Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
May 31, 2020

This Sunday:

Rising to the Occasion

May 31, 2020 at 10:30 am

Rev. Sage Olnick, our Community Affiliated Minister, leads us in this morning’s service.

Covid19 has required us to make many changes and sacrifices. This Sunday we will consider how we each have risen to the occasion and honored our commitment to the interdependent web of which we are a part. We will do so in song, reflection, and ritual.”

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 week’s service you can view the recordings on our Past Services page on our web site at http;//uuberks.org.  Click on the “Worship” link on the main menu and select the “Past Service” option.

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:

FRIDAY (tonight)
7:00 PM
Story time link with Ms Ebee
Scroll down through this link for past stories.

9:45 to 10:15 AM

Seeds, Sprouts and Saplings (elementary ages)

  • Zoom Scavenger Hunt  with Ms Jayné and Erin. Contact Sunday Assistant, Erin, epcjjc@gmail.com if you need the log-in info resent.

10:30 AM: 
All ages worship :This week we come together to explore how we rise!

  • Coloring SheetLiveWithGreatRejoicing“, coloring page
  • ActivityOur story this week is about a river and the desert.  Do you have some sand to make a small sand garden?  

11:45 AM:
Virtual Youth Group: Kai Miller lead this week’s hang out session youth group.For zoom link contact Kai at kai@kaifawn.com.

Coming Up Next Week:

Check out our Remind classroom post sent early next wee for RE events happening next week.. 
If you need to signup link here: remind.com/join/refuucbc

Deepening our Church’s Commitment to Anti-Racism

Dear Members and Friends,

I woke up at 4:30 this morning. The killing of George Floyd was on my mind and heart. How could it be otherwise? How is it possible not to respond with anger, despair, sorrow, grief, and sleeplessness? Sadly this act of brutality against a black man is not new. Nor are such acts of violence against black boys and black women new. We’ve seen it before – too many times. The history of racism, colonization, slavery, exploitation, and white privilege in this nation is long and tragic.

Our congregation has been on a journey to educate ourselves and dismantle racism and oppression in ourselves, our church, and other institutions. Just two weeks ago, our church voted to adopt The 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism, affirming our commitment to building anti-racist, anti-oppression Beloved Community. What does this mean to us in this moment? What is being asked of our religious community right now, specifically those of us who are white?

Susan Frederick-Gray our UUA President writes that, “People of faith, particularly those of us who are white progressives, need to combat the systems of criminalization in our country. . . .We must all commit to dismantle white supremacy everywhere it shows up. We cannot advance the values of justice, equity, dignity, compassion, and interdependence without working to dismantle the culture of white supremacy. “

Indeed, we need to continue our work to educate ourselves and to ally with others in this work. We need to come together for dialogue and lament. And we need to work to dismantle white supremacy. Our ADORE group (A Dialogue on Race and Ethnicity) is in conversation about hosting a virtual conversation.

Meanwhile, let’s not get distracted from this calling of ours. Let’s continue the journey together – in love and grief.

Yours in faith,

Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

Can You Help? A Request from Joan Bromley

I need a kidney donation for a kidney transplant. Because of my blood type and age, my wait for a compatible kidney from a deceased kidney donor is expected to be as long as 8 years. At the moment there are 100,000 people in the US waiting for a kidney donation.
I feel very uncomfortable asking for help, but my doctor recommended that I ask if anyone would be willing to donate a kidney? Kidney donations from live donors last up to 3 times longer than ones from deceased donations. So, ideally a live donor is the best. Having a donated kidney provides a much better quality of life than doing hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.

If you are interested in possibly donating a kidney, please contact the living donor team, the number is 215-662-6200. There is a frequently asked questions page on the living donor website https://www.pennmedicine.org/for-patients-and-visitors/find-a-program-or-service/transplant-institute/living-donor-kidney-transplant. Even if we aren’t a match, if you’d be willing to donate to a kidney chain, many more people than just me could be helped. Thanks for your consideration. I really appreciate it.

In Love and Gratitutde,
Joan Bromley

When Can Our Church Gather In Person? – An Update

Some of you have already read or heard the updated guidance from the UUA related to reopening of our UU congregations. I know that I am grateful for their care and attention to offering us their recommendations and answers to the questions that are on all of our minds: When can we reopen our church to in-person gatherings? How can we begin to gather safely?

After consulting public health experts, the UUA has recommended that our congregations continue to meet virtually. They have further recommended that we plan to meet virtually for the next year through May of 2021.

While a shorter time-frame might be a low or moderate risk for some of our members, we have many congregational members and leaders who are at high risk. As a community, we need to give priority to the most vulnerable among us. Additionally, we are learning that religious gatherings are highly contagious events and that a long trajectory for the pandemic is predicted.

Our congregational leadership will be paying close attention to the ongoing guidance of the UUA as well as to the recommendations of local and state public health experts in determining our congregation’s reopening timeline. If conditions improve significantly and more quickly than predicted, small in-person gatherings or some offsite activities may become possible sooner.

I miss our in-person gatherings even as I am grateful that the church continues its mission and ministry. Through worship, religious education, pastoral care, and social justice – and so many other ways – we continue to live our values and endeavor to build Beloved Community.

In love and faith,

Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

Worship Tech-Slideshow Coordinators Needed

The worship team is looking for a few more volunteers who can run the Sunday morning slides during worship. Volunteers are on duty once every 4 to 6 weeks. You will get training and rehearse with the worship team the week prior to the service you are supporting. Rehearsals are held Fridays from 5-6 pmYou will need familiarity and ease using Zoom and slides (we use Google Slides which are similar to PowerPoint) as well as a strong internet connection. If you are interested or have questions, please send a email to g.worship.tech@uuberks.org.

Looking for Volunteers to make PPE (masks, gowns and headbands)

Did you know that our local health care professionals are in need of personal protective equipment?  Did you know that members of our congregation who work in health care would appreciate additional masks and gowns, enabling them to change ppe more frequently?  Did you know that there are families in the city, and homeless people

in the city, who need masks?  Did you know that FUUBC has nurse-approved patterns?  Can you sew?  Can you donate money for fabric?  Can you help distribute masks?

Have you answered “Yes”, and are eager to help?

Please contact Ginny Chudgar

Community Town Hall to Shut Down Berks

Join us on Wednesday, June 3rd at 6PM for a Community Town Hall to Shut Down Berks County Detention Center in PA! We will share more about the families at Berks amid the high danger of the COVID19 public health crisis, hear community voices, and hold our public officials accountable. Governor Wolf, you’re invited to join this event and sit down and listen to what we have to say.
#ShutDownBerks #EndFamilyDetention #FreeThemAll

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Family Promise will be having a virtual fundraiser – “Promisewalk”

Please register & start a team. It’s $25/household. There are prizes and it’s fun for all ages & pets too. People do not have to be from here to support this cause, they can do this from anywhere around the world. Please forward this and encourage all of your contacts to participate. The event is on all of our social media platforms which makes it easy to share and I’ve attached pictures as well.

Sponsorship opportunities are available, see details below, on link or in attachments.

Let’s make the best of a difficult time in history and be better prepared to serve the increased need in the months to come.

Thanks for helping us spread the word and register here

Please Update Your Zoom Accounts-ASAP

As of June 1st Zoom will be using an updated platform Zoom 5.0. Please take a moment to update your zoom accounts. You can do so by logging in to your accounts and selecting the update link where you see”Important Notice Please begin updating all your clients to Zoom 5.0“.

Click on the link provided and you will be guided through the update.

You can also find the update by clicking on “check for updates” in the settings menu in the upper right hand corner of your screen. If you are having problems accessing the download please contact our tech support team at g.worship.tech@uuberks.org

A detailed update guide can be located at this link as well: https://zoom.us/docs/en-us/zoom-v5-0.html

Are You Stressed, Lonely, Bored? Would You Like a Conversation Partner?

The pandemic is affecting us all in a variety of ways and, for some, the effects include feelings of isolation, boredom, and stress. Having a good conversation partner can help ease those stressors. Our church, through the Caring Circle, is coordinating regular conversation partners to build connection and offer companionship. Conversation partners will touch base regularly (by phone, email or regular mail) and provide a space to exchange stories, gratitudes, and sorrows.

If you are interested or want to learn more, please contact Rev. Sandra at minister@uuberks.org or the Caring Circle at g.caring.circle@uuberks.org.

5 Reasons To Attend Virtual General Assembly June 24-28

There are countless reasons to attend General Assembly. But here are 5 to consider this year:

  1. Featured Speaker Series – including Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, an historian, writer, and professor emeritus in Ethic Studies at California State University and author of ​the award-winning 2019-2020 UU Common Read An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.
  2. General Sessions (registration not required) – including reports by UUA president Susan Frederick-Gray, presentations by the UU Service Committee, social justice actions of immediate witness, and other social justice statements.
  3. Worship – including Synergy Bridging Worship (registration not required), a transformative multigenerational worship.
  4. Ware Lecture – by Naomi Klein, the inaugural Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University, and an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal (2019), The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes On the Disaster Capitalists (2018), and others.
  5. Programming – including numerous workshops on anti-racism, climate justice, and spirituality/theology.

To register ($150) or learn more about Virtual GA, click here.

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
  • 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

Covid-19 UU Berks Community Response Fund

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.

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

Threshold Moments
From Sandra’s Study

A [threshold is] a space to imagine a new way, and new self. Not moving or pushing but sitting and cultivating… [the goal] is to allow you space and time to reflect on your past, present, and future. To imagine a new beginning . . . .

Rev. Sara LaWall

Dear Members and Friends,

Threshold moments are a part of daily life, present in every day and hour, but they are made more pronounced when calamity or disaster strikes. Right now, we seem poised at a threshold. But of what? And how shall we move toward this threshold? How shall we cross it?

Threshold moments invite us into discernment where we ask such questions, where we reflect on what it means to move forward in the right way. Threshold moments ask us to imagine a new way and a new self. The threshold moments we are encountering collectively and individually as a result of the global pandemic are urging us to move and push. There is an urgency to aid those who are ill, to feed those who are hungry, to find a vaccine, to do our part in easing the suffering in the world. Our Social Justice Team has identified a number of pandemic-oriented volunteer opportunities our community can collectively engage to ease suffering, which are included in this month’s news. You can learn about them here.

Even as we are called to take action, threshold moments also require space – space to sit and cultivate. As Rev. Sara LaWall says, they “allow you space and time to reflect on your past, present, and future. To imagine a new beginning.”

Each of us needs to act and also to allow ourselves some space, to give ourselves some time. My wish for each of you is that you will allow yourselves space and time in which to reflect on how you are moving toward this threshold moment, toward these threshold moments, and how you are crossing them in these unscripted days.

Yours in a spirit of spaciousness and compassion,

Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

In the Threshold

For the past month each Wednesday night at choir we’ve been ending our gatherings with a chalice lighting and check in.  It’s a verbal threshold that we create together. This moment to light a chalice marks our transition from singing and listening and breathing together to being apart for the week.  We use a song to frame our chalice lighting.  It’s a different song each week.  I thought I could share one song with you for this month’s musings on what it means to live in threshold moments.

Hymn #352, “Find a Stillness” has lyrics by Carl Seaburg and is set to a Transylvanian folk tune.

Find a stillness, hold a stillness, let the stillness carry me.

Find the silence, hold the silence, let the silence carry me.

In the spirit, by the spirit, with the spirit giving power,

I will find true harmony.

Seek the essence, hold the essence, let the essence carry me.

Let me flower, help me flower, watch me flower, carry me.

In the spirit, by the spirit, with the spirit giving power,

I will find true harmony.

Seaburg’s lyrics hold an invitation Find a _____, hold the _______, let the ______ carry me.

In this threshold moment

What are you finding?

What are you holding onto?

What are you letting carry you?

In Harmony,



From Your Director of Religious Education: Ebee Bromley

In April I highlighted the #chalicechallenge I hope you had fun making your own chalice or you look forward to making one soon. This month of May we’re exploring how we can become “a People of Thresholds.” And a threshold is just a place between two things. When we pass through a threshold, a doorway we have to look around and see the new space we’re in. So we’re going to look around this month. Look around for a #chaliceoftheday

I’ve been following UU, Andrea Lerner and her #chaliceoftheday project for a few years now.  It’s a neat project to connect me to the symbol of our Unitarian Universalist Faith.  It’s the cup that holds the light of love, truth, grace, and justice.  The #chaliceoftheday let’s us be reminded that we choose to carry that light no matter what thresholds we move between.

So Take some time to notice chalices in everyday items and nature all around you. Here are a few from the project to get you started:

Bread from Lisa Bovee-Kemper

all we have

by nadine smet-weiss
Spiritual Director
















Upcoming events

RE Kids Hangout

Sun, May 31, 9:45 AM

Youth Group – Virtual

Sun, May 31, 11:45 AM

Choir Rehearsal

Wed, June 03, 7:00 PM

Food Pantry

Thu, June 04, 10:00 AM

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