Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
September 2, 2022

A Note from Rev. Amy

Since I started serving you last month, you have been so welcoming to this new interim minister; we’re off to a wonderful start! At this point, you may be wondering about more of the specifics of what a two-year interim period is like. After 2 services lead by me, I dropped out of sight to attend the Introduction to UU Ministry class online, with colleagues form around the country, for 40 hours. It will be good to see y’all again on Labor Day weekend.

An interim period is to work toward several things. In general, it is a time for us to examine and attend to any issues or goals that are lingering from the previous ministries. These include what are called “The Five Developmental Tasks of Interim Ministry.” At my first service on August 7, we symbolically unpacked them from a suitcase.

In addition to the normal responsibilities of congregational ministry, including worship and pastoral care, Intentional Interim Ministers are tasked with assisting a congregation in:

  • claiming and honoring its past and engaging and honoring its griefs and conflicts;
  • recognizing its unique identity and its strengths, needs, and challenges;
  • clarifying the appropriate leadership roles of minister(s), church staff, and lay leaders and navigating the shifts in leadership that may accompany times of transition;
  • making appropriate use of Regional, UUA, and other outside resources; and
  • proudly coming into possession of a renewed vision and strong stewardship, prepared for new growth and new professional leadership, ready to embrace the future with anticipation and zest.”

To all of you lovely people who make up UU Berks, our journey together is going well, and I look forward to our ongoing process of getting to know each other and the hopes and dreams you have for your congregation.

In peace with love, Rev. Amy

Belonging To One Another

From Your Director of Religious Education

What does it mean to belong? What belongs to you?  And who do you belong to? As I was exploring these questions and reading all about belonging to prepare for our time together in September, a song popped into my head.  Can you guess which one?

… Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.  A circle’s round, it has no end.  That’s how long I’d like to be your friend…

Where and when did you first hear this song?   Did you just learn it now and have to go look it up?  Did reading the lyrics bring you back to camp this past year?  Or maybe, did those lyrics transport you to a time so long ago you’re not sure how much time it’s been exactly since you heard the song for the first time?

As the lyrics floated through my memory I turned them over and over in my head.  Which friendship is silver?  Which is gold?  The circle is round but how do we become a part of the circle in the first place – where is our beginning?

And that’s just it.  My friend and fellow religious educator, Lenore Bejare-Dukes pointed out that “the song doesn’t say which friendship is silver and which one is gold.  The implication is there in rhyme and word order but there’s space for us to find our own answer to this song.”  As UUs we look for the meaning in the space between.

This year we’re leaning into the space between. The space between “being” and “longing.”  What a great word for us to start our year with, “Belonging.”  For some of us the space between has felt really really wide these past few years.  For some of us that space has been closer than they knew it in past seasons of their lives.  For others, you’re coming to our space for the first time.

Our Unitarian Universalist faith is created and re-created by the friendships we value and how we choose to connect with each other.  Those friendships are what’s guiding our religious education programming choices this year.  If you’d like to find out more here’s more on our intentions (link).

In all that we belong to and in all that we do this church year, may we seek with open minds, may we nurture with loving hearts and may we serve with helping hands. Blessed be and Amen.


by nadine j. smet-weiss

spiritual director


be longing

longing to be


be coming

the two betwined

our most authentic



the deep truth

of our


This Sunday:

“Scattered Like Dry Leaves”

September 4, 2022 at 10:30 am

Our nation owes a debt of gratitude for our very lives to migrant pickers.  On this Labor Day we learn about some of these vital workers who were erroneously labeled “deportees” several decades ago;  Rev. Amy preaches on the plight of the people who were nameless for so long.

To attend on siteFULL VACCINATION STRONGLY RECOMMENDED: FUUBC strongly encourages all those who can be vaccinated to be vaccinated, including boosters as appropriate.

MASKING RECOMMENDED: FUUBC strongly encourages attendees at worship services and other large gatherings to wear masks.

To attend by Zoom, click on this link: uuberks.org/zoom-worship. (If this is the first time you’re using zoom, you may be prompted to download a launcher app).

To connect by phone (audio only): 1) Dial the phone number: 1-646-558-8656 2) When prompted for the “Meeting ID”, enter: 921 4271 5512# 3) When prompted for the “Participant ID”, enter: #

Please plan to arrive or log on by 10:20-10:25 am to enjoy the gathering music, and, for those on zoom, to establish a connection before worship is scheduled begins. Zoom participant mics are muted throughout the service.


This Weekend:

  • For the Summer we’re revisiting stories from the past year: 

  • For this week we’re reminded of the power we each have to share. It’s possible for each of us to make a difference. And even more than that, we have the responsibility to help others feel that life is full of possibilities, to believe that justice is possible. Let’s hear Say Something.


9:45 AM :Adult RE 
  • In Person: in back of chalice house

  • Summer RE our Principle and Sources series – this week we’ll explore our 3rd & 4th principles in conversation. [soulful home packet]

  • 3rd & 4th Principles Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

  • 3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

  • 4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

  • [soulful home packet]

  • Onsite Only 

9:45 AM: Children’s RE  

Elementary Ages:  Onsite, email Erin Connolly by Saturday noon if you’ll be attending online

  • On site: in office meeting room (room off Gerber room) * teens may help, let us know you’ll be coming
  • RE Hangout – creating our poster for September – Belonging!   

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

We’ll use music, tell a story together and hear a sermon all focused on what it means to use our collective power this Labor Day weekend. 

6:00 PM- 8:00 PM :Youth Group Bonfire at Graystone Farm

  • For 7th grade and above
  • Bring a chair and meet up at Graystone Farm located at 416 Snyder Rd, Leesport.

Monday – Thursday  Weekly posts on our covenanted RE Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/UUBerks.RE.page/?ref=share check out our Remind classroom. If you need to signup link here: remind.com/join/refuucbc

RE Registration for 2022-2023

Registration is open now for our program year. We have some exciting things planned and look forward to what will emerge as we seek, nurture and serve together this year! To let us know how you plan to engage with our programs this year please visit. https://uuberks.org/Registration.

Registered families will receive occasional mailings including birthday cards from the church, invitations to events, seasonal updates on what we’re programming together this year.

Our offerings  depend on the congregation and on participating families to happen. If you want to be part of shaping programming or can lend a hand to help make them happen, please email Ebee: director.religious.education@uuberks.org

Contemplative Companions September 2022

Please note that our Contemplative Companions group will be gathering on Monday Sept.12th (due to the first Monday holiday) via zoom @ our regular 7:00pm time. During this September gathering we will be sharing about our spiritual practices and how they touch our lives. For further information, including the zoom link, contact Nadine at njw1258@hotmail.com or (484) 333-4015.

Passing of Eileen LePage

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Eileen LePage. Eileen and her husband Cliff were long time members of the church. Eileen sang in the choir for many years. A Celebration of Eileen’s life will be held Friday, September 16, 2022, at 12:30 p.m. at Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc., 739 Penn Avenue, West Reading. Rev. Amy will be leading the service.

Beware Of Fake Emails Claiming to be Rev. Amy!

Please be aware that once again someone is impersonating our Minister by sending fake emails asking you to purchase gift cards. This is not being sent by Rev. Amy. At no time will Rev. Amy or anyone else from the church ask you to purchase gift cards for them. If you have received an email like  like this please do not  open or respond to it.

Fun Events with LGBT Center of Greater Reading 

1) The FUUBC Social Justice Coordinating Committee is willing to support the $80 ticket price of a congregant/or congregants who would like to go to “Prom”.If you would like to attend with financial assistance, please email your interest to g.social.justice@uuberks.org. On Saturday, September 10, 2022 from 5-10PM the LGBT Center of Greater Reading is hosting our signature event,  Dance Through the Decades Gala at the DoubleTree in Reading. Our theme for this year is PROM and the event is OPEN TO ALL adults! This is significant because many individuals that we serve were unable to attend prom without hiding their true selves.

We will have silent and live auctions, brief acknowledgements, and provide a short opportunity to pledge your support, should you choose. In addition, we will honor Tim Greusel, Edward Babiarz, Susan Denaro, and Franki Aitken for their unwavering support of our mission.

Proceeds from this event support our ever-evolving urgent and critical support services, such as counseling, crisis intervention, and support groups.  Your support provides urgent, critical care to people like “John.” John’s father cried while hearing his child laugh for the first time since John’s pediatrician told him that being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community was wrong.

Be ready to dance and celebrate PROM the way it deserves to be celebrated:  with a red carpet, rainbow balloon arch, three course meal, DJ, photo booth and much more!

To join us for the event, please click the link to purchase tickets.

If you are interested in being a Sponsor the event, please email Aaron Rineer at  lgbtcenterofreadingdevelopment@gmail.com

2) On Saturday, October 8, 2022 from 1-7pm, the LGBT Center is celebrating its 2nd annual “Out in The Park” at First Energy Stadium. 

FUUBC would like to set up a booth similar to Pridefest as an outreach. We want to let people know there is a welcoming spiritual community here in downtown Reading. We need your help. Many of us are out of town that weekend so we need a volunteer coordinator.  Booth set up time is 11am-12pm. If you are willing to coordinate or staff the booth for a shift, please email g.social.justice@uuberks.org with your preferred times.

We will only commit if we have enough volunteers signed up by Aug. 28th.  Thank you for checking your schedules and joining in the effort.

Exclusive Screening Event of the Critically Acclaimed Documentary- Emmy Nominated “Takeover”. Saturday, October 8,2022, the WCR Center for the Arts is excited to host an exclusive screening event of the New York Times Op-Docs documentary ‘Takeover’. Director Emma Francis-Snyder, Producer Tony Gerber, Executive Producers Luis A. Miranda and Lynn Nottage. Takeover explores the twelve historic hours on July 14, 1970, in which fifty members of the Young Lords

Party stormed the dilapidated Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx, drove out their administrative staff, and barricaded entrances and windows, and made their cries for decent healthcare known to the world. They raised the Puerto Rican flag atop the building and a banner reading “The People’s Hospital” – a nom de guerre still used today. Through archival footage, seamless reenactments, and modern-day interviews, we follow the Young Lords’ resistance against institutions curated by wealth and white supremacy, and their fight for the most basic of human rights: the right to accessible, quality healthcare.


Takeover made its world premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival and has since screened at festivals across the country, including: ● AFI Fest ● Montclair Film Festival ● International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival (awarded Best Short Documentary) ● Montana International Film Festival (awarded Special Jury Award) ● Newburyport Documentary Film Festival (awarded Best Short) ● New Faces New Voices Festival (awarded Best Documentary) ● San Francisco Latino Film Festival ● El Festival de Cine y Derechos Humanos de Vieques

Solar Subcommittee

Last year we used 37,640 cubic feet of natural gas to heat our buildings.  According to the epa.gov website that equates to 20.6 metric tons of CO2.  I believe that we can do better. Solar power has been an ongoing interest of the Building Keepers for a few years.

With our church’s strong commitment to environmental and social responsibility, we we at FUUBC want to do our part. The Building Keepers are looking for volunteers to help with a temporary ad hoc Solar Team Subcommittee to evaluate (1) adding solar panels on the church buildings and (2) upgrading our natural gas heating systems to electric heat pumps. To do this, we will have a series of meetings (both in-person and/or virtual) to evaluate the different proposals from solar/HVAC companies and then prepare a final proposal to take to the M&O Team for final acceptance. Contact Frank Wilder at frank.wilder@uuberks.org if you are interested.

Please Consider Attending PA Universalist Meeting!

A perk of FUUBC coming from the Universalist side of the UUA is involvement in the Trustees of the Pennsylvania Universalist Convention, including this fall’s TPUC Annual Membership Meeting, which this year will be hosted by the Unitarian Universalists of Mount Airy in Philadelphia.

The Annual Membership Meeting will be held from Friday evening through Sunday morning, Oct. 7–9, at the Mount Airy congregation’s historic sanctuary, known as the Universalist Church of the Restoration of Philadelphia, 6900 Stenton Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19150.

 First UU is entitled to five voting delegates in addition to the minister and with the availability of hybrid—as well as relative closeness of Mount Airy for those attending in-person—this is a great year to consider becoming one of those delegates and network with those from our portion of the denomination.

All should be aware that TPUC distributes grants from its endowment annually that form a significant portion of our congregation’s annual budget. This year, we’re benefiting from an extra grant to help fund the costs of our transition to an interim ministry.

Further information on registration for this year’s meeting will be available shortly!

Green Sanctuary 2030

Do you know anything about solar panels? How about HVAC heat pump systems? Have you heard about the UUA’s Green Sanctuary 2030 program? From their website: The climate-change crisis with Global Warming is the existential threat to the human species and the web of life. It is the urgent, overarching survival and justice issue of our time, calling  us to impactful action now. In an era in which the call to dismantle racism could not be more clear, and when the COVID 19 pandemic stunningly highlights that systemic racism is inextricably bound (PDF) to climate degradation and injustice, Unitarian Universalist

Faithful Response calls us to bring our individual and collective gifts together to act with bold, inspiring, collaborative, networked, and effective leadership to ensure a livable world for all descendants and create climate justice with those who are systematically oppressed.

Solar power has been an ongoing interest of the Building Keepers for a few years. With our church’s strong commitment to environmental and social responsibility, we at FUUBC want to do our part. The Building Keepers are looking for volunteers to help with a temporary ad hoc Solar Subcommittee to evaluate (1) adding solar panels on the church buildings and (2) upgrading our natural gas heating systems to electric heat pumps.  To do this, we will have a series of meetings (both in-person and/or virtual) to evaluate the different proposals from solar/HVAC companies and then prepare a final proposal to take to the M&O Team for final acceptance. Contact Frank Wilder at frank.wilder@uuberks.org if you are interested.

We are currently looking for anyone who is interested in volunteering to be a Greeter and when the time comes- to be an Usher.  This is a great way to get to know your fellow members or get to know them better    And of course- being of service can provide comfort to you and others!!

Currently we have a group of  approx 10 of us that rotate and fill in when we can but if we can get another 10 volunteers- then this will mean you would be a greeter every 6 -8 weeks and provides back up for our busy summer months.

We like to have two greeters at each service & when RE sessions are occurring on Sunday’s- one greeter arrives at 9:40 to greet those arriving for RE at 9:45 & the 2nd greeter arrives at 10 am to be available for those attending the Sunday service.

Please take time to consider this and please contact me, Joanne Koehler at jkbluesky@icloud.com or my cell 610-914-8827 if you are interested or have any questions.



Effective June 1, 2022 until further notice 

Given the evolving nature of the pandemic, the FUUBC Board will be making ongoing evaluations on a regular basis. We are using available metrics from:

FULL VACCINATION STRONGLY RECOMMENDED: FUUBC strongly encourages all those who can be vaccinated to be vaccinated, including boosters as appropriate. The church will be requiring proof of vaccination for the Minister, staff, guest speakers, and all RE volunteers.

MASKING RECOMMENDED: FUUBC strongly encourages attendees at worship services and other large gatherings to wear masks.



In gathering together, we promise to:

  1. Wear masks when recommended by CDC guidelines.
  2. Do not attend in person gatherings if you are not feeling well or if you have been directly exposed to Covid-19.
  3. Gain consent before touching or hugging others. Be mindful of varying levels of comfort and safety with social distancing when approaching others.
  4. Find ways to be inclusive of individuals who cannot be vaccinated, who may be immunocompromised, or who have hearing impairments.
  5. Prioritize the safety of the whole community over our own individual sense of what is safe for ourselves.
  6. Give and accept reminders of these ground rules gracefully.
  7. Assume good intentions, but also accept that policies and these ground rules will guide our actions.
  8. Respect the authority of the people making policies.

* adapted from Ground Rules by Carol Gay, UU Congregation of Cleveland

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.
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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