Univoice Weekly

Weekly News for the week of:
October 30, 2022

This Sunday:

Dia de los Muertos

October 30, 2022 at 10:30 am 

Our member, Cesar Martinez-Garza, shares with us and invites us into this meaningful Mexican celebration of honoring those we have lost. We invite you to bring pictures of loved ones that have passed to adorn our ofrenda. It is also Halloween weekend (the 2 are not the same) and so children and young at heart are encouraged to wear costumes during the service.

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.

October’s Share the Plate:

This month’s special plate collection will be donated to Safe Berks, formerly Berks Women in Crisis. Safe Berks provides a safe haven and ongoing support system for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
If you would like to donate to Safe Berks please make a check out to FUUBC with SafeBerks in the memo line. Checks can be dropped in the box in the gerber room or mailed to the church at 416 Franklin Street, Reading, PA 19602


This Weekend:

  • For this week’s story we get to hear and explore – Ghost Wings by Barbara Joosse.  Ghost Wings’ poignant message of the endurance of love and the power of memory is sure to linger long after the book is closed.


9:45 AM :Adult RE 

  • In Person: in back of chalice house

  • Faith Formation Fall – In the fifth week of our fall series, we’ll continue our rotation of discussion topics. Ginny Chudgar & Be Young lead the discussion related to this morning’s worship service. Drop in participants welcome.

  • Onsite Only 

9:45 AM: Children’s RE  

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

  • On site: back in 2nd floor RE kidspace * teens may help, let us know you’ll be coming
  • RE Hangout – creating our change poster for the month of November.

10:30- Worship Service- All Ages

Our annual costume parade will start off this morning’s worship honoring both Halloween and Día de los Muertos. 

After Worship – Youth Group

A.M.A. with Rev Amy 

  • We’ll attend worship then meet in Rev Amy’s office for coffee hour and host an A.M.A. (ask me anything) with her. Ginny and Rev Amy host you all this morning.

Monday – Thursday 
Weekly posts on our covenanted RE Facebook page
check out our Remind classroom.
If you need to signup link here: remind.com/join/refuucbc

Contemplative Companions November 2022

Our Contemplative Companions group will be gathering on Monday November 7th at 7:00pm via zoom. The focus theme for this month will be ‘Seeds of Change’ For further information, including the zoom link, contact Nadine at njw1258@hotmail.com or (484) 333-4015.

Feeding Families in Family Promise (Nov. 7-17)

Family Promise (FP) has a new ‘shelter house’ 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. SIGN UP HERE TO VOLUNTEER Our church has committed to provide meals or groceries to the three families staying at two ‘shelter houses.’

Volunteers will drop off a meal or groceries on Mondays & Wednesdays directly at their chosen house at 6:00pm. Volunteers are encouraged to hand sanitize and wear a mask.

You can also mail gift cards for food and/or clothing 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.

SIGN UP FOR A MEAL TIME and see the wish lists:

2022 NOVEMBER Family Promise Meal/Grocery Drop-Off


Friendsgiving and the Caring Bags Project

Hello FUUBC! Here’s everything you need to know about Friendsgiving and the Caring Bags Project! Friendsgiving will be held on Sunday, November 27th, following the service.  It’s a chance for us to enjoy a feast with friends in community, celebrating potluck-style the Sunday following Thanksgiving. Below you will find a link to a sign up genius for you to reserve your spot and to share what you plan to bring.


The Caring Bags Project is a church-wide initiative that we will be collecting for throughout November.  We are joining the RE program in making Caring Bags for our homeless brothers and sisters.  Donations can be dropped off at a designated area in the Gerber Room throughout November.  On Sunday, December 4th, we will create a church-wide assembly line after service to put the Caring Bags together.  They will then be dispersed to the community.

Here is a list of possible donation items that you can be collecting: socks, hats, gloves, bottled water, gallon size plastic bags, drawstring cloth bags or gently used backpacks, soap, travel sized tissues, sample sized lotions, shampoos and conditioners, chapstick, band aids, hand sanitizer, cough drops, tooth brushes, toothpaste, combs and brushes, deodorants, hot hands, tampons/pads, travel wet wipes.

If you have questions, please contact Lauren Fritz at laurenandjohnfritz@juno.com or Ginny Chudgar at ginny.chudgar@gmail.com

We can’t wait to celebrate in the spirit of giving and togetherness with you!!

Our community will once again be participating in the Berks Connection Pretrial Services (BCPS) holiday gift tree event. We have been given 25 names of children whose parent or guardian is currently incarcerated at the Berks County Prison. For some of these children, this may be the only gift they receive. BCPS hosts a big family event and hands out the gifts. My wife, Rachel, and I have been coordinating this event for 18 years and are always amazed at the generosity of our church members. If you want to participate, contact me and I will provide you with the child’s name, age, gift ideas, and clothing size. I suggest a budget of about $30, but smaller monetary gift  donations can be made and I will combine them to purchase gifts. additionally, if you want to participate, but cn not get out to shop, I will be happy to shop for you. Please remember to include your child’s name and family number on the gift bags.

Please Drop Off With Melissa at Church or Contact Kent Gutzler at 610-780-5162 or kgutzler@goberkscounty.com to arrange drop off

NEW THIS YEAR: Please put gifts in gift bags*.  DO NOT wrap the gifts. You can put all of one child’s gifts into one big bag, or several smaller ones.  *We found great deals with Dollar Tree for gift bags!  Label them with the child’s name and family number.  Because these are complete families, you can choose to bag the gifts in a large black garbage bag with the family number on the outside or bring them loose, and we will ensure they are bagged up for the gift distribution.

NOTE: if a size bed is listed, it is in reference to sheet size.

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

The food bank will be moving back indoors starting this October 15th (inside the church) at 8:30am and yes it will take place on the 3rd Saturday of the month. So come out and help out with a great cause. We will be having an optional training session this Sunday (October 2nd) at noon if you want to learn more and get a better idea of what we do at the food bank. Here are the dates for the rest of the year.

        Saturday November 19th

        Saturday December 17th

If you have any questions or would like to volunteer but cannot me here on 10/2, please contact Mark Burton at selliott42@comcast.net

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 K. if you are interested or have any questions.

Solar Team 
Have you noticed that your electric bill has gone up? The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) authorized the increase in June and those new rates are set to take effect this month.  Our church uses Met-Ed and they raised the cost by 18.4%.

Maybe this is a good time for us to offset our electric usage by adding a solar panel array on the church roof?

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 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.

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.

In the Interim

by Rev. Amy

October’s theme is Courage

Growing up unchurched, I knew what spirituality felt like.  But the first time I felt like mine fit into an existing, established way of thinking or believing was when I studied Existentialism.  In the philosophy and practice of existentialism we learn that we are always in a state of becoming, that, while there is free will, life is in our own hands, and it takes work.  Humans are responsible for, and agents of, the creation of what gives our lives purpose and meaning.

It all seems rather heady and big words get used, like ONTOLOGICAL, which means the study of existence–that if we can imagine something, it exists.  There are many writers and philosophers who are existentialists—Rollo May, Karl Jaspers, Kierkegaard, and Chicago theologian Paul Tillich, to name a few.

When I read Tillich’s “The Courage To Be,” things fell into place for me.  It is courage that drives us. We might possess intelligence or talent or even privilege, but courage is how we exist.  Without the courage to simply be, to exist, nothing else matters.

It takes courage to face each day.  Every day determines the purpose of our lives, not because God or government or school or anybody else tells us what to do.  We have the courage within us to find purpose in our thoughts and actions, and courage to make meaning of that which happens in our lives.  Courage is not just a great theme for the month but a spiritual practice for many.

Courage to be who we are is real and it promises an existence we can truly embrace as our own.  You might be an existentialist and not know it!

In peace

Rev. Amy

We’re On Our Way!

A note from your Director of Music

For hundreds of thousands of years singing and songs have been a tool to bolster our courage.

Another way we can “have heart” when faced with a path that feels daunting is to use curiosity and a spirit of adventure!

In September we sang a song written many years ago by children from Adelphi College’s Children’s Center for the Creative Arts.

Listen to our congregation sing “The Adventurer

Read these words.

We’re on our way on the Adventurer

In search of treasures rare

To find ourselves within a world

To find within ourselves a world

And what we find we share.

– from the Children’s Center for the Creative Arts, Adelphi College, 1982

– thank you to Emily Bengels, director of music for First Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hunterdon County in Baptistown, NJ for sharing this song with me.

mirror, mirror

nadine j. smet-weiss

spiritual director

have you


in the mirror



face to face

with the truth

of you



of being


to become

your dream

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