Univoice Weekly









Weekly News for the week of:
April 3, 2022



Awakening – from Rev. Sandra’s Study

Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees, April 2022

You tell me to live each day / as if it were my last. / But why the last? I ask. Why not / live each day as if it were the first— / all raw astonishment, Eve rubbing / her eyes awake that first morning, / the sun coming up / like an ingénue in the east?

~ Linda Pastan, Imaginary Conversation

What would it be like to live each day as if it were the first? This is a question I am sitting with these days. I envision retirement as a vital time to reawaken to that raw astonishment. I don’t see it as a time to live as though each day is my last.

I look forward to more unstructured time and also more time to be curious about the question “who am I now?” I will still be a minister. I will still participate in clergy groups and UU circles. Very likely I will preach from time to time and perhaps occasionally officiate at rites of passage for friends and family. But my role will be changing. I will no longer be a congregational minister. I will no longer be your settled minister. I will be awakening to something new.

And I wonder, what would it be like for you to live each day as if it were the first? What would you be awakening to? What choices might you make for yourself to bring that vision a little closer to being a reality?

With love,

Rev. Sandra

“I was today years old when…”


I love a good meme and this one is a classic at this point… “I was today years old when…”

Often these realizations feel like a jolt, an awakening to something new to me. They often feel like a paradigm shift – a big Eureka moment – the way I was doing something isn’t the way it has to be! Or – I never knew that!

I love the enthusiasm behind a lot of these posts. To celebrate awakening to something new can be a great way to live into experimentation and play. Another way to put this is “I was today years old when…” captures one way to draw from our first of six UU sources “the sense of wonder we all share.”

What understanding did you wake up to lately?


by nadine j. smet-weiss

spiritual director


is the season

to come alive


to the power

of the light

you bear


the gifts

that are


to give

open your arms

to receive

what others

live to share

now is the season

to come alive

awaken to

the love

you are



This Sunday:




Some things become so familiar to us that they become invisible to us. We overlook them and miss out on important opportunities to experience wonder, awe, love and beauty.


Tonight – FRIDAY

7:00 PM:

  • For our Story tonight here’s a tale that shares a fun way to explore what’s familiar but not thought of deeply day to day.  A great way to explore weight, measurement, and balance is through science! In the story Ada Twist, Scientist, a young girl takes the time to ask the question why, what, how, and when, and often times those questions lead to more questions. It is a wonderful story about the importance of asking our questions, staying curious, and continuing on our search for truth and meaning.” Here we go! 

  • Listen and watch here: Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty


9:45 AM :Adult RE 

  • In Person: in 2nd floor chalice house with UUBerks community minister, Rev Sage and Be Young

  • How Do UUs Pray?: Rev Sage leads us in a time of reflection. We’ll explore ways people already pray but don’t currently regard it as prayer and discuss ideas about how to reframe for our daily lives. [soulful home packet] 

  • Onsite Only 

9:45 AM: Children’s RE  

Elementary Ages:  Onsite and Online, email director.religious.education@uuberks.org by Saturday noon if you’ll be attending online

  • On site: in Kidspace w/ Ms Corinne & Ms Cyndi (* teens may help, let us know you’ll be coming)
  • RE Hangout – “Awakening To What Could Be” – We’ll be building our religious exploration class of the future through drawings, blocks and pipe cleaners. Our theme this month is Awakening.  This session invites kids to practice and explore ways of deep living, a calling found in our fourth principle about searching for meaning. It’s all a way of reminding ourselves that our faith challenges us to “wake up to what really matters”! 

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

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

  •  What does it mean to notice everyday things in a new way?

  • Coloring Sheet: “Spiral Stones” by 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

  • Practice your Searching and Creative skills with Spark Maze

10:45- Youth Group

Grades 7-12:  Onsite only.

  • On site: in Chalice House, 1st floor w/ Ms Joanna & Ms Erin
  • Youth Group Hangout – Circle Game, Circle Round for Freedom, Circle of Life.  Where are circles in our lives?  This morning we play, draw and explore together.

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

We Need Your Input-Congregational Survey

As part of Interim Minister search, we are completing a congregational profile. To do this we need to get input from our congregation to answer the following 6 questions: 

  • Describe your Congregation and its culture.
  • What are the top three things your next minister should focus on to have a successful ministry with you?
  • Desired strengths of the minister.
  • Ongoing momentum we would like to continue.
  • Programs and traditions we want to maintain.
  • Trust in the congregation (describe).

To get congregational input, community members have two options and should participate in ONLY ONE:

1) In-person small group sessions after church on Sunday, April 3 from 11:30-12:30

2) An online survey that must be completed April 3rd  https://5kbf37pfvmh.typeform.com/to/NAZpSB89 (survey only takes a few minutes)

Masking Optional for Small Groups and Sunday Coffee Hour

Beginning April 1, masking will be optional for small group gatherings and Sunday coffee hour. Participants in onsite church programs are still required to submit proof of vaccination and to mask during worship services. The updated UU Berks Gathering Policy can be found here.

Pledge Drive Nears Conclusion!

Our 2022-2023 Pledge Drive and its theme of “Emerging Transitions: Coming Changes Create Pledge Opportunities” has successfully steamed past the halfway point vs. last year’s successful drive! Much appreciation to all of you who’ve already submitted your pledge forms or otherwise communicated your pledge!

To allow a budget to be put together based on the pledges in time for May’s Congregational Meeting, we are hoping to complete the campaign by the end of March. Please let us hear from you!

Planned Parenthood Moves to Laureldale
Planned Parenthood, formerly located on South Fourth Street, in downtown Reading, has relocated to 1920 Kutztown Road, Reading Medical Center, Suite H. This location offers increased access to essential care for those in Reading and the surrounding areas, as well as more convenient parking.  For additional information, call 610-376-8061

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

Contemplative Companions – April 4th, 2022

Join us on Monday April 4th, @ 7:00pm. We will be taking a contemplative pause, in the midst of life’s chaos, turning our attention to the “angels among us.” Contact Nadine Smet-Weiss (njw1258@hotmail.com or 484-333-4015) for further information or to receive the zoom link for these gatherings.

52nd Anniversary of Earth Day Berks County

Save the date (AND a few before, See Below)

April 23, 2022

Where:   Reading City Park

Washington St. & N 11th St.

Reading, PA

When:   Noon to 6 p.m. Rain or Shine!


  • Environmental Groups
  • Speakers on Sustainability Issues
  • Presentations of Wild Animals & Some Winged Visitors
  • Local Artists and Poets
  • Food Vendors And More!

NOTE:  To volunteer, contact earthdayberks@gmail.com

Service Auction Picnic

Mark your calendars for the Service Auction Picnic on Sunday, May 22 @ 12 PM at the Farming Ridge Park in Exeter. 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 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.

Save the Date for Pride Fest

Mark your calendars for the LGBT Center of Greater Reading’s PRIDE FEST on July 17th, 2022. Come out and show your support for our LGBTQ Community with a day full of music, vendors, food and FUN! We will be asking for volunteers to staff the FUUBC table as the date gets closer. Please consider helping out.

A Message from the UUA on Supporting Ukraine

As the situation in Ukraine has unfolded over the last several days, there has been an outpouring of prayers and concern from Unitarian Universalists expressing heartfelt unity around this growing human rights tragedy. We want to share the most up to date information on how UUs in this country and around the world are responding and amplify the ways that we can all help.

As Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), said, “we continue to join in solidarity with so many around the world and pray for the people of Ukraine. Our hearts go out to those who are enduring devastating loss of life, violence, instability, and upheaval due to Russia’s unprovoked invasion. Our UU faith calls us to remain committed to justice and we believe we have a moral responsibility to support the creation of peace and the equal rights of all people.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a stark reminder that human rights are fundamentally linked to our interdependence. Over the last few weeks, while we have seen tremendous acts of courage and generosity by and towards the people of Ukraine, we have also seen the worst of human behavior. We continue to be mindful that an authoritarian, imperialistic ideology that seeks to deny Ukrainians their rights to live free and independently, under the false, anti-Semitic guise of “denazification,” is directly tied to colonialist ideologies globally and here in the U.S. that endanger the health, well-being, and lives of BIPOC individuals, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and other marginalized populations.

And as millions of people living in Ukraine flee to safety, we know that, on top of an already dangerous situation, there are life-threatening experiences of anti-Blackness, racism, and xenophobia that are blocking escape from the deadly conflict.

Blue stylized image of globe with Donate Now in a red rectangle in the center
Support Ukraine Response

The scope of this humanitarian crisis is staggering. To help address the scale of the crisis, the UUA has been working closely with our partners at the UU Service Committee, which is dedicated to advancing human rights and social justice, together with an international community of grassroots partners and advocates. They have created an Emergency Relief Fund to support Ukraine and we are committed to amplifying their voice and humanitarian work.

The international implications of Russia’s war in Ukraine are profound. The UUA’s International office has additional resources for supporting Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homes and communities, including information on supporting the Hungarian Unitarian Church and the International Women’s Convocation’s Faithify Campaign.

As more information becomes available, we will make sure to provide updates on our efforts, including on our Facebook page. We ask that you continue to hold in your hearts the people of Ukraine and all of those around the world who are suffering because of war and injustice. And we ask that you pray for peace as we all hold each other in mutual care.

For more information contact info@uua.org.

From Our Social Justice Committee

Although the plight of the refugees from Ukraine is top-of-mind for most of us, there are chronic refugee disasters ongoing in many places. Among the worst situations currently are faced by Syrians; many, many Africans; and – closer to home– Central Americans who have traveled across many countries only to be stopped at our border with Mexico. 

There are many organizations which are involved in helping refugees, and several to consider are:

We urge that anyone who does not have an organization that they usually support, check out the report cards found on Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and similar sites.  The world-wide financial and personnel resource situation is fluid, so it’s always good to do some research before contributing.  Foremost, consider supporting the UUSC.  As UU’s, we want to be certain that our principles guide our giving.

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.



Leave a Reply

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