Univoice Weekly









Weekly News for the week of:
December 5, 2021



Opening to Joy

From Sandra’s Study by Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Joy exists even in a hurting world. This month we are exploring how we open to joy. Joy isn’t a static state that we arrive at. Instead it’s an experience we encounter when we stop and notice wonder, when we notice the gifts that the earth offers us on a regular basis. How can we do better at being captivated by joy every single day in some small way?

Designer and author, Ingrid Fetell Lee, encourages the simple practice of “Joyspotting.” Joyspotting is paying attention and savoring images and experiences of joy. Keeping a joy notebook is a great way to engage this practice.

Take a moment right now as you read this to bring to mind one joy from today. My list (because why stop at just one joyful moment?!) includes:

  • Playing laser lights with my cat Belle.
  • Lunch with a friend.
  • Leaves of many colors.
  • Sun streaming through clouds.
  • Receiving a note of appreciation.
  • Snuggling in front of the fire.
  • Laughter.
  • Twinkle lights.

I hope this month you’ll take a little time to identify at least one joy every day. What an incredible gift that would be to yourself. What a meaningful way to honor the gifts of this earth.

I wish you many moments of joy in this holiday season.

With love,

Rev. Sandra

Do You Hear What I Hear?

A note from your Director of Music, 

This month our collective focus at UUBerks is exploring ways in which our times call us to “Open to Joy.”  

Certainly the music of this month often resounds with Joy.  A lot of songs tell us to be joyful “Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice Greatly!” Handel wrote.  He also has that lasting ditty “Hallelujah.” There’s more recent additions to the Christmas season cannon wishing everyone “Happy Holidays,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” and have us scurrying all about in Jingle Bells’s scene of “dashing through the snow!” 

Sometimes though, all of this expected merry making is just a bit overwhelming.  Sometimes my heart grows three times smaller and more closed off as we are told to be joyful when … insert awful personal, local or global tragedy here … and the Christmas machine keeps humming. 

But there are quieter songs, sadder songs, wishful and wistful songs too.  Songs like “River” by Joni Mitchell, hymns like Still, Still, Still, or sneakier songs with joy and sorrow like Judy Garland’s classic recording of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” 

It’s songs like these that help me reopen to joy after the sonic joyful onslaught of tinsel and jubilation.  What do you hear in the songs of the season? Do you hear the reindeer approaching?  Do you hear the joy?  Does what you hear help you reopen to joy? I hope so. 

joy is . . .

nadine j. smet-weiss

spiritual director

a hidden jewel 

buried deep 

in our 

human hearts

ever ready

to refract

the delight

of our being

joy surprises



This Sunday:




This morning we reflect on the seeds of peace growing in us and which we are fostering in the world. Our service will include Maya Angelou’s “AMAZING PEACE: A Christmas Poem,” and we will light the second Advent candle, UU style. You may view or download the complete UU Berks Advent Candle Wreath lighting here.

Tonight – FRIDAY

7:00 PM:

  • For this week’s story we get to explore Joy.  A great way to explore finding joy through playfulness and silliness is by sharing this book Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow. In this story, a girl is upset because no one at school could say her name correctly. In response, her mother doesn’t get mad but instead playfully uses singing to brighten her daughter’s spirit and help her find a great way to handle the situation. It’s a great reminder about honoring the beauty and opening to the joy of everyone’s names.


9:45 AM RE Hangout 

  • Seeds, Sprouts and Saplings (elementary ages): in RE Hangout Zoom Room with Ms Corinne & Ms Cyndi
  • RE Hangout – Creating Joy On the Work of Whimsy -Our theme this month is Opening to Joy. One of the ways we UUs open to joy is to find our funny bones. We create joy by celebrating the power of silly and the work of whimsy. So let’s create some joy by letting whimsy guide our way! 
  • link sent via Remind 1 hour before class.  If you need access please email Ebee (director.religious.education@uuberks.org)


  • For All: Join us in exploring our first Sunday of Advent.
  • Coloring Sheet: “Peace Advent Page found by UU at large Lizzie Vena. 
  • 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 12/19

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

Save the Date

Mark your calendars for our winter congregational meeting to be held on December 12th following service. This meeting will be multi platform for members in person and via zoom. The Board of Directors encourages your participation. These semi-annual meetings strengthens our covenant together Zoom participation will continue through the Sunday Service link uuberks.org/zoom-worship.

A Message From The Church Office:

Changes to Special Plate

In communication with the Social Justice Coordinating Committee, we would like to change the Special Plate Collection process. Rather than selecting new organizations every six months, we propose selecting 8 organizations that we support consistently for the next 3 years. This allows our congregation to develop and deepen more supportive relationships with these organizations.

 It also helps the organizations know they will be receiving donations from us for a certain time period. We will leave 1 month open every year in case a cause comes up that the congregation would like to contribute to that year, such as local relief, emergency, special needs, etc.

Under each category, we have listed several organizations that have been nominated repeatedly over the past 10 years. We will ask you to vote for your TOP 2 organizations within each category. We will make sure every category is represented in the final eight choices.

If you have questions, contact Cyndi Dimovitz at cdimovitz@gmail.com or 610-334-8309.


Contemplative Companions – December 6, 2021

Join us on Monday December 6th, @ 7:00pm. Contact Nadine Smet-Weiss (njw1258@hotmail.com or 484-333-4015) for further information or to receive the zoom link for these gatherings.

ADORE Listening Cafe 
December 12th at 7pm

December’s ADORE Listening Cafe will focus on the problem of homelessness and housing insecurity in communities of color.  This is a chronic problem in several communities of color and must be addressed.  Join us for a thoughtful discussion on how these problems began, how they are manifesting themselves now and more importantly, how we can help our friends in these communities.  It is important to remember those who are struggling during this holiday season, and for those who lack the basic need of housing, this can be a challenging time. 

We invite all in our community to listen with an open heart, to ask questions and to share your stories at the Adore Listening Café, and, please, encourage friends and family to join in the dialog.


Anti-Racism Activity of the Week

You may enjoy the compelling video, Segregated by Design, if you didn’t read The Color of Law by Richard Rotherstein. In this video you will learn how poverty and the intentional division of so many Black neighborhoods were not accidental phenomena. It will help you to gain a greater understanding of the term institutional racism.

Please view our updated gathering policy below


Effective November 21, 2021 until further notice

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.



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