turning it up loud enough so your neighbor can dance with you too! (make sure to ask first on that one!)
    • Here’s a playlist on liberation to get you started



From your Director of Religious Education 

Many of us might feel stuck right now. We might feel stuck at home. It could be that you feel stuck with different schedules than you’re used to. It could be that you’re stuck with different ways to hang out with friends.

One way to free ourselves from feeling stuck is to make a game of it! This is a challenge we get to win! Check out these UU kids from Fort Myers, Florida and take their challenge up – the Chalice Challenge!!

I’m looking forward to seeing how you take up the chalice challenge! The Image for today’s post is a drawing of our UU chalice from David Snedden of Morristown, NJ


to be free


by Nadine J. Smet-Weiss

Spiritual Director

the greatest liberation

i        have   found

lies       in presence

fully       here now

open     and opening



           to soar

Upcoming events

Worship Tech Practice

Fri, April 24, 5:00 PM

Youth Group – Virtual

Sun, April 26, 11:45 AM

Board Q&A

Sun, April 26, 12:00 PM

RE Kids Hangout

Sun, April 26, 12:00 PM

Soul Matters Conversation

Tue, April 28, 7:00 PM

Choir Rehearsal

Wed, April 29, 7:00 PM

Midweek Mindfulness

Wed, April 29, 7:30 PM

Worship Tech Practice

Fri, May 01, 5:00 PM



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