Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
September 12, 2021

This Sunday:

We all make mistakes, and when we do, it can seem like things will never be repaired. We might imagine we’ll always feel bad and people won’t trust us again. Join us this morning as we explore the complexities of saying “I’m sorry” and how apologies can offer us the possibility of beginning again. Our worship service will be held virtually by zoom.

For Sunday worship, we are continuing to meet via 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).

Tonight – FRIDAY

7:00 PM:

  • For this week’s story, find someone special to share Answer Mountain with.  What would it be like if nothing changed? The story, “Answer Mountain,” helps storytellers and story listeners imagine life without choices and flexibility.


** different time – Sunday Afternoon

  • Seeds, Sprouts and Saplings (elementary ages): *** outside.  Details to be sent to families via Remind messages. 
  • Outside Hangout.
  • link sent via Remind 1 hour before class.  If you need access please email Erin (epcjjc@gmail.com

10:30 am 

  • For All: What’s the hardest word?  This Sunday we get to have a fun service exploring a story perfect for Yom Kippur! 
  • Coloring Sheet: dot-to-dot chalice page by David Snedden
  • 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): Is working on a once a month workshop plan.  Check back next week for schedule.  If you are a visitor –  email director.religious.education@uuberks.org for more information. 

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

Splinters from the last Board of Directors Meeting

  • Welcomed and appointed Susan Pena to the Board
  •  Introduced and voted on Nominating committee members Amber Brown (liaison) Art Arleth and Shelley Kauffman
  • Reviewed TPUC appointed Mona as Trustee; Greg as Alternate Trustee
  • Planned Board retreat Nov 6,2021

New Policy Update on Gatherings as of September 9, 2021

Please review our updated policy at the link below
Updated Onsite and Offsite Church Gatherings Policy

Soulful Conversations Small Group

4th Tuesdays, 7-8:30 pm (see details below)
Sign ups: required
Deadline: Sept. 21
Limit: 15
Meetings: by Zoom

Beginning the fourth Tuesday in September, Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees will facilitate a monthly small group for deep sharing, listening, and spiritual reflection. Participants are encouraged to attend regularly to enable the group to cultivate trust and vulnerability 

Sign ups are required for this program due to zoom logistics and passcodes. To sign up and be added to the monthly email invitations, contact Rev. Sandra at minister@uuberks.org.

Soulful Conversations Schedule:

  • Sept. 28 – Embracing Possibility
  • Oct. 26 – Cultivating Relationship
  • Nov. 23 – Holding History
  • No December meeting
  • Jan. 25 – Living with Intention
  • Feb. 22 – Widening the Circle
  • Mar. 22 – Renewing Faith
  • Apr. 26 – Awakening
  • May 24 – Nurturing Beauty

Masked Music and Meditation

Please join us live for a peaceful time of contemplative reflection in the sanctuary, accompanied by the acoustic music of one of our talented musicians. We will keep safety in mind by limiting our capacity to 20 people. Vaccination is required to attend this offering. Please forward your proof of vaccination to Melissa at www.uuberks.org).

Please sign up here

ADORE A Dialogue On Race and Ethnicity and The Listening Cafe

We have changed our meeting time to 7 PM on Sundays to accommodate parents and others. We will continue in a virtual format for the foreseeable future. 

On October 17th, at 7 PM we will hear from the people involved with higher education about their experiences with systemic racism.

November 14th, again at 7 PM, we will be examining racism in the workplace.

And on December 12th, as the winter holy days approach we will look at the racial factors involved in creating the dilemma of the unhoused in our community.
Please plan to attend and bring your friends!  

Growing a crop of CROP Walkers!

First UU’s team for the Reading-Berks 40th annual CROP Walk on Sunday, Oct. 10, is off and, well, walking.   Money raised by the CROP Walk benefits worldwide projects of Church World Service and a quarter of the funds stay local with Helping Harvest, the Berks / Schuylkill Fresh Food Bank, that supplies low cost food  for First UU’s monthly food pantry.

You have the option of participating virtually or by starting at the Grings Mill Recreation Area, 2083 Tulpehocken Road, Wyomissing. To foster social distancing, registration for those walking in-person will be open 12:30 to 2 p.m. and teams are encouraged to begin their walks whenever they choose.

To sign up for the team, go to the Web URL, www.crophungerwalk.org/ReadingPA and click the blue REGISTER button at the top right of the page. Each walker on the First UU team will receive a reusable tote bag with the CROP Walk logo.

To donate to the First UU team, go to the Web URL https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2021/team/first-uu-berks-county and follow the prompts!

Thanks for all of your help … as of now, we’re the top-raising team for the Reading-Berks walk!

Questions? Call Jim at 717 507-7237 or e-mail to jamesmbeidler@gmail.com

UU  Berks Websites 
Our church has 2 websites: one is public and one is private. Anyone on the Internet can access our public website at uuberks.org, but you have to be a member of our congregation to access the private UUBerks Member Info site at member-info.uuberks.org. Access is restricted, so you need to login with your email address & password.

What can you find on the UUBerks Member Info site?

  • Email contact information for our staff and all of our committees
  • The current version of the Church Directory, the Member Photo Album, as well as our current budget and board meeting minutes
  • Links to all of our recurring Zoom meetings
  • Help documentation and FAQs

Use the link below to register for either a 1-on-1 help session and/or an introduction to the website via Zoom.  You can also use the form to just post a question about the private Member Info website and request access.


Here are a few common questions and answers:

1)Why do I have to login to access this site?  This site is private and the information on it is for members only. By having a login, we can restrict access to those individuals that are FUUBC members.

2)I attend services all the time but I am not a member. How do I become a member?  We have a page on our public website with all of the details.  See https://uuberks.org/connect/become-a-member/ 

3)I have a Google account, but I don’t remember my password.  (1) Go to the Google login page at accounts.google.com, (2) enter your email address, (3) click on the “next” button and (4) click on the “Forgot password” link.

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.

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

Embracing Possibilities – Together

There are lots of reasons I’m grateful to call Unitarian Universalism my spiritual home. One of them is that we have historically been people who looked around and saw potential. We saw the potential in each other, in community, in nature. We saw the potential for compassion, acceptance, religious diversity, equity, vulnerability, anti-racism, wonder, gratitude, beauty. And while many others were preaching about sin and a fallen world, we were noticing the spark of the divine wherever we could. I believe that remains a core part of who we UUs are.

It’s important to note that our attention to what’s possible doesn’t come at the expense of tackling problems and harsh realities. If anything, our focus has been a powerful call to engagement. Unitarian Universalists are called to act, to be part of creating the world we imagine, a world where love prevails.

As we begin this new church year, I am wondering what possibilities we will embrace as a community. What relationships and commitments will we renew and build? How will our learnings from these past few years so rooted in trauma inform what we do next and how we understand our role in the world? What do we need from one another?

As we embark on this new church year, I look forward to embracing the possibilities as we move into the future together.

“Gather the spirit of heart and mind.  Seeds for the sowing are laid in store.  Nurtured in love, and conscience refined, with body and spirit united once more.” 

These words by Jim Scott are some of the first words I remember learning by heart as a UU kid.  As a UU adult typing those words out I can’t help but hear Jim’s melody in my head.  As UU’s we are called to gather for we know that the spark within each one of us needs tending to.  It is easier to keep that spark lit when there are others around to re-light it, when there are others around to witnes our peace, our thanks, our sympathy, our hope, compassion and strength.   

“Gather the spirit, harvest the power.  Our sep’rate fires will kindle one flame.  Witness the mystery of this hour.  Our trials in this light appear all the same.”

So once more we gather with a whole bunch of mystery ahead.  This year we hope our monthly themes will fuel everyone in our congregation from cradle to sage with core actions that our faith calls us to and our times need from us.  

At the start of this new church year we explore the ways in which our faith and times call us to “Embrace Possibilities!”  What relationships will we strengthen this year?  What new friends will we meet?  Who will we say goodbye to?  What will we try anew?  What will we try again?  What will we never try again? 

We will get to embrace these possibilities of ours as we

“Gather in peace, gather in thanks.

Gather in sympathy now and then.

Gather in hope, compassion and strength.

Gather to celebrate once again.”


nadine j. smet-weiss

spiritual director


let us embrace



the anxiety

of arrival

the journey is


by step

in time

punctuated by














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