Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
November 29, 2020

This Sunday:

Softening Our Armor

November 29, 2020 at 10:30 am

It’s been an extraordinary year of needing to keep a strong emotional shell for survival like none we’ve ever experienced, with more yet to come. Today we will explore how we can find ways to soften and replenish while still remaining safe.

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: uuberks.org/zoom-worship   (If it’s the first time you’re using zoom you may be prompted to download a launcher app).

To connect by phone (audio only):
1) Dial the phone number: 1-646-558-8656
2) When prompted for the “Meeting ID”, enter: 999-805-145-23#
3) When prompted for the “Participant ID”, enter: #

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 as we explore what it means to be a people of healing – read together Christopher Buice’s  “The Cure


  • 9:45 AM
    • Seeds, Sprouts and Saplings (elementary ages): zoom time with Ms Corinne and Ms Erin. 
    • “Don’t Run Away From the Hard Work of Healing” Our faith reminds us that healing takes work. After a fight with someone, it’s easy to never want to see that person again. We’d rather ignore or run away from the mess. This is true whether we are the ones who did the harm or got harmed. It takes courage, commitment and skill to successfully travel the path of healing. So what’s one of the ways our faith guides us into becoming a people of healing? It tells us, “Don’t run away from the hard work of healing!”
    • back to our old link sent via Remind 1 hour before class.  If you need access please email Erin (epcjjc@gmail.com) or Ebee (director.religious.education@uuberks.org)

10:30 AM 

  • For All: This week we explore what it means to live, celebrating and sharing what we have even when it feels precious and scarce.  
  • Coloring Sheet:  “Spiral Stones” by Jenn Blosser – color as we explore what it means to soften our armour during this time of pandemic.
  • Activity: Sand Zen Garden. In our month focused on healing we’ll explore another practice. Zen Gardens. You’ll need a container, salt or sand and a rake or fork along with some rocks or shells. more instructions found here

10:45 – 11:30

  • Youth Group (7th grade & up): Join us for worship at 10:30 for this week.  Next Youth Group scheduled for 12/6/20

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

On Sunday, November 22nd, we heard the an adaptation of Aesop’s tale of The Ant and the Grasshopper. By the end of the story Grasshopper shared his music. Hard working ant shared her labor. Welcoming Ant offered hospitality. We asked those in the worship service to share “what gifts do you have to share in community?” Thank you to Dan Hauk and Nick Stoltzfus for capturing our answers:


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One of our beloved UU Berks traditions is passing the light from one person to another while we join in singing Silent Night. To enable us to share joyfully in that tradition while worshiping virtually, each family is invited to pick up a Christmas Eve Candle Bag. Each bag includes a card, two candles, the music for Silent Night, and some chalice words too. We have a few bags with battery-operated candles available for our members living in facilities with no candle flame rules.

You may pick up at two times and locations – but we do ask that you indicate your intention to do so here https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F0F45A5A92DA5FA7-christmas
or by sending an email to office@uuberks.org in order for us to be well-prepared.

  • Sat., Dec. 3, 2-3 pm at Oheb Sholom, 555 Warwick Dr, Wyomissing

Packets will be available on a table under the carport. You can drive through, hop out and get one. Rev. Sandra will be in the parking lot so feel free to say hello – socially distanced and masked, of course.

  • Thurs., Dec. 10, 11:30 am-12:30 pm at UU Berks, 416 Franklin St, Reading

Packets will be available in the Chalice House foyer. Ebee Bromley will be there to greet you and let you in. Please be sure to wear a mask and socially distance.
If you are unable to pick up a Christmas Eve Candle Bag, we will mail you the card and song/chalice sheet, but we do ask that you provide your own candles to light. Questions? Please send an email to office@uuberks.org.

Contemplative Companions – December 2020

Join us on Monday December 7th, @ 7:00pm when gather around the theme of Love as the way forward, and ask the question of what that might look like in our lives. 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.

Closed Captioning Now Available 

Closed captioning is now available for Sunday service. Please note that not all Zoom virtual meeting rooms/meeting IDs have closed captioning. You will need to be using a current version of the Zoom Client App (the latest version is 5.4.1).

Each participant will be able to toggle closed captioning on/off if the Zoom meeting room has it enabled.

To turn on closed captions, click on the “Closed Caption” button in the Zoom menu bar and then select “Show Subtitles.”  Once it is turned on, you can adjust the font size by clicking on the “Closed Caption” button again and selecting “subtitle settings”.  Note: if the button doesn’t show up on your Zoom menu bar, most likely closed captioning is not available in your current Zoom virtual meeting room.

We have created a short YouTube video to demonstrate how to use Zoom closed captioning. Here is the link to the video:    https://uuberks.org/zoom-cc

Contact g.it.services@uuberks.org if you have any questions.

“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):  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:





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

UU Faith-At-Home Recipe Book

Each month your RE team likes to offer you resources and gifts that help you practice Unitarian Universalism at home. In this month focused on healing and Thanksgiving we are excited to share with you the UU Faith At Home Recipe Book. Each week on the RE facebook page we’ll explore a different aspect including our chalice, covenant, altar space, worship time and family meetings.

If you would like the recipe book printed and delivered to you please contact director.religious.education@uuberks.org

If you can download and print the book yourself click here for the link.

Thanks to co-author, York, Pa Director of Lifespan Faith Development, Matthew Shineman for sharing his creation with us.

Also from the NAACP…The Reading Branch NAACP Religious Affairs Committee has developed the HopeLine. A dedicated FREE conference line offering a time together for encouragement, education, prayer and important calls to action where each one can reach one to make a positive difference. The goal of the NAACP HopeLine is to help heal trauma and division in our Community during these very difficult times. Please consider taking the time to join the call every Sunday 6:00-7:00pm and invite someone that you think may need their spirits lifted! PHONE #: (425) 436-6322 ACCESS CODE: 830684

This fall choir is meeting over zoom every other week.  Each meeting we get to stretch our voices from the comfort of our own homes.  The commute time to choir has decreased to the click of a zoom link and the fun has increased to the speed of a laugh

We have fun at choir!  Singing different songs from our hymnals and from our choir library.

So come join us on: Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 18, Dec 2nd, and Dec 16th

This fall we get to collaborate with Immanuel UCC, and the Unitarian Church of Lancaster to record stirring and beautiful music together. Contact music.director@uuberks.org  with any questions.

Zoom link to join: https://zoom.us/j/877449892
Meeting ID: 877 449 892
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,877449892# US (New York)

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.

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.

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

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

From Rev. Sandra’s Study: Healing

November 2020

Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion.

bell hooks

The month of November is marked by the confluence of holy times devoted to death: All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Samhain, Halloween, and Dia de Los Muertos. These holidays honor death and those who have died, and make space for us to heal our losses. What’s particularly healing about these times is that they are occasions that bring families and communities together. Healing indeed becomes an act of communion, as bells hooks calls it.

This month we will have other opportunities to gather to heal. A post-election vespers service as well as a post-election Sunday morning service are opportunities for us to come together after a contentious election. The divisions in our nation, our communities, and for many of us, in our circles of family and friendship have left us angry, bewildered, frustrated, exhausted, hurt, and/or wounded. We need places where we can gather to begin to do the work of healing and to imagine what healing might even look like.

This month I encourage you to consider how you will lean into healing. How might you embrace the pain of loss and the pain of our national divisions in a way that can create more space, more connection, more communion? I look forward to exploring these questions together.

Yours in courage and hope,

Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

healing breakthrough
by nadine j. smet-weiss


for a


i fought

to hold

all the pieces


until the struggle

became far more

than I could bear

so at long last

i surrendered

to falling apart

simply because

i could not not

it was only then

that i began

to discover

how life is born

of brokenness

Think about a recipe card or a recipe you were taught. Maybe one that you were gifted. A recipe you love from someone who loves you.

A recipe has ingredients. It tells you where you need to put those parts and how you need to introduce each one. A great recipe will not just tell you how much time each step takes but will get you to use your senses to know a step is done. Cook until you can smell the garlic. Wait to flip the pancake until you see lots of bubbles form throughout. Taste the soup for doneness. Listen to when the popcorn slows down and you can hear a pop every five seconds before pulling the popcorn off the heat.

In this month of healing what would your recipe to seek healing or to give healing look like?

What ingredients would it have in it? How much?

In what order would you add each part? Would you fold them in gently? Or combine in a blender?

What temperature does it need to be at? Is this a stove top, oven, grill, microwave, freezer or fridge recipe?

What senses will tell you when the dish is ready to serve or ready to eat?

Share your recipes with me at director.religious.education@uuberks.org




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