Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
November 14, 2021

This Sunday:

Join Rev Sage Olnick, UU Berk’s Affiliate Community Minister, to consider how telling the truth about the past can help us live into our future. When we look to the past with open minds and hearts in search of truth, we can find hope for the future.

Tonight – FRIDAY

7:00 PM:

  • For this week’s story we get to hear Stolen Words by Melanie Florence.   Tonight’s story is all about telling the truth about something that happened to Native peoples across North America. It’s about a grandfather who was sent to a residential school as a child and had his language, name and culture taken away. It’s a good reminder how history needs to include the truthful stories of what happened to Native Peoples. By knowing the true story, all peoples can start to heal. Let’s listen to the story together!”

9:45 AM RE Hangout 

  • Seeds, Sprouts and Saplings (elementary ages): in RE Hangout Zoom Room with Ms Jayné & Ms Erin.
  • STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF THOSE WHO COME BEFORE– An important part of holding history is the understanding that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. It’s a special phrase, made famous by Isaac Newton.
  • link sent via Remind 1 hour before class.  If you need access please email Ebee (director.religious.education@uuberks.org)

** next week RE is outside again – look for more info to be sent via Remind.


  • For All: Join us in exploring how knowing our past can help us make choices about our future. 
  • Coloring Sheet: “Love Is The Spirit Of This Church by DRE serving greater UU faith Jenn Blosser. 
  • 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 – 11:45

  • Youth Group (7th grade & up): first workshop of the year held in one weeks 11/21

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

A Message From The Church Office:

Church Open and Reopening

Beginning on Sunday, November 21, we are expanding our welcome to members and friends to in-person worship. There will no longer be limits on the number of people who can attend. However, everyone will still be required to register weekly by Friday noon as well as provide proof of vaccination and mask while in the while in the building. Your proof of vaccination needs to be submitted only once.

Meanwhile, until then, we continue to be open to limited attendance (a maximum of 20 people in the building) on Sundays. Priority is given to those who have not yet attended worship in person. Worship will also continue to be available virtually by Zoom.

We have been making significant technological upgrades to ensure that we are a multi-platform church that offers members and friends multiple ways to participate in worship and other activities, including ongoing virtual participation.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the church office.

Please view our updated gathering policy below


Effective November 21, 2021 until further notice

Nov. 14 ADORE Listening Café

On November 14 at 7:00pm, our ADORE team will welcome church members with business careers to share viewpoints, stories, and insights regarding systemic racism in the business/finance workplace via Zoom.    These members have graciously agreed to reflect on their experience:
Joe Plageman—Edward Jones
Wendy Wentzel—AreaType LLC
Dave Wentzel—Red Rock Arts LLC
Brad Richardson—Penske
We invite all in our community to listen with an open heart, to ask questions and to share your stories at the Second Sunday Listening Café, and, please, encourage friends and family to join in the dialog.


Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Our Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will be hosted in-person and virtually at the Church of the Brethren, 2200 State Hill Rd, Wyomissing, 19610 on Wednesday evening, November 24, at 7 pm.

Rev. Megan Huesgen, pastor, Immanuel United Church of Christ, will preach. Other participating congregations include the Islamic Center of Reading, PA, Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom,and UU Berks.

Universal masking is required of all attendees. More details, including virtual sign on information, will be provided when available.

It’s Our Turn for Family Promise – Nov. 8-17

Family Promise (FP) has a new ‘apartment shelter’ model for helping families who are experiencing homelessness. Instead of traveling from church to church, families now live temporarily in a house while participating in the program.


From Nov. 8-17, 2021 FUUBC has committed to provide meals and groceries to the three families staying at two sites:

Site 1: 2253 Raymond Avenue, Reading, PA 19605 

Morales Family and Williams Family (total: 3 adults, 4 children ages 1-5)

Site 2: 1209 Meade Street, Reading, PA 19611

Sanchez Family (2 adults, 2 teens ages 13 & 16)

Volunteers should drop off the meal or groceries on Mondays & Wednesdays directly at the site at 6:00pm. Volunteers are expected to hand sanitize, wear a mask and maintain 6 feet of distance as often as possible. Volunteers can also donate/mail gift cards for food and clothing and items for the shelter homes directly to the FP Office (325 N. Fifth Street, Mon-Thur before 4:30PM. Phone:(610) 373-3323). 

If you have any questions, please call Carla at 610-301-4522.  SIGN UP HERE TO VOLUNTEER

Annual Holiday Gift Tree Benefiting Berks Connections Pretrial Services

Our church community will again be participating in the Berks Connections Pretrial Services (BCPS) holiday gift tree. The gifts will go to families with a parent that is in the Berks County Prison. The gifts are given to the families at a holiday party. Kent and Rachel Gutzler will provide you with the child’s information upon your request via my email kgutzler@goberkscounty.com to request a name.

Wrapped Gifts to be dropped off at church or arranged with Kent or Rachel Gutzler for drop off or pick up prior to Nov. 29th.

If you do not want to shop, but want to buy a child a gift, We will shop for you. Donations can also be pooled if $25 is not in your budget, but $5 is in your budget.

Any questions, call Kent at 610-780-5162

Community Conversation

The M&O would like to invite congregation members to join them for a community conversation on November 21st at noon. The purpose of this conversation is to share our experiences (positive and negative) of life through pandemic and begin to name how this might form our future.

Those attending in person service and encourage to stay for the conversation.

Those attending virtually may remain on the worship service zoom link to join the conversation. uuberks.org/zoom-worship

Our Giving App has Changed

Vanco, the eGiving provider behind our church’s GivePlus Mobile app is now using a new online giving app, Vanco Mobile. This easy-to-use app replaces the GivePlus Mobile app you currently use to make your donations.   The switch is simple!  

  • Your log-in credentials are the same in Vanco Mobile as in GivePlus Mobile 
  • Recurring created through GivePlus mobile will continue as scheduled  
  • New gifts, or changes to previously scheduled recurring gifts, can now occur through Vanco Mobile 

Download the free Vanco Mobile app today in the Google Play store or the Apple App store. Find our organization by searching for First Unitarian Universalist Church or by its invite code, 2S4C9G.   

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.

Our public website has a lot of information that is also useful for members. Did you know that we record a video of every worship service and post them on our website? 

To find the recordings, navigate to uuberks.org. At the top of the page, there is a green box on the right side of the screen, with the title “Next Service”. (A) If you click on the next line of text (the title of the next service), you will be taken to a page with all the information about that service, like the Zoom meeting details. 

At the bottom of the green box, there is a “Service Archive” button. (B) Click on it to navigate to a page listing all of our previous services.  Click on a service title to see more details about the service and to view the video recording.

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.

To Hold and Make History Holy
from Rev. Sandra’s Study

The prophetic tasks of the church are to tell the truth in a society that lives in an illusion, grieve in a society that practices denial, and express hope in a society that lives in despair.

Walter Brueggemann

November marks a turning – a seasonal turning, a liturgical turning, and an emotional one. The days grow shorter, nights longer. We anticipate the family-oriented celebrations at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. How will we make the turn this year? How will we tell the truth? How will we begin the process of holding the history of our traditions with the many changes we are undergoing?

This month, several services and rituals vital to our church community will support us in navigating these questions. At the beginning of the month, Dia de Los Muertos offers us a time to, as Walter Brueggemann writes, “grieve in a society that practices denial.” Actually though, we do something even more countercultural. We learn from the Mexican tradition how we might approach death less grimly and with more of a spirit of joy.

Later in the month, we gather in our church community to express gratitude and to reflect on what it means to be thankful – even amid suffering. We also have the opportunity to come together on the eve of Thanksgiving with the interfaith community to worship, learn, and be in community.

And on the last Sunday in November, we, as Brueggemann writes, “express hope in a society that lives in despair” by lighting the first candle of Advent. I look forward to seeing you in person and virtually for these many opportunities for us to hold and make history holy.

Yours in love, Rev. Sandra

Chalice Lighting for November’s theme of Holding History

Who have you lit your home chalice with? Who will you light it with? Your cat? Your dog? Your loved ones around the table? Robin Slaw, masters level DRE at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, Maryland; a soul matters congregation, created this chalice lighting to share with us.

We hold history when we light our chalice.

We allow the memory of loved ones to guide us,

to comfort us in times of trouble,

to bring us joy in remembering. 

We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,

we square our shoulders for those who follow,

to stand on our shoulders and move the work forward. 

We hold up the painful parts of our past,

remembering the times people were marginalized,

promising to do better when we know better.

We recognize the impact we have on those who follow us,

just as we have been impacted by the actions of those who came before,

holding awareness of the earth and all her creatures.

We light our chalice to hold the history of what came before,

what will follow as history yet to be created,

and to shine our light brightly in our world.

we are becoming

by nadine j. smet-weiss

spiritual director 

we are 

living history

born of egg

pierced by sperm


the horrors

and the hopes

of our ancestors 


the ongoing story

of creation

sounding through us

may we 

consciously choose  

to honor their legacy 

being the change 

becoming the dream





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *