Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
October 18, 2020

This Sunday:

Listening to Self

Oct. 18, 2020

The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says that Deep Listening is Compassionate Listening. This morning we’ll reflect on the practice of compassionate listening that honors our own voice and power. Next week we’ll explore what it means to listen deeply to ancestors.

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.

Tonight – FRIDAY
7:00 PM:

  • For this week’s story check out this one:  Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth.  As we’re remembering the wisdom of our ancestors – have you sent in your pictures of loved ones who have died to Melissa for our collective Offrenda happening on Nov 1?  We need them soon!


  • 9:45 – 10:15
    • Seeds, Sprouts and Saplings (elementary ages): zoom time with Ms Erin and Ms Ebee where we get to explore some ways of how we can remember those we’ve loved who have died.  Contact DRE, Ebee, elizabeth.bromley@uuberks.org if you need the log-in info re-sent.

10:30 AM -Worship

  • For All: This week we get to hear reflections and sing about listening. 
  • Coloring Sheet:  Universalism Coloring Pages” color as we explore who Rev John Murray and Rev Olympia Brown were.
  • Activity: Use a printed or hand labyrinth to find renewal as you attend worship this morning. Here’s a labyrinth you can print out and trace.  Labyrinth Printable

10:45 – 11:30

  • Youth Group (7th grade & up): meets this week to explore how the history of racism impacts how we think. We will get a quick lesson on implicit bias, and then we’ll reflect on our own personal biases… and discover if we have any we hadn’t realized were there.  Kai and Joanna lead.  For zoom link contact Kai Miller. kai@kaifawn.com if you need the log-in info re-sent.

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

Halloween Costume Contest

We are doing a costume contest!! Please share pictures all month. You can send them to to our group fb page or Ebee (director.religious.education@uuberks.org) or Erin(epcjjc@gmail.com) ! Not only are we showing our most awesome costumes – but there is a category for best Jack o Lantern

On 10/30 we will hold an online RE Monster Mash hangout and announce the prize winners! There will spooky music and costumes galore – come and dance with your ghoulish RE friends

Our categories are…

1) Best Adults Costume
2) Best Kids Costume
3) Best Family or Group costume
4) Most Costumes posted
5) Spookiest Costume
6) Cutest Costume
7) Best Jack o lantern

Winners will all receive special Halloween Treats….

Rules –
All costumes must be PG – no super sexy UU nurses
You can post as many costumes or evolutions of costumes as you want
You can only win once
You can make submissions until 10/25

We can’t wait to see you all show your Halloween Splendor.

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.

Re families please take a moment to fill out your child’s RE registration

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

Shut Down Berks Vigil

The next Shut Down Berks Vigil at the the Berks County Family Detention Center will be on Saturday afternoon on Oct 17at 2pm and the Berks Family Immigration Center. The center is located at 1040 Berks Rd in Leesport.  Please contact the FUUBC Immigration team at g.immigration@uuberks.org for the latest information on this event, or follow @shutdownberkscoalition on Facebook or @ShutDownBerks on Twitter or Instagram for the latest updates on these and and other Shut Down Berks activities.

Submit Your Photos for our Virtual Dia De Los Muertos Ofrenda
Deadline: Fri. Oct. 23

For our Dia de Los Muertos service on Sunday, November 1, we will be creating a virtual ofrenda. You are invited to submit photos of loved ones who have died and a few lines about each person/creature. The deadline is Friday, October 23 (no late submissions!). You may submit your photos and information to: office@uuberks.org.Please write “virtual ofrenda” in your subject line.

“Caste” Book Discussion Invitation

Join us for a deep-dive book discussion into Caste by Isabel Wilkerson starting October 11th! Come join Lauren Fritz, Joanna Groebel and Rachel Gutzler as we facilitate a six week discussion Sunday evenings, 7- 9 pm on this important book, by this gifted Pulitzer Prize-winning author.  We will be meeting the following evenings from 7-9 PM over  Google Meet (you will need a gmail address to participate): 10/25, 11/8, 11/22, 12/6 and 12/20.

“This is a brilliant book, well timed in the face of a pandemic and police brutality that cleave along the lines of a caste system.” – Booklist (starred review)

“Magnificent…a trailblazing work on the birth of inequality…Caste offers a forward-facing vision.  Bursting with insight and love, this book may well help save us.” – O: The Oprah Magazine

“Wilkerson’s book is a powerful, illuminating and heartfelt account of how hierarchy reproduces itself, as well as a call to action for the difficult work of undoing it.” – The Washington Post

Reserve your place by emailing: office@uuberks.org

Looking forward to a meaningful discussion!

Options for downloading the book:





Enjoy a free issue of the Universalist Herald here

Meet Your UU Berks Caring Circle

Upcoming Sabbatical for Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

This Fall, Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees begins her 17th year as our minister. Part of our commitment to her is to provide one month of sabbatical time for every five years of service. The time has come again to afford Rev. Sandra a sabbatical to renew and expand her spiritual, emotional, and intellectual gifts.

The Board has approved a sabbatical for January 1-May 31, 2021. We are pleased to provide this support to sustain and grow Rev. Sandra’s ministry with us and our broader UU movement, and we are confident that her sabbatical will be a time of renewal and growth for us all. We also know that this is a challenging and uncertain time in our world with so many disruptions.

In consultation with Rev. Sandra and the finance team, the Board has approved Rev. Sage Olnick, our Affiliated Community Minister, to serve as Part-time Sabbatical Minister during this time. We believe that this will provide the confidence and support our congregation needs to continue our important ministries.

Rev. Sage will provide a trusted ministerial presence during this time. Her time will be devoted to governance, social justice, and pastoral care. She is not meant to be a replacement for our settled minister, Rev. Sandra, but to provide ministerial support during this time. Rev. Sage’s contract with the congregation includes:

  • providing three worship services each month
  • attending monthly Board meetings
  • facilitating monthly pastoral care team meetings
  • providing pastoral care for crisis situations
  • attending a limited number of committee meetings (to be agreed upon in advance of sabbatical)
  • monthly check ins with the staff (the Board will have supervisory responsibility during the sabbatical)

During the sabbatical, Rev. Sandra will be free of all ministerial responsibilities. However, in the event of a member death, a member testing positive for Covid-19, or a church crisis, Rev. Sage Olnick and/or our Board President, Lynn O’Brien will be in contact with Rev. Sandra.

While this may seem a difficult time for a sabbatical due to Covid-19 and the many disruptions in our world, we anticipate that this timing will ultimately serve us all best. In particular, we hope that sometimes around Rev. Sandra’s return from sabbatical we might be able to once again worship, gather, learn, and be together in person in our beautiful building.

If you have any questions or concerns about the sabbatical, please contact Lynn O’Brien, Board President, or Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees.

Covenant Relations Team

At the September Board Meeting, we the Board of Directors of FUUBC, appointed three team members to the new Covenant Relations Team .  We are pleased to announce the CRT will be Erin Kraal, Ginny Chudgar, and Randy Newnham.   If you recall, at the July Board Meeting we adopted a new Policy Regarding the Covenant Relations Team [CRT].  This new policy establishes a team that will serve to address the challenges of living within a diverse, democratic community.  The CRT will serve to provide an objective, empathetic forum to hear from those who have been harmed and to address situations when covenant has been broken within the congregation.  The scope of the CRT includes interactions of congregants with other congregants or church groups.  The scope also covers group-to-group conflicts.

We encourage everyone in our congregation to review the Policy Regarding the Covenant Relations Team.  Now that the new CRT is establish please note that members of the team can be reached by emailing g.covenant.relations@uuberks.org or by contacting a member of the CRT directly.  Please reach out to CRT when you have concerns or feel you have been harmed in some manner.

The Board is very pleased to establish this new team whose purpose is to serve our congregation to resolve hurts and bring our community into Covenant with one another.  As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to discuss them with a member of the Board or the Minister.

Yours in the Spirit of Love,

The FUUBC Board of Directors

Lynn O’Brien, President

Ramona McCormick, Vice President

Gregory Dimovitz, Secretary

Cesar Martínez-Garza

Bill Oberti

Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

Back to Church Checklist
Click on the link for you Fall Back to Church Checklist complete with upcoming important dates, committee members and more!Back to church checklist

The Membership Committee with Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees will host a membership class, directly following online service on Sunday, November 15th.  We will meet in a Zoom session for 60-90 minutes.  If you are interested in exploring membership with a church, please consider joining us.  If you decide membership is right for you, you can be part of the next group of new members we will celebrate before the end of the year.  Please respond to Membership chairperson Mike Mannix at membership.chair@uuberks.org to reserve your spot in the class.

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

Deep Listening
From the Study of 

One of my patients told me that when she tried to tell her story people often interrupted her to tell her that they once had something just like that happen to them. Subtly her pain became a story about themselves.  Eventually she stopped talking to most people. It was just too lonely.

Rachel Naomi Remen

What a difference it makes when someone truly listens to us, deeply, compassionately! When that happens, we come to life. The same happens when we listen deeply to another. They come to life.

In those times of deep sharing and deep listening, we discover the stories of our lives, our own inner wisdom, and the stories and wisdom of others. This kind of attentiveness is such an incredible gift of love when it is offered and received.

Deep listening might seem like something that we are doing all the time and therefore are quite adept at. The reality, I’ve learned, is that deep listening is a skill that requires that I set aside assumptions and judgments – and also my need to interrupt or talk. When I’m able to do that, able to be present, an enormous shift takes place. A holy connection takes shape.

This month as we reflect on and practice deep listening, I hope that we will experience deeper connection with ourselves and each other.

For this month of Deep Listening I can’t help but think about suspensions.  In a lot of ways I feel like we are in a time of suspension.  In music a note that’s holding over from a time before and not quite arrived at someplace else.  I’m choosing to name it ‘someplace else’ instead of ‘someplace new’ because for musical suspensions the melody often leads western ears to a place they expect.  Nine times out of ten if we’re holding out the note ‘ti’ the next note will be ‘do’.   (Cue the Sound of Music ‘Do a Deer’ song)

The beauty of a suspension is the notes moving against it.  We can hear those moving notes so much more clearly because of the note that’s holding on.

In what places are you holding on in your life?  What are you sensing more clearly through this time of suspension(s)?

beyond beneath within

From Your Spiritual Director: nadine j. smet-weiss

step beyond

all the external noise

of the world

slip beneath

the thousands of thoughts

in your head

venture through the rhythm

of your breath

and your heartbeat

to the barely perceptible pulsing

source of life within

sacred space

that deep listening place

i’ll meet you there



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