Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
August 2, 2020

This Sunday:

Floating in a Time of Collective Trauma

August 2, 2020 at 10:30 am

What a unique time we find ourselves navigating. We’ll look at understanding the effects that this time has on our individual and collective psyches. We’ll then learn how to embrace the concept of adaptive floating when facing the unknowns in our paths.

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.

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.

Tonight – FRIDAY
7:00 PM:

  • Story time link catch up on stories you’ve missed in the month of August.  Great delivered to you from Erin, Ebee and Maria. 


  • 9:45-10:15 AM 
    • Seeds, Sprouts and Saplings (elementary ages): zoom time with Ebee and Erin. RE Hangout time – we’ll check in and then learn a song to sing with Ms LEA!  Contact Sunday Assistant, Erin, epcjjc@gmail.com if you need the log-in info resent

10:30 AM

  • For All: This week we come together to explore with Lauren Fritz
  • Coloring Sheet: Coloring Sheet: Labyrinth”  by DRE Jen Blosser
  • 11:45 AM

Monday – Thursday 
Daily posts on our new covenanted RE Facebook page
check out our Remind classroom. 
If you need to signup link here: remind.com/join/refuucbc

If you are in need of a church directory, would like to update your pledge, sign up for Egiving or just have general questions? Please contact our office administrator at office@uuberks.org

A Collective Pause

The Ministry & Operations Team has come to the decision that the church will collectively take a week off from Monday, August 31 through Monday, September 7 (Labor Day). This will include a break from service on Sept 6th. The hope is that this will provide additional time for the staff to refresh before the Fall season without any Sunday responsibilities or planning for Sunday.

This time is also intended to give all of our dedicated church volunteers a collective break as well. We will be providing alternatives to service for September 6th in the upcoming weeks. The last few months have been a time of stress for all of us and our hope is that this week may allow for some much-needed rest and rejuvenation.

Pledge Campaign Driving Toward Conclusion

We are looking to conclude our restarted Pledge Campaign in the next few weeks. Those who have not yet pledged should have received a mailing last week, with a couple of contacts after that if necessary. We realize that these are fraught times for many and our check-ins will not be aggressive … only trying to finalize the deferred church budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

A big thank you for the continued contributions from everyone. We have already achieved a $10,000 “matching grant” from a generous member based on those who’ve increased their pledges for the new fiscal year, and since that match has been met, our priority is for those who are still to pledge to maintain your level in the new fiscal year that began in July. Of course, there are those among us who have been deeply affected financially by the pandemic. Your “job one” may be survival and we respect that.

Recording your pledge is as simple as sending an e-mail to g.pledge-drive@uuberks.org. Thanks again for all those who have given and are contemplating it!

Contemplative Companions-August 2020

Join us on Monday August 3rd, @ 7:00pm when Jane Rohrbach will lead us in an exploration and reflection upon music as spiritual practice. Contact Jane Rohrbach (windowsjmr@comcast.net) or Nadine Smet-Weiss (njw1258@hotmail.com ;or 484-333-4015) for further information; contact Nadine to receive the zoom link for this gathering.

Soul Matters Conversations: a small group facilitated by Rev. Sandra Fees

Monthly on 4th Tuesdays, 7-8:30 pm Begins in August Sign ups required Limit: 15 Meetings by Zoom Beginning the fourth Tuesday in August, Rev. Sandra will once again be facilitating a monthly small group. The focus will be deep listening and sharing experiences related to the monthly Soul Matters themes. Participants are encouraged to attend regularly to enable the the group to cultivate trust and vulnerability. Sign ups are required for this program due to zoom logistics and pass codes. To sign up and be added to the monthly email invitations, contact Rev. Sandra Fees at minister@uuberks.org. The deadline to sign up is August 20. Limit: 15.

Soul Matter Conversations Fall Schedule:

  • August 25 – Gathering, 7-8:30 pm
  • September 22 – Renewal, 7-8:30 pm
  • October 27 – Deep Listening, 7-8:30 pm
  • November 24 – Healing, 7-8:30 pm
  • December 22 – Stillness, 7-8:30 pm

Seeking Special Plate Suggestions

The Special Plate collection is a ministry of our church that connects us tangibly to our neighboring agencies and social justice partners.  Once a month, First UU Berks designates a Sunday offering collection to benefit a Reading-Berks non-profit organization working on issues that reflect our spiritual values and principles. Beneficiaries of these offerings are recommended and voted on by the congregation.

At this time, we are seeking your nominations for organizations to support during our next 5-month cycle which begins in September. While there are many, many deserving agencies, we ask that you suggest programs that are most in line with our UU values and also in the most need. Please check that it has 501(3)c status and has not received a plate collection in the last 12 months. For your reference, you will find a list of previous Special Plate recipients and the amounts that we donated to them on the nomination form.
As a reminder, our primary social justice concerns, as determined by the survey conducted in Summer 2018, are:
1. Anti-Racism2. Immigration Justice3. Economic Justice4. Environmental Justice
It was agreed that we would not put ongoing programs within our church on the ballot because they are supported through the church budget.  We know that this can be a difficult decision as we know that all of the programs we support are worthy causes.

Please send your suggestions on this form by midnight Sunday, August 16, 2020 ( https://uuberks.org/special-plate-suggestions) or email the name of the agency/program, its website link and a brief description to g.social.justice@uuberks.org.

Recommended Reading from Donald Davis Jr.

Kareem Abdul Jabber is not just my favorite athlete. He grew up as I did, in New York City during the Civil Rights Era. The linked article, “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Where Is the Outrage Over Anti-Semitism in Sports and Hollywood?,” calls for a unique perspective about how we as human beings should interact with people of other cultures  if we want to reach and live in that world we dream of.
https://apple.news/AY6ySQiwDTuiMop4j0sZhMw (from the Hollywood Reporter)

Summer Opportunities for Youth

UU Faith Lab This hybrid online, personalized and small group experience for high school aged Unitarian Universalist youth who’ve completed grades 9th-12th or the homeschooled equivalent will teach you how to discern your own gifts and how to build community with those gift through practicing and co-creating Unitarian Universalism in real time. UU Faith Lab Begins July 10th with an with an online community gathering around covenant. The program runs through July 31st.

for more info visit https://www.uua.org/youth/events/uu-faith-lab

CER Treehouse Program

Join the CER Youth Ministry Treehouse!

Your Central East staff, youth leaders and volunteer adults are working on a private social media space where CER youth can connect with each other this summer. There will be break out spaces like spaces for BIPOC and LGBTQ youth, chances to plan drop in programs like worship, game nights, social events, writing, art, and music sharing and more—whatever the community needs and can create together!  For more information visit


Know a young person of color (who’s completed 9th-12th grade) who needs community and space to deepen their faith?There’s still time to sign up for Thrive!Direct them here (https://bit.ly/31BSXF8) to sign the participant form! From there, they’ll get access to the zoom links and our Mighty Network. (don’t forget Thrive is free this year)Want to know the schedule for Thrive this year? Email elizabeth.bromley@uuberks.org

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

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.

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

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

Striking a Chord

From Your Director of Music- 

We were perfectly happy with the chord on the left.  It’s easy to play on the piano at least.  That chord is probably one of the first things piano folx learn how to play.

The middle one makes the same chord, same notes but it’s harder.  The middle chord we have to stretch our eyes.  We have to look at the whole page, and for many it’s not as easy, there’s more time involved in reading that larger space of paper.

Ok. Ok… this is a pretty niche joke right here.  I think though that even the non music readers in the room can get a taste of this joke.  For the music readers it can really strike the right chord with how we’ve been experiencing music making and life in general through this lock-down.

And the last chord on the righthand side are the same letter notes but now in a different order.  It’s an inversion – like I took myself and stood upside down – it’s a completely changed chord with the same parts it started with.

What chord do you most identify with right now?

Last month our nursery coordinator, Ms Barb Kolar, shared her home altar on our RE facebook group. On her altar sits a jar of bubbles. Would you join me this month in a bubble meditation?

This one is adapted from Mellisa Dormoy of ShambalaKids.

Lower your gaze or close your eyes and take a very deep breath. Pretend your tummy is a balloon and as you inhale, make that balloon as big as you can.

Now, exhale and release it all. Let’s do that again now…inhale fully and make the balloon any color you want. As you do this, allow your arms and legs to get as floppy as a rag doll. Just let them get heavy and loose…all limp and relaxed. They feel so heavy it’s as if you don’t even want to move them because they are just so very relaxed! Just allow your body to continue relaxing while we use our imaginations to picture something wonderful!

In your mind, pretend you are pulling, a big magical bubble blower out of your pocket. It looks like any bubble blower but this one is special. It has been small in your pocket, but as you pull it out, you realize it becomes enormous!

It’s a lot bigger than any bubble blower you’ve ever seen. In your other hand, imagine you have a big bottle of magic bubble soap. Put the blower into the thick magic bubble liquid…and get it nice and wet.

Now you can start to blow through the bubble blower to make your gigantic bubble. As you do this, I want you to put ANY WORRY or fear you have about anything …into that bubble.

Just blow it in there! Then continue blowing the bubble until you think it’s big enough. Nod your head when you’ve done that.

As you finish, watch how a very strong friendly wind comes along and carries your worry bubble far, far away…it carries it so far away that you will never have to worry about that again.

It’s leaving now. Watch as it goes.

You can blow up as many bubbles as you need to with your special bubble blower. Put anything in there that is bothering you and watch as the wind carries the bubbles far, far away.

You can use this magic bubble blower whenever you need to…just by imagining it in your mind.

inhabit this moment fully

From Your Spiritual Director –nadine j. smet-weiss


this moment




of being




at one


this moment



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