Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
March 6, 2022

This Sunday:

When we join forces, we can change the world. When we unite in common causes, we know that we don’t have to go it alone. By renewing our faith in each other, we can experience a renewal of hope in what’s possible. Join us for this exploration.



Embracing Faith

The point is that in almost every instance of our lives we are, if we pay attention, in the midst of an almost constant, if subtle, caretaking. Holding open doors. Offering elbows at crosswalks. Letting someone else go first. Helping with the heavy bags… Pulling someone back to their feet. Stopping at the car wreck, at the struck dog… This caretaking is our default mode and it’s always a lie that convinces us to act or believe otherwise. Always.

Ross Gay

To hold open a door, offer an elbow at a crosswalk or help an injured animal is to keep faith with one another. It is to keep faith with life. Our careful, constant caretaking, our belief in ourselves and other trust in each other are all part of our human nature. As poet Ross Gay writes, “it’s always a lie that convinces us to act or believe otherwise.”

So how do we embrace and hold to faith in the midst of the messages that urge us to act otherwise? Or to put it another way, how do we continue to affirm and promote our UU principles of inherent worth and dignity, interconnection and beloved community when the world feels hostile or uncaring?

We do so by keeping faith with one another. We do so by honoring the importance of renewing trust and keeping promises. We do so by continuing to kindle the light of hope, joy and connection. As James Baldwin writes, “The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”

This month we’ll be exploring how to keep that light on by renewing faith in ourselves and each other.

Yours in faith,

Rev. Sandra

Practice, An Act Renewing Faith

When the word ‘faith’ came into the English language, it traveled from the Old French ‘feid’ by way of the Latin ‘semper fidelis’ (always loyal).  It’s meaning had nothing to do with belief in the absence of proof but instead with keeping promises.  ‘Faith’ was not a statement about belief, but about behavior.  Source

I know many people who are always loyal to their practice, their behavior, setting aside regular time to hone their craft.  They set aside time to play their scales, feel how the melody can move, changing between passages at first clumsily and then with more and more ease. 

I have not been one of those people.  If there’s an immediate goal in front of me, sure.  That concert is coming up mighty soon, or I better learn the piece I need to teach tonight.  But I’m reminded of first learning to play the recorder.  Think of the first instrument you were ever taught in school.  Was it the recorder for you as well?  Or maybe it was the ukulele.  Remember how slow it was to change between one note or chord to the next.  Remember how awkward you first felt to do something new?  But you kept at it until the school concert or through each year of school, or till you felt ready to play or sing something for friends.  

It won’t be today, it might not be tomorrow, but someday, sometime you will play or sing better than you dreamed possible.  This month, I’m going to strive to renew my relationship with regular practicing.  I will go slower, I will set shorter goals each week, I will learn something new, I will share what I’ve learned with family and friends.  

This will be done not as an act of something I should do but as what Soulful Home curator, Theresa Honey-Youngblood suggests as “a  kind of learning-prayer, sending faith for a better future out into the world.” (see ‘The Extra Mile’ of soulful home packet for March)

a faithful prayer

by nadine j. smet-weiss
spiritual director

when I look 


at the world

which is 

my mirror

the reflection i see

appears to be 

a mangled mess

entangled with

exquisite beauty

raw material for

life imagined

may love guide

my daily contribution





Tonight – FRIDAY

7:00 PM:

  • For our Story tonight here’s a tale about what all of us need and all of us have to do in the world. We have to believe that renewing our faith in each other is the first step to doing anything. In the Christian tradition there’s a tale of – Jesus having faith that the people would share, even though at first there didn’t seem to be enough.  Fish and Loaves.

9:45 AM Onsite and Online

Adult Ages: in Gerber Room with Lauren Fritz

  • Who Fuels Your Faith?  We’ll explore ways to ‘bring people to mind and heart who have helped us renew our faith in the past, and whose memory and example may have that power for us still. because […] Culturally, and theologically, we UUs are more apt to think of faith not as being based on unquestioned belief, but rather on our direct observations that the world becomes better when people make it so.’ [soulful home packet]

Elementary Ages: RE Hangout ** Onsite and Online, (email director.religious.education@uuberks.org by Saturday noon if you’ll be attending online) in RE Hangout Zoom Room with Ms Corinne & Ms Ebee
(* teens may help, let us know you’ll be coming)

  • RE Hangout – Aesop’s Bundle of Sticks with Ms Jayné & Ms Corinne  – Our theme this month is “Renewing Faith.” This morning we’ll hear a fable and play games that help us practice trust in others. 

  • link sent via Remind 1 hour before class.  If you need access please email Ebee (director.religious.education@uuberks.org)


  • For All: When are the times that we need one another? 

  • 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 – 11:30

  • Youth Group (7th grade & up): in back chalice house meeting room with  Joanna Groebel& Kent Gutzler 

    • Youth Group Hangout – Join us for a time of exploration on renewing faith.  This is our second meeting of new scheduling model (every other week).  We’re learning as we go and are grateful for you to be apart of this journey.

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



Contemplative Companions March 2022


Join us on Monday March 7th, @ 7:00pm via Zoom. Through readings, reflection and sharing we will consider the value and practice of deep listening in our lives. Contact Nadine Smet-Weiss for more info at njw1258@hotmail.com



March 8th – International Women’s Day


March 8th – International Women’s Day1pm action at the Berks Detention Center, which is now incarcerating women immigrants! (more information below)
1040 Berks Rd, Leesport, PA 19533
in coordination with Detention Watch Network’s Day of Action (March 3)

Contact Tonya at g.immigrationjustice@uuberks.org from the FUUBC immigration team for more information and/or follow Shut Down Berks Coalition (on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) or the Shut Down Berks Interfaith Witness on Facebook for updates.

Take action in the meantime (or if you cannot make it on March 8th):

Note: The FUUBC immigration Team recently voted to sign the “Shut Down Berks Campaign Sign On Form: End the ICE Contract Now” – for our team to  support the goals of the Shut Down Berks Coalition in this new phase of their work.


Earlier this month the Shut Down Berks Coalition received confirmation that ICE had resumed immigrant imprisonment at the Berks sometime in January 2022. We call on the Biden administration to immediately release these women and permanently close the Berks immigrant prison. 
ICE has used the Berks family prison for over 20 years to incarcerate immigrant families, including children as young as 14 days old. After years of community resistance, the Biden administration released all people incarcerated at Berks on February 26, 2021. In September 2021, despite strong opposition from community members, ICE and the Berks County Commissioners reached an agreement to reopen and repurpose the Berks County Residential Center to detain women as young as 18 years old. Today, the facility is incarcerating as many as 65 immigrant women and girls.

Detaining women at this facility is dangerous and cruel. ICE has an established history of abuse and violence against women in its custody. Berks is the same facility where a staff member was convicted for raping a 19 year old mother in 2014.

President Biden’s stated priorities endorse an immigration system that “welcomes immigrants, keeps families together, and allows people across the country—both newly arrived immigrants and people who have lived here for generations—to more fully contribute to our country.” However, his actions betray this promise and perpetuate the cruelty employed by the Trump administration as a tool for deportation. Detention is unnecessary, immoral, and results in family separation and isolation.





Dismantling Racism and Oppression One Conversation at a Time


We have been invited to join with the Delaware County UU for a workshop.  In keeping the commitment to the 8th Principal, the UUCDC Anti-Racism Coalition is proudly offering the online workshop, Dismantling Racism and Oppression: Decentering Whiteness One Conversation at a Time.

The workshop will be held on April 2, 2022, from 9 am to 2 pm. There will be bio breaks and a 45 min lunch break. The workshop will be done online via Zoom. A link will be forwarded to you after you have registered.

description of the conference and registration form are available online. The cost is twenty five dollars and scholarships are available. If you need financial assistance, please contact Nadine Smet-Weis at treasurer@uuberks.org



We’re beginning our 2022-2023 pledge campaign for the fiscal year beginning July 1 with the theme of “Emerging Transitions: Coming Changes Create Pledge Opportunities.” You likely have already received a flier about pledging by postal mail that includes a letter from Pledge team member Nic Stoltzfus. Copies are also available in the Gerber Room. 

More of our activities are pivoting to in-person and our opportunity is to make the most of continuing as a multi-platform church community. With the announcement of Rev. Fees’s retirement, we have a transition that initially may challenge us to see the opportunity inherent in the inevitability of such changes over the life of a congregation.

To allow a budget to be put together based on the pledges in time for May’s Congregational Meeting, it would be great to have all pledges in by the end of March.



Service Auction Update


GOOD NEWS: as of today we have brought in $10,608.47 for the Service Auction. Way to go UUBerks!  We are working on the final Profit & Loss statement and hope to turn it in soon.   In other news, we have reserved a picnic pavilion on Sunday, May 22 in Exeter at the Farming Ridge Park. 

The plan is to have a picnic lunch after the worship service with a basket raffle during the picnic (have you ever been to a raffle where they place bags in front of all the items and you place your raffle ticket(s) in the bags for the items you are interested in?).  The picnic and raffle are open to everyone, but if you purchased a bidding number for the Silent/Live auction, you will receive a coupon that is good for 5 raffle tickets. Watch the Univoice for more information.

If you have any questions or suggestions, send us an email at g.service.auction@uuberks.org.

Thanks again,

The Service Auction Committee



Update on Parking Options


  • Free parking is available on Sundays on the street and in the library parking lot.
  • The parking garage across the street (4th and Cherry streets) has changed to a pay by app system. The app is called ParkMobile. It can be downloaded in the apple store or on the google play app. At this time we are unable  to offer discounted parking vouchers.



Come to Portland, OR, for General Assembly 2022 – UU Berks Delegates Needed


Registration for General Assembly 2022 (GA) in-person in Portland, Oregon is now open. GA 2022 will be a multiplatform event, with registration options for in-person and/or virtual participation. Registration for Virtual participation will open March 1. For more information, go to www.uua.org/ga. If interested in serving as a UU Berks Delegate (to vote on denominational decisions), please contact the UU Berks Board at g.board@uuberks.org or Rev. Sandra at minister@uuberks.org.

The General Assembly logo, featuring the theme arranged in a circle. The theme is: “Meet the moment: Reimagining radical faith community”. Pink letters GA are in the center, with a white web decoration the represent the World Wide Web connecting our multi platform event. In front of GA, there is a purple silhouette of eight people holding hands. The persons depicted are of varying age, shapes and sizes.



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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