Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
January 30, 2022

This Sunday:

It takes persistence to fulfill our intentions in the world. We have to keep trying. The little engine that could offers us some timeless wisdom about how to keep on trying, even when something is hard.



Tonight – FRIDAY


7:00 PM:

  • This week’s story is an example of the way passion, or caring deeply, can drive our intention to do amazing things. By caring deeply about water, rivers, and pollution, the Ojibway people intend to fight the “black snake” of pollution. Let’s listen to the story together!  We are Water Protectors with words by Carole Lindstrom, and pictures by Michaela Goade. 


9:45 AM RE Hangout 

  • Seeds, Sprouts and Saplings (elementary ages): in RE Hangout Zoom Room with Ms Corinne & Ms Erin
  • RE Hangout – Extended Chalice Lighting and CheckIn  – participants share a chalice lighting and have a chance to share a longer glads and sads time. 
  • link sent via Remind 1 hour before class.  If you need access please email Erin (epcjjc@gmail.com)
  • *** our next outside session will be in one week – see remind for Signup Genius 


  • For All: Join us in exploring how we live our lives amongst the mess. 
  • Coloring Sheet: Chalice Doodling Page
  • 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

10:30 – 11:45

  • Youth Group (7th grade & up): third workshop 2/20. 

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



Dear Members and Friends,  By now, you have hopefully heard the news of our Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees’ retirement from full-time ministry at UUBerks. If not, you can read her message below. The Board of Directors and the Ministry & Operations (M&O) Team at UUBerks are reaching out to the congregation with a follow-up message to  inform you of our actions during this time of transition and to offer our support.

First of all, we are deeply grateful for the 18 years of service by Rev. Sandra; the Board and M&O members have enjoyed working alongside her during that period. Of course, it will be impossible to replace who she is and what she has done for our congregation, as we begin our journey into the next era without her as our minister. Fortunately, there will be opportunities to give thanks to her “in detail” over the next few months.

Both church leadership bodies also want to communicate to the congregation that we are working together to figure out the next steps in the process of finding a ministerial replacement, and we are hopeful that this will be an opportunity for growth. The initial work includes reaching out to the UUA for guidance to understand the various options for a minister to help us transition (a stage that takes place before a search for a settled minister).

Finally, we are extending assurance to all – staff, members, and the wider church community – that we are here to support you through the transition and beyond. We feel confident in this role, based on our successful operations when Rev. Sandra has been on sabbatical at various times. The Board is determining the best process for selecting a transitional ministry, per the church by-laws and standard UUA practices. We also encourage the congregation to reach out to us with your questions and concerns.

At this point, our plans include hosting a series of meetings with the Congregation to communicate the process and progress. Watch for dates and other updates to be announced in the Univoice Weekly soon.

In faith,

FUUBC Board of Directors

Lynn O’Brien, Board President

Ramona McCormick, Vice President

Greg Dimovitz, Secretary

Amber Brown

Susan Peña

FUUBC Ministry & Operations Team

Tonya Wenger, Convener

Nadine Smet-Weiss, Treasurer

Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees

Nicholas Pomo

Corinne Hauk



Important News from Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees (Jan. 2022)


Dear Members and Friends, It is with deep emotion that I write to share with you my decision to retire from UU Berks and full-time ministry in July 2022. I have been in spiritual discernment for a while about the best timing for the congregation and for me. I share this news now so that we will have plenty of time in the coming months to reflect on and celebrate our shared ministry.  


I am profoundly grateful for these 18 years together and the trust you have placed in me. I came to you as a newly ordained minister, and this was my first—and only—settled ministry. When I arrived, I shared my hope that we would have a long, healthy ministry together. And here we are, all these years later, having built a vibrant church community and fostered a faithful and loving relationship.

I am proud and humbled by all that we have achieved together. The church has been a vital, welcoming place of worship, learning and justice-seeking. Together, we have nurtured the spiritual lives of members, friends, children and youth and deepened our connection and love for Unitarian Universalism. We have celebrated births, marriages, and retirements, and also mourned the deaths of our beloveds as well as marking so many other special moments. 

Together, we grew the membership, built financial strength, renovated our beautiful historic space, and expanded our staffing. Justice-seeking became a centerpiece of our congregational life. The church continued to address food insecurity through the Food Pantry and also became a Welcoming Congregation, adopted the 8th Principle, worked to shutter the Berks Detention Center, supported Family Promise, and collected thousands of dollars annually through special collections for community organizations. 

As I retire from UU Berks, it is my fondest wish that this congregation have a healthy and smooth ministerial transition. The church leadership will guide the church community through the process, and I have every confidence in their and your tremendous capability. It will be a time to reflect on and envision the future direction of the congregation. While there may be a sense of uncertainty, I hope, too, there will be a spirit of excitement about the congregation’s path forward. 

I love all of you and the community at UU Berks. More than anything, we have developed strong covenantal relationships and connections. I continue to be inspired and encouraged by the care you offer to each other, to the larger community and to me. I continue to be amazed by who you are. 
With love,
Rev. Sandra



Doing Church Together


Reopening to Onsite Religious Education for children Sunday Feb 20th Expanding Religious Education for adults Sunday Feb 20th (read on for important details)

We’re experimenting with a new model of how to do church together.  We’re going to hold religious education classes for all ages from 9:45 to 10:15. Worship will follow all together starting at 10:30.  This will be an evolving process.  We hope you’re as excited as we are to try this starting February 20th



Anti-Racism Activity


UU Justice PA calls on all Unitarian Universalists to Side with Love and participate in the 30 Days of Love 2022 celebration. Running from now through Valentine’s Day in February, the celebration “is an opportunity to lift up the ways Unitarian Universalists and many of our partner organizations are building and organizing by taking bold, courageous action for intersectional racial justice.” Visit the Side with Love website for information on and links to playlists, weekly actions, political education opportunities, and more! 



Contemplative Companions – February 7th, 2022


Join us on Monday January 7th, @ 7:00pm. Through readings, reflection and sharing we will consider what it means to live into the mystery of our lives. Contact Nadine Smet-Weiss (njw1258@hotmail.com or 484-333-4015) for further information or to receive the zoom link for these gatherings.



Masked Music and Meditation


The next Masked Music and Meditation will be held on Saturday, February 12th from 6-7 pm in the Sanctuary.
All are welcome to come enjoy a time of peaceful music and quiet contemplation. Masks and vaccination are required to attend. If you have not already done so, please submit a copy of your vaccine card to Office@uuberks.org
Please note that registration is no longer necessary for this event.



Did You Know?
Did you know that registration is no longer required to attend in person service? All you need to do it submit your vaccination card one time to our office where it will be kept on file for you to attend upcoming service and events.


Did you know that recordings of past services are available on our website? Visit UUberks.org and click on the Worship tab and past services for access to recording of previous services or by clicking here 



Splinters from the January Board of Directors Meeting


  • Lynn O’Brien introduced the Transition Office and Keith Kron, Transition Director for the UUA 
  • Nominating committee update given
  • Reviewed Group Gathering and Covid Policy
  • Social Media Project Update and Brainstorming
  • Decided on the Service Auction donation 2022 



Feeding Families in Family Promise Program – Jan. 17-26, 2022


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.
Our church has committed to provide meals or 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, 2 children ages 4 and 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.

You 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.  

2022 JAN Family Promise Meal/Grocery Drop-Off



Save the Date for our Annual Service Auction
Mark your calendars: Our FUUBC 2022 Service Auction is on Saturday, February 19th @ 6 PM.


Following social distancing recommendations during COVID-19, our auction will be conducted fully online. We will be using the same online auction website to host the silent auction for two weeks (Feb. 13 – Feb. 26) and Zoom to conduct the live auction on Saturday night in the middle of the two weeks.
Here is the link to the auction website: https://uuberks.org/service-auction
We are currently taking donations for the auction: service auctions only work if there are items to bid on and people participate. If you click on the link above, you will be taken to our auction website. Once the home page loads, you will see a menu across the top of the page (look for the line with “Home”, “Donation Ideas”, “Donate an Item”,…).  To make a donation, click on the “Donate an Item” link on the menu and a new page will open. The top of the page has a list of people that have made a donation. If you scroll down the page a bit, you will see the donation form.  
On the first page of the form, you can enter the title for your donation (example: “1 hour of weeding”), a short description and some other details about the donation. Notice the red asterisks next to the title entry field: the asterisks signifies that the field cannot be empty. On the first page, the “Title” is the only required field.
When you click on the “Continue to item images” button at the bottom of the form, you will be taken to a page where you can upload a picture of your donation. Click on the “select files to upload” link in the middle of the page to add a photo from your computer. We will use the photo in the catalog to help advertise your item.  Photos are optional: you do not have to perform this step.
When you are ready to move onto the next page, click on the “Continue to donor details” button on the bottom of the page and the donor detail page will open. There are only 2 required fields on this page: your name and your email address. You may want to also include your home address information just in case you purchase something at the auction that will be delivered.
Click on the “submit donation” button at the bottom of the page to submit your complete donation. A short time later a member of the Service Auction Committee will review your donation and send you a confirmation email. If you would like to donate an additional item, click on the “Donate another item” button on the bottom of this page: you will be taken back to the first page of the donation form.
You can also submit donations by making a phone call to 484-925-1684 or by sending an email with your donation details to us at service.auction@uuberks.org.

 Finally, if you would like to volunteer to help with the auction or have a question/suggestion, send us an email at g.service.auction@uuberks.org. Many thanks from the Service Auction Committee.



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.



The Art of Setting Intentions

Here’s what I discovered. Intention is different from setting goals or resolutions in that it “pulls us into” who we truly are. Goals and resolutions “push us out” into future possibilities. To set intentions, we must listen to our inner voice which tells us who we truly are.                                                                   

Katie Covey, Soul Matters Director of RE Resources

January is that time of year when we begin again, often setting new goals – to get in shape, eat healthier, read more, be more patient. These are worthy resolutions. But setting resolutions sometimes feels like another task list – and one that gets filled with items that I’m already worried I’m going to fail to do.

Like Katie Covey, I’ve discovered that setting intentions, actually learning to live with intention, is different from setting resolutions. It means discovering what I really want, what my spirit is longing for. It means connecting to my deeper self, to my most authentic self. What if we were all to take some time to reflect quietly on what is calling or whispering to us? What wisdom does the still small voice in us have to offer?

Every January I create a vision board as a way to get in touch with that inner voice. I sometimes do this with friends and other times on my own. Spending a few quiet hours reflecting, gathering images, and putting them on paper helps me get to that inner voice that tells me who I truly am.

So this January, I hope you’ll set aside some time to dream on what your heart is most hungering for.

With love,

Rev. Dr. Sandra Fee


breath blessing

nadine j. smet-weiss

spiritual director

my heart hungers

for the sense of fullness

found in being 

truly alive

tempted as i am

some days

to bury that hunger

with the busyness of doing

my heart will not

be satisfied

until i honor breath

requesting its blessing

upon all my doings








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